Everyone Can Play

This Barbie With Down Syndrome Is Such Lovely Representation

And is a sweet way for every child to include and feel included.

I have always been a big Barbie fan, and have appreciated the brand’s commitment to diversity and representation over the last several years. The entire point of playing with Barbies is to act out dreams and storylines, and having a Barbie that looks like you or makes you feel represented is key, and Barbie is really taking that to heart with the newest doll. The new Barbie with Down syndrome is such a beautiful addition to the Fashionistas line of dolls, and means so much to children and their parents.

With the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) help, Barbie has created a doll sculpted to have the same features and characteristics often attributed to Down syndrome, including a shorter frame and a longer torso. The Barbie’s face also has a rounder shape, and her eyes are slightly slanted in an almond shape, like many people with Down syndrome have. Along with smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge, the Barbie doll’s palms also include a single line, which is a physical trait often associated with those with Down syndrome. Her physical features were even reviewed by a medical professional.

This Barbie doll with Down syndrome also wears pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) to match her outfit, and her sneakers have a zipper detail. Since some children with Down syndrome use orthotics, this accessory was another move of representation, and NDSS even provided a box of orthotics to serve as inspiration for the ones Barbie is wearing. Even Barbie’s outfit has some lovely symbolism, with her yellow and blue dress an ode to colors associated with Down syndrome awareness, as well as a butterfly pattern that’s also a symbol. Barbie’s necklace also includes three chevrons representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome.

And if you’re wondering just how important this Barbie is to the Down syndrome community, this gorgeous video from Mattel will make you weep. The families that were invited to see the new Barbie with Down syndrome are so excited, and several of the parents share how touching it is to see a huge brand like Barbie acknowledge that not only do they see their children, they honor their children and celebrate them.


While Barbie’s clear goal is to allow every child to see themselves in the toy they’re playing with, it’s also incredibly important that children who don’t have Down syndrome play with these dolls just like they would any other Barbie. I love that this doll is included in the Barbie Fashionistas line, and isn’t some separate collection or line of special needs Barbies or Barbies with Down syndrome. She’s just a Barbie like any other Barbie — and she just happens to have Down syndrome. It’s right in line with their other diverse dolls that have prosthetic limbs, hearing aids, and use wheelchairs.

All 2023 Fashionistas dolls, including the Barbie doll with Down syndrome, can be found in major retailers for $10.99.