The toy aisle just got more . Toy company Mattel released a Barbie doll that represents people with Down syndrome!
Each cell in your body contains a nucleus. And usually, the nucleus contains 23 pairs of . People with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. The condition can cause someone to have poor balance. A person with Down syndrome may also have difficulty learning new tasks. There are some common physical of Down syndrome too. They include weak muscle tone and an upward slant to the eyes.
The new Barbie has many of these features. For example, the doll is shorter than other Barbies. Its face is rounder in shape with smaller ears. Its eyes are slanted up. The doll’s hands even include a single line across the palm. That’s a common characteristic in people with Down syndrome.
The Barbie wears orthotics around its ankles. Some children with Down syndrome use braces like these. They support their feet. The doll wears a yellow and blue dress. The fabric is covered in butterflies and flowers. These are the colors and symbols of Down syndrome awareness.
Even the Barbie’s necklace is important. It has three arrows pointing up. It symbolizes the three copies of chromosome 21. The three arrows also represent “the lucky few” who love someone with Down syndrome.
Lisa McKnight is the leader of Barbie. “Barbie plays an important role in a child’s early experiences,” she said. “Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie,” McKnight added. “Doll play can teach understanding and build a greater sense of ,” the leader explained. “We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome.”
Leaders at Barbie teamed up with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). They wanted to make sure the toy was just right. The NDSS fights for the rights of people with Down syndrome. It also teaches about the condition. Experts with NDSS helped with the Barbie’s design.
Kandi Pickard is the president of NDSS. “It was an honor working with Barbie on the doll,” she said. “This means so much for our community, who for the first time can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” the leader added. “We should never underestimate the power of representation.” Pickard called the Barbie “a huge step forward for inclusion.”
Updated April 26, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli