Dolls for Downs; Change a Child, Change the World
One mom, Connie Feda, is trying to make the world a better place, one doll at a time. Connie is mom to six beautiful children. Her 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, has Down syndrome. When Hannah was 9-years-old, she was skimming the pages of a toy catalog and told her mom that none of the dolls looked like her. She noted that they looked like her younger sister, but not her. This would tug at any mother’s heart. Why couldn’t Hannah have a doll that rocked an extra chromosome?
Connie decided to do something about that. She has created a new line of dolls that look like children with Down syndrome. The line is called Dolls for Downs because Connie believes that every child deserves a best friend.
Everyone is not alike. People come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of ability. There has been an influx of dolls on the market that cater to resembling their tiny owners. You can choose everything from hair color to eye color. Some doll companies, like American Girl, even allow you to personalize your doll with braces, pierced ears, freckles or even a wheel chair but still it doesn’t represent children who have Down syndrome and other physical handicaps.
Connie’s line, Dolls for Downs, represents children with Down syndrome by exhibiting the physical characteristic of children who are born with Down syndrome such as almond shaped eyes, a small, flat nose, a small mouth with a protruding tongue and small ears. They also have round faces and somewhat flatter profiles. The dolls even display one of Connie’s favorite characteristics, short, pudgy little hands.
The doll’s clothing is easier to get on and off than some other dolls clothing. It has larger zippers and buttons on the clothes to make it easier for short, pudgy hands to maneuver the clothing on their own. These simple changes will help these children develop their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and tactile input while maintaining some independence while playing and feeling a sense of accomplishment at doing it themselves.
This will also allow the children to practice things that come naturally in imaginary play with dolls such as story telling, using zippers, buttons, snaps, ties and brushing hair all while seeing the beautiful face of a child who looks like them.
In my book, Connie Feda is a remarkable woman and mother. I know that necessity is the mother of invention but this was not small undertaking. Connie saw a need for a product to make her child happy, to allow her to see herself in the world, and she made it happen. In a society where our children regularly play with dolls that embody perfection and set unhealthy standards, it is a beautiful thing to see a doll that doesn’t conform to the standards but raises the bar not only on dolls but on society.
The launch date of the line is set for May 1, 2013. The original dolls in the line will be 5 boys and 5 girl dolls. These dolls are not just great for the beautiful children who have Down syndrome; the dolls are a wonderful teaching tool for all children. Aside from all the skills mentioned above, this doll can teach all of our children tolerance and acceptance. Can’t the world use a little more tolerance and acceptance?
What do you think about this mom's venture? Do you know someone who has a child that would love this doll?
Photo Source: Dolls for Downs