We all know how special dolls are, especially for the kids they’re really designed for. Dolls can be best friends, confidantes, ways to act out stories and ideas, as well as the fun to be had dressing them, playing with their hair and all the rest. And most little girls (or boys) expect to find a doll that looks enough like them to feel like its a true friend.
This is where Dolls for Downs, in Pittsburgh USA started, because Connie Feda’s daughter has Downs, and none of the dolls available looked like her. It became a mission, to create a doll that did resemble her daughter, and after many months of hard work the results thus far are impressive:
The dolls are still a work-in-progress (and you can read about the stages involved, through early design to wax model to the final sculpt ideas over at the Project Update page on the official website), but pre-orders are being taken for dolls in a range of hair and eye colours; there are boy dolls, and ethnic variations, everything to provide a “just like me” doll as much as possible.
These are also therapy dolls: their clothes are designed to be easier to get on and off, but at the same time teach valuable practical skills through the use of zips and buttons, as well as being made of a variety of textiles to promote sensory and tactile development. According to the website, the focus is on:
* eye hand coordination
* fine motor skill development and refinement
* tactile input
* visual motor development
* bilateral coordination
* sensory integration
* positive reinforcement through play
and to this end the dolls will be able to withstand water, plus be provided with accessories such as leg braces, wheelchairs and the like for authentic play.
I think my favourite is Hannah, pictured below with the prototype dressed dolls Connie showcased on her Facebook page recently:
Its clearly a labour of love and one which is garnering positive press worldwide, as should be. I’m really keen to see the final versions and hope Connie and her daughter have great success with the dolls, who tick all the boxes for me in terms of looking like little people with real personalities. The dolls should open up a whole new world of play to the target audience and anyone who appreciates a good design and well thought-out product.
For more images, information on the project and resources for Downs etc visit Dolls for Downs
All images copyright Dolls for Downs