Hi Helen. Your articles and project really intriques me. I did a lot of research on dolls made by traditional Native American tribes. Quite often, dolls were given to little children as learning tools. For example: dolls made with no faces. This gave the little girl the chance to imagine her doll with the personality she wanted the doll to have; no clothes or a plain dress to allow the girl to design the type clothing she wanted the doll to have; long straight hair not styled so the child could style the hair the way she wanted; etc.
Then I got to thinking that maybe "doll parts and wigs" would be a good idea. Make cloth dolls with just the head and body and let the child attach the arms and legs - or not. Maybe a child with only one leg would want her doll to have only one leg. The child with no hair would choose to have no hair on the doll. All kinds of ideas would come from the child.
Of course, this takes away from our own creativity - but look at the possible creative abilities and therapy it would give to the child.
I remember when I was little, paper dolls were my favorite toy. I could dress the doll the way I wanted to depending on my mood or my wishes.
Giving the child the opportunity to create can be a wonderful and therepuetic tool.
I think the possibilities here are a great opportunity to explore the realm of childhood, disabilities, teaching, learning, and healing. Psychologists often give dolls to a child in order to learn from the child what are their secret fears, desires, etc. This would not only help the child, but, help the parent and doctor or therepist to understand what the child needs or is thinking/fearing.