PITTSBURGH - Every kid deserves a best friend, and every kid wants to fit in.
However, often children with Down Syndrome and other disabilities find themselves out of the social loop.
As Dolls for Downs creator Connie Feda said, dolls offer companionship. To a child with Down syndrome or another disability, a doll can offer so much more.
Feda said her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Down syndrome, inspired her to create Dolls for Downs.
“She was flipping through a catalog and said, ‘Mom, none of these dolls look like me. Not one of them.’” Feda said.
The dolls Feda created are about 18 inches tall with changeable clothing that stresses occupational therapy skills such as zippers, Velcro, buttons, ties and snaps.
“My favorite thing is the hand. Look at them, they’re so cute and pudgy,” Feda said. “We also did a lot of tweaking on the face to make it flatter. I think she looked intelligent and spunky.”
Feda told Channel 11’s Amy Marcinkiewicz that her vision is “still a work in progress.” She called the doll not just a toy, but a therapy tool as well.
“If you don’t have fine motor skills you’re going to develop them. The zippers are real, the buttons are large and there are things that would be on your actual clothing,” Feda said.
Feda said her inspiration is to put the special dolls in the hands of remarkable children.
“I’d like to say we’ll change a child and change the world. We’ll start small,” Feda said.
If you’d like to purchase a doll or donate to Dolls for Downs, visit their website by clicking here.