WASHINGTON — The toy company Mattel on Tuesday unveiled its first Barbie doll depicting a person with Down syndrome.

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

The design features of the new Barbie were done under the direction of NDSS, Mattel said. In addition to portraying some physical characteristics of a person with Down syndrome, Barbie’s clothing and accessories have special meaning.

The blue and yellow of the doll’s dress, accompanied by butterflies, represent symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness. And the three chevrons on Barbie’s necklace represent how people with Down syndrome have three copies of their chromosome 21, Mattel said.

Additionally, Barbie wears foot and ankle orthotics, which are worn by some children with Down syndrome.

Mattel's first Barbie doll depicting a person with Down syndrome.
Mattel’s first Barbie doll depicting a person with Down syndrome.Mattel, Inc. via AP

“This means a lot to our community, who for the first time can play with a Barbie doll that looks just like them,” NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard said in a statement. «This Barbie serves as a reminder to never underestimate the power of representation.»

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDown syndrome is the “most common chromosome condition” diagnosed in the US today. About 6,000 babies are born nationwide each year with Down syndrome, the CDC said.

The new Barbie doll depicting a person with Down syndrome is part of Mattel’s Fashionistas 2023 line, which aims to increase diversity and inclusion. 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.

“We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play,” Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls, said in a statement. at Mattel. .