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Dolls Targeted by Online Bullies

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Web sites are mocking a doll designed to help children.


The Internet is a dangerous place, especially if you're a Down syndrome doll. We came across, a site with specially designed dolls that resemble children born with the genetic disorder Down syndrome, only because it was being ridiculed online by other web sites mocking the appearance of the dolls with comments like:

"Just remember you're going to hell for about a billion other reasons, so laugh it up checking out these dolls."

"Who wouldn't laugh or cringe at this, what were they thinking???!"

"I'm not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that these dolls look like Cabbage Patch Kids or the atrocious outfits."

Not so nice.

The dolls are truly are different.They include a flatter face, upward slanting eyes, and a somewhat larger tongue. According to the site they are available in "open & closed mouth versions." Their appearance may be initially startling, until you realize it gives the approximately 5,000 kids in the U.S. born each year with Down syndrome a chance to have a doll that even slightly resembles them.

Counselor and momlogic contributor Rosanne Tobey, LPC was also dismayed at the reaction of the public. "This idea is the very basis for the American Doll. Why should it be any different for special needs kids? Web sites that mock these dolls are appalling, but unfortunately there is no limit to the ignorance, cruelty, and just plain stupidity of some people."

Other dolls for special needs children are also becoming more readily available. Now, parents can find chemo dolls--without hair-- for children with cancer, and Cairdeas dolls, which are given hand-sewn surgical stitches to create  "a scar exactly like its child friend." There are even amputee dolls and dolls with wheelchairs and crutches.

For any little boy or girl who craves a doll that "looks just like me!" we can only hope the Down syndrome doll Web site and other sites like it will continue to prosper.

Click on an image to view the Special Needs Doll Gallery!

next: Gourmet PB & J Panini
17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Missy June 12, 2008, 1:34 PM

People can be really messed up sometimes.

Sarah June 12, 2008, 2:29 PM

Some people have no class, and this just totally proves it!!

Maureen June 12, 2008, 2:33 PM

I am shocked at these comments! Until someone has a child with Down Syndrome, they could never understand! How could they be so cruel? I believe these dolls are a great idea and great for a Down Syndrome child to have something that resembles them!

Kristin June 12, 2008, 2:43 PM

Having a sister who is downs, I think these dolls are great. She is 26 and still loves to pretend with her babies. She always notices others with downs and will say, “She’s like me.”

People can be so cruel. Especially to things they don’t understand. If you have ever met anyone like my sister, you are a better person for knowing her.

Dina June 12, 2008, 2:44 PM

I don’t want to be the bad guy here but these dolls don’t really look like any DS child I’ve ever seen.

Anonymous June 12, 2008, 4:54 PM

I love the idea of the dolls and if I had a child with Downs I probably would buy one. Call me shallow, but those outfits are truly horrible. Personally I think it’s mean to give such a poorly dressed toy to any child, I’d redress it before giving it as a gift and burn the original outfit.

fizzle June 12, 2008, 6:17 PM

omg wtf these dollz are horrible! all they do is have their tounge out. wow. thats “realistic”. they can at least try harder i mean yeah i support the idea, but c’mon i expected better.

JLA June 12, 2008, 6:53 PM

They are a great concept but I have to agree that they could have been done much better.

Anonymous June 12, 2008, 11:54 PM

Children need something to make them feel less “different”, whether it’s for a special need, hair color or race… these dolls mean a lot to many children and to ridicule when you have no idea what you’re talking about is just plain cruel.

So the doll isn’t “pretty” or have “nice clothes”. You should feel ashamed of yourselves if that’s your biggest concern in life. Other parents just want to see a smile on a child’s face.

So sad there’s so much ignorance in these comments.

Anonymous June 13, 2008, 1:26 AM

Sorry, but it is pretty damn funny.

Rickismom June 13, 2008, 3:18 AM

My daughter with DS is now 13. Would I have boughten a doll like this for her? Well, certainly not the open mouth version, which in my mind is too exagerated. But that gives no excuse to mock them….

Nangari June 14, 2008, 7:30 AM

My daughter has Down Syndrome and I have lots of friends with children with DS and we all agree that we could not possibly buy something so hideous for our children. The haircuts/styles and clothes are just awful! Please don’t give cause for our children to be mocked :(

Cindy June 14, 2008, 10:44 AM

I have a daughter who happens to have Down syndrome. Concept - A . Execution - F. Although there are some mighty scary “typical” dolls out there, these dolls seem to ridicule by magnifying the socially judged negatives of DS. Love the idea, but perhaps some more time at the drawing board is called for.

Kathy June 18, 2008, 12:18 PM

I have a daughter with DS and have been very active in establishing our local DS group as well as speaking on behalf of people with DS.

When my daughter was little I tried to order an American Girl Doll for her with her coloring but with Asian eyes. They couldn’t do it so I ordered the Asian baby anyway but I thought what a lost opportunity for them. All people want to identify with others like themselves so why not our kids.

I commend the people who developed this doll but I wish they would of talked to parents before they made their doll. Children with DS today very seldom have their tongues hanging out because of the many hours of oral motor they receive. Most parents work very hard to make sure their children look as normal as possible. Today’s children with Down Syndrome are treated like any other child! I feel very sad that the maker of this doll used an old stero type to define our children! We would welcome a doll that made our kids feel good about themselves. Please consider modifying your doll. Thanks.

hsh July 18, 2008, 7:23 PM

The hubris of the commenter/s printed in the article to claim who is and is not going to hell and for how many reasons. Though they may be correct, they are not qualified to make those judgements. Hubris, I say, hubris!

OneTiredMom July 19, 2008, 12:51 AM

I too have a daughter with Down syndrome. And I agree with others who have said that these dolls look NOTHING like my daughter! And I do mean NOTHING! I love the concept, but I agree, the designers REALLY need to re-design the dolls, and the clothes! BIG TIME!

easy loan June 30, 2009, 8:46 PM

I found very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. keep it that way.

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