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Children’s Doll Line Embraces Down Syndrome


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When she couldn’t find any dolls that looked like her daughter with Down syndrome, a Pennsylvania mom decided to create them herself.

Connie Feda is working on a lineup of girl and boy dolls modeled to more accurately reflect the physique of those with disabilities. Inspired by her 13-year-old daughter, Feda describes the look of her creations as “cute,” “intelligent” and “spunky.”

In addition to being more identifiable for kids with disabilities, Feda says her dolls also offer an opportunity for therapy. They feature clothing with life-size zippers, buttons and snaps to help young people practice their motor skills.

Known as “Dolls for Downs,” the 18-inch toys are expected to be available in May, reports WPXI, the Pittsburgh NBC affiliate. To read more click here.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. Dee Wheat says:

    While I applaud her approach, there is already a well-known line of dolls that took this country by storm and that are still very valuable that have many of the Down Syndrome features, although I’m fairly sure that the resemblance was accidental and they certainly were not marketed that way.

    Here’s a hint: in the 80’s, every little girl wanted to adopt one.

  2. k.t.mead says:

    My daughter does not realize she might be a bit different at 12 and I certainly would not buy a doll that would show her she was.

  3. Paula says:

    I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think it’s about knowing you’re ‘different’ or not, but looking and seeing yourself. My brother is 40 and over the years I have seen him watching others with a certain kind of look in his eye that made me think that he at least sometimes realizes he is different. And he certainly knows he’s different when he has been teased/bullied. The dolls can be given as gifts to children who do not have Down Syndrome, just like you might give a doll with a different skin colour.

  4. Karen Hermansen says:

    These dolls are wonderful and I wish they had been around when my now 39 year old daughter was a child. In fact, I might just order one myself! I do not think that the Cabbage Patch dolls looked like they had Down Syndrome. There is a European company making Down Syndrome dolls, but I think these are much prettier!

  5. B Guinn says:

    I believe the dolls are beautiful and am so impressed with the attention to the clothes with zippers and buttons that will make playing with them easier for children with mobility/dexterity issues. It’s a wonderful mission.

  6. Natalie T says:

    Somebody suggested I make a puppet with DS, but I was not sure how to go about it, seeing they are already cartoonish looking. But maybe I can help with my art in other ways.

  7. Marta says:

    I love this! I wish I’d had a wheelchair or amputee doll as a kid, it would have been wonderful to see something other than skinny abled Barbie dolls all the time. I snapped the leg off my Barbie and my teacher told me I’d ‘ruined’. It made me feel like I was ruined. A toy or TV character that looks like you means a lot more than people realise, I think.

  8. Pamster says:

    Back in the 80’s, someone else did this and I bought one that looked like my little girl. I think they were called “Dolly Downs”. Male, female, all colors. After my daughter died at age 6, I donated Dolly to someone else w/Down syndrome.

    I bet these new ones are even better!

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