Barbie With Down Syndrome Now Available After Criticism For Lack Of Diversity
Mattel, the US toy giant, has a new Barbie with down syndrome now available after criticism for lack of diversityto increase diversity and representation in its range of toys.
The move follows criticism of the traditional Barbie doll for failing to represent real women, with academics from the University of South Australia estimating the likelihood of a woman having Barbie's body shape at just one in 100,000.
Over the past few years, Mattel has launched a range of dolls with different physical characteristics, including a hearing aid, a prosthetic limb and a wheelchair. The company's goal is for "all children to see themselves in Barbie" and to "play with dolls who do not look like themselves".
Lisa McKnight, globalhead of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, said she hoped the new doll would help "teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world". Mattel worked closely with the US National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to ensure the doll accurately represented a person with Down's syndrome.
The doll has a shorter frame and a longer torso, and its face is rounder with smaller ears, a flat nasal bridge and almond-shaped eyes, which can be characteristics of women with the genetic condition.
It wears a puff-sleeved dress in yellow and blue, colours associated with Down's syndrome awareness, and has a pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons, representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome that cause the characteristics associated with Down's syndrome.
The doll also wears pink ankle foot orthotics to match its outfit, as some children with Down's syndrome use orthotics to support their feet and ankles.
Kandi Pickard, president and CEO of the NDSS, said it was an honour to work on the project. "This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. We should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating."
Barbie Introduces First Doll With Down Syndrome
The launch of the Barbie with Down's syndrome has been welcomed by advocates for inclusion and representation. British model Ellie Goldstein, who has Down's syndrome and is an advocate for inclusion, visibility and understanding of people with the condition, said she felt "overwhelmed" when she saw the doll.
Diversity is important...as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.- Ellie Goldstein
Other toy firms have also taken steps to increase representation and inclusivity in their ranges. In 2016, Lego created its first young disabled mini-figure, a young, beanie-hat-wearing wheelchair user, following a campaign by the UK-based #ToyLikeMe group. The campaign aimed to create more toys that represented the 770,000 disabled children in the UK.
The launch of Barbie with Down's syndrome is a positive step towards greater representation and inclusivity in the toy industry. By creating dolls with a wider range of physical characteristics, toy companies like Mattel are helping to promote greater understanding and empathy, as well as providing toys that children can see themselves in.
We need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.- Ellie Goldstein
Toys play a crucial role in the growth and development of children. They are not just a source of entertainmentbut also a tool for learning, exploration, and socialization.
However, not all toys are designed to be inclusive, and many children with disabilities or special needs are left out of the fun. This is where inclusive toys come in, providing children of all abilities with the opportunity to learn, play and grow together.
Inclusive toys are designed to be accessible and inclusive to all children, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. They take into account the unique needs and abilities of children with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities and provide them with a fun and engaging play experience.
Inclusive toys can help children with disabilities develop their cognitive, social, and physical skills, while also promoting empathy and understanding among children of all abilities.
One of the most significant benefits of inclusive toys is that they can help promote the development of social skills in children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities struggle to make friends and interact with others due to their unique needs and abilities.
Inclusive toys provide an opportunity for children with disabilities to interact with their peers in a safe and welcoming environment, building confidence and social skills. Inclusive toys can also help to break down barriers and stereotypes, promoting acceptance and understanding of differences among children.
Inclusive toys can also help to promote the physical development of children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities have limited mobility or require specialized equipment to move around.
Inclusive toys can provide a fun and engaging way for these children to exercise and improve their physical abilities. For example, toys that promote balance and coordination, such as balls, trampolines, and ride-on toys, can help children with mobility issues improve their balance and coordination skills.
Adapting Toys and Using Switches for Increased Participation of Children in an Inclusive Setting
Toys that require fine motor skills, such as puzzles and building blocks, can also help to improve dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
Inclusive toys can also help to promote the cognitive development of children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities have intellectual or learning disabilities that require specialized support.
Inclusive toys can provide an opportunity for these children to engage in fun and interactive learning experiences that are tailored to their unique needs and abilities. For example, toys that promote problem-solving skills, such as building blocks and puzzles, can help children with intellectual disabilities develop their cognitive skills.
Inclusive toys are also important for promoting empathy and understanding among children of all abilities. By playing with inclusive toys, children learn about different abilities, disabilities, and perspectives.
They learn to appreciate and value diversity, promoting a more inclusive and accepting society. Inclusive toys can also help to break down barriers and stereotypes, promoting acceptance and understanding of differences among children.
Inclusive toys can also provide a sense of belonging and identity for children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities feel excluded from mainstream society and struggle to find toys and activities that cater to their unique needs and abilities.
Inclusive toys provide a safe and welcoming space for these children to play and learn, promoting a sense of belonging and identity. Inclusive toys can also help to promote positive self-esteem and confidence in children with disabilities, helping them to feel valued and included.
Creating inclusive toys can be challenging, as it requires an understanding of the unique needs and abilities of children with disabilities. Toy manufacturers must consider a range of factors, including physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities, to ensure that their toys are accessible and engaging to all children.
Parents can choose inclusive toys for their children by looking for toys that are designed to be accessible and inclusive to all children. They can also seek advice from organizations that support children with disabilities, such as the National Down Syndrome Society or the Autism Society, for recommendations on inclusive toys.
Inclusive toys are having a significant impact on the toy industry, as they are promoting a shift towards more inclusive and diverse toys. Toy manufacturers are increasingly recognizing the importance of creating toys that cater to children of all abilities, leading to a greater variety of inclusive toys on the market.
Schools and educational institutions can promote the use of inclusive toys by incorporating them into their curriculum and playtime. They can also provide training and resources for teachers and caregivers on how to use inclusive toys effectively, and partner with organizations that support children with disabilities to ensure that their toy selection is inclusive and diverse.
The new Barbie with down syndrome now available after criticism for lack of diversity inclusive toys is essential for promoting the growth and development of children with disabilities and special needs. They provide a fun and engaging play experience that is tailored to the unique needs and abilities of each child, promoting social, physical, and cognitive development.
Inclusive toys also promote empathy, understanding, and acceptance among children of all abilities, helping to build a more inclusive and accepting society. As parents, caregivers, and toy manufacturers, it is our responsibility to promote the development and well-being of all children, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.