It’s really important for children with disabilities to see themselves in pop culture, whether it’s movies, music, TV – or even the toys and dolls they play with. That’s why this announcement from American Girl should make a lot of kids and parents very happy. American Girl rang in 2020 with a new doll, and this one, for the first time ever, has a hearing impairment.
And the new doll is also American Girl of the Year.
Meet Joss Kendrick. Joss’s story is that she hails from Huntington Beach, California, and that she is “a fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheer.”
Joss was born deaf in her left ear and she wears a hearing aid in her right ear. The company said about Joss, “Whether she’s on her surfboard or in the gym, Joss shows girls the importance of trying new things, pushing past stereotypes, and being a good team player.”
The new doll was introduced with the help of Caroline Marks, a 17-year-old surfer who is looking to make a mark at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as part of the U.S. Women’s Surfing team (I didn’t even know surfing was an Olympic sport). Marks said, “I’m so excited to be a part of the Joss launch and share her message that passion and hard work can really take a girl places—even to the Olympics.”
As part of the launch of the new doll, American Girl donated $25,000 to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).
This is a great move by Mattel and American Girl!
Congratulations and good luck to Caroline Marks at the 2020 Summer Olympics!