Local organization applauds new Barbie doll that has Down syndrome

Mattel collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society to create the Barbie and “ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome,” the company said.

Matt Trapani and Ali Reid

May 4, 2023, 9:00 AM

Updated 445 days ago

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Toy company Mattel unveiled the first Barbie doll representing a person with Down syndrome on Tuesday.
Mattel collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society to create the Barbie and “ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome,” the company said.
Families that are part of the Down Syndrome Association of Central New Jersey say that having this doll is a step in the right direction.
“I think I can say our community as a whole - we are so excited because we’ve seen a lot of diversity in the Mattel line and we are proud to be a part of that initiative,” says Amy Johns Jones, whose daughter Amelia has Down syndrome.
Design features of the new Barbie were made under guidance from NDSS, Mattel said. In addition to portraying some physical characteristics of a person with Down syndrome, the Barbie's clothing and accessories carry special meaning.
The blue and yellow on the doll's dress, accompanied by butterflies, represent symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness. And the three chevrons on the Barbie's necklace represent how people with Down syndrome have three copies of their 21st chromosome, Mattel said.
In addition, the Barbie wears ankle foot orthotics (AFOs), which some children with Down syndrome use.
“My daughter wears AFOs, so seeing the physical disability is important,” Johns Jones says.
Barbie's new doll representing a person with Down syndrome is part of Mattel's 2023 Fashionistas line, which is aimed at increasing diversity and inclusivity. Previous dolls that have been introduced to the Fashionistas line include a Ken doll with a prosthetic leg, a Barbie with hearing aids and dolls with a skin condition called vitiligo.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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