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Inclusion Begins In The Toyshop

June 26, 2008

Dolls with Down’s syndrome. What a brilliant idea!

These dolls are designed with the aim of giving Down’s children a toy that reflects themselves as they are, and not the mainstream version of physical perfection trailblazed by the likes of Barbie and Baby Annabel.

About time, too. If you want to teach a disabled person that, actually, they’re DisAbled, well, you’re not going to have much luck if you take them to toyshops filled with blonde, blue-eyed beauties called Barbie. Ask me. As a young DisAbled female, I wasn’t much into dolls. I used to think there was something wrong with mine, because they had straight knees!

I spent my childhood sticking my Barbie dolls in drawers, while trying to do physio on a teddy bear because he, at least, could bend his paws.

Then, one day, a little too late to really be in my childhood, along came Share-A-Smile Becky, Barbie’s friend… in a bright pink and purple wheelchair! I was a young teenager, but my first thought was “what a wonderful idea!” Of course, I bought her. That was the start of many hours spent making sure she was comfortable in her chair, because “I know how it feels not to be!”

One nine-year-old girl with Down’s, according to the article, pointed at her Down’s doll and said this is me.

Share-A-Smile Becky was me-and my best friends. I only wish she’d been created years ago- so that we- and our mainstream female friends- could have known that dolls bend their knees, too!

So, parents, whether she is DisAbled or not, I’d like to ask you to buy a Down’s doll- or Share-A-Smile Becky- for your daughter. You see, these days, acceptance- and inclusion- both begin in the toyshop.

And I, for one, will be buying these dolls for as many girls as possible!




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