Connie Feda wanted to create an educational, engaging, and relatable doll for her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Down syndrome. With the goal of capturing “the beauty, vivaciousness and spunk of kids with Down Syndrome,” Connie created Ellie, a doll with Hannah’s almond-shaped eyes and button nose. She soon realized that other kids could benefit from a doll that looked more like them, so she created Dolls For Downs, a new line of dolls for children with Down syndrome.
Besides resembling children with Down syndrome, each doll includes accessories like zippers, buttons, and velcro to help children develop their motor skills as they play. On request, dolls can also be painted with a faint scar on their chest to match their owner’s (many children with Down syndrome must undergo surgery to correct heart defects). “Our mission is simple,” Connie writes on the Dolls For Downs Facebook page. ”Represent children with disabilities in an honest, favorable light and give kids with disabilities a friend for life.”
Ellie’s release date is May 1st, but you can pre-order your own doll now. You can also make a donation to help Connie send dolls to children in need. Best of luck to the Dolls For Downs team–we’ll be rooting for you! [Buzzfeed]