US mother Connie Feda wanted to give her 13-year-old daughter Hannah a doll that she could relate to.
Hannah was born with Down Syndrome, a chromosomal condition that – amongst other things – affects your appearance.
One day, Hannah complained that none of her dolls looked like her. So Connie decided to do something about it.
So she made a range of dolls inspired by Hannah – with all the physical features of a child with Down Syndrome.
Connie told the Huffington Post: ‘I want Hannah to see a doll with Down Syndrome and see something beautiful, because that’s what I see when I look at her.’
Each of the 18-inch dolls named Ellie, Nikki, Hannah, Grace and Aziza have characteristics typical of those with Down Syndrome such as almond-shaped eyes and a flat nose.
‘I asked Hannah what her favourite part of the doll is and she said, “I love her because she’s so pretty and because she is mine,” she explained.
On her professional Facebook page Mrs Feda reveals that her mission is to ‘represent children with disabilities in an honest, favourable light.’
The dolls are more than simply a boost in self-esteem for children with Down Syndrome.
They come with changeable outfits (equipped with zippers, velcro, buttons, ties and snaps) designed to teach children important motor skills.
They also provide companionship for children who might not have many friends.
A big step up from all the Barbies and Bratz dolls out there, huh?
On her website Dolls for Downs, Connie writes:
Every kid deserves a best friend. Every kid wants to fit in. Often children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities find themselves out of the social loop. Dolls, to any child, offer companionship. To a kid with Downs or another disability, a doll can offer so much more.
These dolls are going to be approx. 18″ tall with changeable clothing that stresses occupational therapy skills such as zippers, velcro, buttons, ties and snaps.
We are busy designing durable medical equipment, such as walkers, braces and feeding tubes.
Our hope is to help each child grow in independence, confidence and joy.
Right now, there are five different boys and girls to choose from, but Connie is dedicated to creating more styles so that every child can have a doll that looks like him or her. The dolls are available on pre order.
Do you have or know a child with Down Syndrome?