HOUSTON (KIAH) — A new kind of Barbie doll will be hitting toy stores soon, and it’s a doll especially for those with Down syndrome.
Mattel, Inc announced Tuesday that toy aisles will see a new Barbie doll. Thanks to its partnership with organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), its first Down syndrome doll is coming.
This will help many more children to feel comfortable in their own shoes through Barbie as well as help children more openly see the world around them. The hope is to inspire all children across the country.
Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel said, “As the most diverse doll line on the market, Barbie plays an important role in a child’s early experiences, and we are dedicated to doing our part to counter social stigma through play. Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves.”
In order to make sure the doll properly represented someone with Down syndrome, Barbie is working with the NDSS to help inspire those living with Down syndrome along with their families by providing resources, and encouraging change and community engagement. This partnership ensured that the team at Barbie would be able to celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome through a doll that would instantly leave an impact on the community and its youth.
NDSS President and CEO, Kandi Pickard said, “It was an honor working with Barbie on the Barbie doll with Down syndrome. This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”
With the help of feedback from NDSS, here’s what we can expect from the new Barbie:
- Sculpt-the doll will have a new face and body to reflect women with Down Syndrome with a shorter frame and longer torso. The palms of the doll’s hands will even have a single line often associated with Down syndrome.
- Fashion & Accessories- the doll will have a puff sleeved dress pattern with yellow and blue butterflies-symbols and colors often associated with Down syndrome awareness. The doll will also have a pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons to represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome–the genetic material that causes characteristics of down syndrome and more.
- Orthotics-Barbie will wear pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) to match her outfit and shoes because some children with Down syndrome use orthotics to help support their feet and ankles. NDSS provided a real life box of orthotics to help mold the ones this Barbie will wear.
The 2023 Fall Fashionistas dolls and the Barbie doll with Down syndrome will hit shelves online and in store this summer and fall.