(KTLA) – Barbie is launching its first doll representing a person with Down syndrome in an effort to help more children find a toy that represents themselves.
The doll is a part of this year’s Barbie Fashionistas lineup.
To ensure accuracy, Barbie worked closely with the National Down Syndrome Society. The organization helped the brand sculpt the doll as well as provide guidance on accessories.
The doll features a new face shape and body sculpt to be “more illustrative of women with Down syndrome,” Mattel said in a news release.
The palms include a single line, “which is a characteristic associated with those with Down syndrome.”
The doll’s puff-sleeved dress features butterflies and yellow and blue colors, which are symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness, the toymaker explained. The doll also wears a pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons, which represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome, the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
“The three chevrons, or arrows, are a symbol that unites the Down syndrome community and are meant to represent ‘the lucky few’ who have someone with Down syndrome in their life,” the El Segundo-based company said.
The doll also comes with pink ankle foot orthotics. Some with Down syndrome use orthotics to support their feet and ankles, and NDSS provided a real pair to Barbie for inspiration.
“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,” said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “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. Doll play outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world. We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play.”
The Barbie doll is $10.99 and is available in limited quantities online now.
It’s scheduled to be sold in-store at major retailers in the summer and fall.