Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Lovingly crafted, 18 inch vinyl, age appropriate dolls with Down Syndrome designed for play, therapy, inclusion and fun.
Lovingly crafted, 18 inch vinyl, age appropriate dolls with Down Syndrome designed for play, therapy, inclusion and fun.
188 backers pledged $7,404 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Dolls for Downs project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$7,404

188

Hannah brings joy with her wherever she goes.
Hannah brings joy with her wherever she goes.

Why a doll with Down Syndrome?

People aren't all alike.  Dolls shouldn't be either.

Hannah was 9 years old when she was flipping through a popular doll catalog when she looked up at me and said, "There are no dolls like me in here.  No dolls had surgery.  They are all not like me."

Hannah has Down Syndrome and has had a number of surgeries including open heart surgery at 13 months.  She is very aware of the long scar on her chest.  We call it her miracle - but then, she is ours!

I started looking online for a doll with Down Syndrome and I found a few but was disappointed in the overly stereotypical features they displayed.  I looked at them and thought, "That's not how I see my Hannah.  She's beautiful, bright, funny, intelligent, silly, loving, witty, and spirited."  I set out to make THAT doll.  Hannah wanted a doll that looked like her and I wanted to give her that simple wish.

The Process

I began working with a respected doll sculptor and we spent months looking over hundreds of kids pictures submitted from all over the world to choose the features that we'd use on our doll.  Karen began sculpting, and sculpting... and sculpting.

We changed the size of this, the shape of that, the color of something else until we felt like we finally captured a personality.

Porcelain Proto-Types For Molds

The firing, sizing and painting of the proto-types took a many weeks but we were finally satisfied that we would be able to produce  dolls with different hair color, eye color and skin tones.

Caucasian Skin Tones
Caucasian Skin Tones
Asian Skin Tones
Asian Skin Tones
Dark Skin Tones
Dark Skin Tones
Middle Skin-tone girl
Middle Skin-tone girl

Our Story Has Been Featured on National and International News

of WPXI PITTSBURGH met Hannah and put her on TV!  What a thrill.  The story was picked up by the Huffington Post, KDKA/ABC, Yahoo News, ABC News, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, and many, many more world wide.  We are scheduled to appear in the coming weeks on Caso Cerrado on Telemundo/NBC and CTV's Canada AM.

What Others Are Saying

Children with Down syndrome are aware that they look different from children without it, said Karen Pool, general manager for TFH USA Special Needs Toys,. Her company is excited to sell Mrs. Feda's dolls.

"It just gives them an identifier, that they have something that looks like them, that they can play with, and be proud of and happy and carry around," she said.

Kishore Vellody, medical director for the Down Syndrome Center of Western Pennsylvania at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, said he thinks what Mrs. Feda is doing is "a great idea."

"We want to make sure that people know that kids with Down syndrome are out there, and that they're not something to be afraid of or something to make fun of," he said. "They're actually just like your own kids." He thinks the dolls could push that message into the mainstream population.

The National Down Syndrome Society said, "There have been dolls made for children with Down syndrome in the past, but none has received as much attention as the Feda family's dolls," said Julie B. Cevallos, vice president of marketing for the National Down Syndrome Society in New York, in an emailed statement.

"Any doll or toy that builds confidence and is fun for a child with Down syndrome is great!" she said.


What We Need Now- Support To Add More Dolls and For Accessories

We have a few more doll combinations that we'd like to add to our initial production.

Adapted Accessories

My oldest daughter is an Occupational Therapist.  She chose this career path in large part because of her experiences with Hannah.  She and a group of other dedicated professionals have designed and/or modified accessories and clothing to promote manual dexterity.  With functionality in mind, the ties, zippers, buttons, snaps and buckles are larger, easier to grasp and can help children gain directed fine motor skills. 

If we raise $3,000 we can produce:

  • AFO (Ankle-Foot-Orthosis)  Leg Braces:  Designed by Occupational Therapists, these doll size AFO braces are made to look like the real thing. 
  • Glasses:  We have them, we just need to buy them and we'd like to get more than one style.
  • Wet Suits: Even though our dolls are 100% vinyl and can get wet, it is recommended that your doll wear her wet suit to keep excessive water from entering her joints.  This will enhance therapeutic use.
  • 1 Specially Adapted Outfit and Shoes  Clothing designed to promote independence in play and to help transfer learned skills to every day life. These included zippers, buttons, snaps all in larger sizes to facilitate skill building.

If we raise $4,000 we can produce:

  • 2 Life Skill Activity Books:  These are stories that come with an appropriate outfit that highlight special activities such as "Going to the Basketball Game,"  "My Hospital Trip," "Trying For the Gold," and other language and communication stories, many written by Special Education Teachers, Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapists.  These books will be ASL Sign supported.
  • Outfits that coordinate with the Life Skill Activity Books 

If we raise $5,000 we can produce:

  • 3 Specially Adapted Clothing Sets  Clothing designed to promote independence in play and to help transfer learned skills to every day life. These included zippers, buttons, snaps all in larger sizes to facilitate skill building.

If we raise $6,000 we can produce:

  • One Asian Girl Doll
  • One Asian Boy Doll
  • Two additional skin tone/hair/eye color combination dolls for
  •  a total of 20 combinations.

NEW STRETCH GOAL for $7,000

Hannah has made a special request.  She loves Special Olympics and ice skating.  She'd like her doll to have:

  • Ice Skating Dress
  • Ice Skates
  • Matching Tiara's

Other items on our stretch goal wishlist are:

  • Wheelchairs
  • Hearing Aids
  • Weighted Blankets
  • Lots of terrific outfits modified for easy dressing and independence working with specific skills
  • Note cards written by therapists with helpful tips on use of our accessories
Pants designed for snap practice.
Pants designed for snap practice.
Comfy T-shirt with our logo!
Comfy T-shirt with our logo!

Risks and challenges

The manufacturer is in place and all systems are go, but there is always a risk of a shipping delay, customs issue or some unforeseen circumstance like the recent earthquake in China. But we've worked too long and hard to let anything stop us!

I can't tell you how we'd tackle a circumstance that is out of our control, I can only assure you that one of the members of my team is a 35 year veteran procurement specialist who has put every detail that she can anticipate into our work plan.

In the event that ANYTHING happens that we didn't account for, we'll be in touch with each and every one of our backers here, through email, Facebook or our website. We want everyone to be in the loop and we'll do everything we must to get our dolls to their new homes!

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    This backer level gets your name on our humble "Page of Thanks" on the Extra Special Doll website!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    28 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Let us put our footprints on your refrigerator with this 3 inch round magnet with our Extra Special Doll logo!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 42 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    A 50 page pad of sticky Notes with the Dolls for Downs/ Extra Special Doll logo printed as reminder of your part in bringing hope, acceptance and support for people with Down Syndrome and the Dolls for Downs Project!

    Stick them on your computer or nearest wall to ensure that you'll remember your role in bringing Extra Special Dolls into the world!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    This backer level gets you a spiffy pair of glasses for your doll OR a wire hairbrush to keep your doll looking his/her best!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A pair of shoes with workable ties to help with those fine motor skills and a pair of socks to keep your doll looking dapper!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A doll stand for the display and protection of your doll if she is not being played with.
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    This backer level gives you both the wire hair brush AND glasses for your doll!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Back at this level and get a matching, personalized headband for you and one for your doll!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Our dolls are all vinyl and can get wet, however water can leak into the joints. A spiffy wetsuit will minimize this and make your doll even more fun to play with.
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $22 or more About $22

    A comfy cotton T-Shirt with our sandal gap logo. Wear it with pride and our thanks for bringing this dream to countless children!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A handmade 8" bracelet with our logo charm attached. These bracelets are lovingly made by myself, May, our CFO and professional jewelry designer, Ramona, our Tax Accountant and Tatyanna, our foremost Occupational Therapy Consultant. They are designed with lovely Swarovski crystal and other accent beads. Our logo dangles on an enamel charm! Not just a beautiful piece of jewelry but a reminder of your impact on the lives of kids will benefit from Extra Special Dolls and the Dolls for Downs project!
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Beautiful handmade patchwork tag blanket for your doll. Lovingly made in the USA, this tag blanket provides two different forms of sensory input for your child and it's a lovely accessory for your doll.
    Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    This backing level gets you something for your back and your doll's back, too. A cotton logo t-shirt and a matching t-shirt for your doll!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Backers at this reward level will receive an Accessory Pack! It contains one T-shirt set and matching headband set for you and your doll, plus a wire hairbrush for your doll.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The first 25 backers at at this reward level will receive a special Accessory Pack! It contains a matching headband set for you and your doll, plus a wire hairbrush and a doll size logo shirt, shoes, and glasses for your doll.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Backing at this level lets you bring home ONE of our 18 inch vinyl dolls!

    Each doll arrives dressed in an outfit with snaps, zippers, buttons, ties, velcro and a buckle. Cost includes domestic shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 18 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    SUPER VALUE SUPPORTER PACK This pack contains the doll of your choosing, matching T-shirts for you and your doll and matching headbands, too.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Backing at this level lets you NAME and DESIGN ONE of our 18 inch vinyl dolls!
    Name and design one of the girls! You can choose the dolls features and name! Does she have curly, black hair or long, red hair? What color eyes does she have? We will produce her and make her available to the world! You will receive her and a best friend, as a token of our thanks.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Backing at this level lets you NAME and DESIGN ONE of our 18 inch vinyl dolls!

    Name and design of the boys! You can choose the dolls features and name. Does he have curly, red hair or short, black hair? What color eyes does he have? We will produce him and make him available to the world! You will receive him and a best friend, as a token of our thanks.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (22 days)