Toddler loves doll that’s ‘just like her’
LEAH Bancks loves her doll Beddy - they are like two peas in a pod. The 16-month-old Logan girl has Down syndrome and Beddy has the same facial features.
Leah doesn't come across too many people who look like her, as the termination rate of babies diagnosed with the congenital disorder sits at 95 per cent.
The lookalike dolls are flying off the shelves, bought not just by parents, but by childcare centres keen to teach children about diversity and acceptance.
"I wanted Leah to feel a connection and identify with the doll. It's important for her to feel pride and confidence in who she is, as there are few children with Down syndrome in books or on television," mum Sharon Park told The Courier-Mail.
"Children learn social behaviour from play and bringing inclusion to the playground or toy box is a big step forward for children like Leah," she said.
Queensland mum Joelle Kelly runs a national support network for thousands of families touched by Down syndrome.
Last week she addressed an Australian summit on abortion law reform pleading for a national clinical framework to support women having prenatal testing.
"There needs to be a cooling-off period, there are too many women feeling pressured to hurry up and terminate after the test at 10 weeks," Ms Kelly who has a five-year-old daughter with Down syndrome.
"There has been a turnaround in the US where termination rates have dropped from around 95 per cent to 67 per cent. That could happen here," she said.