Halls Head mum seeks City funding to introduce dolls with Down syndrome into childhood and day care centres


Halls Head resident seven-year-old Aysha Grant with her Paper Planes and Co. Down syndrome doll.
Halls Head resident seven-year-old Aysha Grant with her Paper Planes and Co. Down syndrome doll.

HALLS Head mother of two Alana Grant hopes to receive funding from City of Mandurah to introduce dolls with Down syndrome in Mandurah early childhood and day care centres.

Ms Grant’s seven-year-old daughter Aysha was born with Down syndrome.

She said her idea of pursuing a grant evolved after Aysha took home a doll with Down syndrome from Mandurah’s Paper Planes Co. two weeks ago.

“Aysha naturally gravitated towards the doll, and was so happy and she connected with it automatically,” she said.

Ms Grant said she was in the process of applying for a $2000 council grant.

“If we have these dolls in day care centres it’s not just the kids seeing them, it’s the mothers too seeing these dolls with Down syndrome and so we alleviate this fear,” she said.

Ms Grant said she would need support from a not-for-profit group in Mandurah to say there’s value for her cause in the community.

“They’re not cheap because they’re not made in bulk so I’m hoping to get 20 or so dolls with Down syndrome out to these centres if I get the funding,” she said.

“Kids learn through play in their first four years of their lives so we can normalise Down syndrome through toys.”

Ms Grant said she was grateful Paper Planes Co. owners Donna and Scott Cameron were normalising Down syndrome through sale of the dolls.

“They are normalising Down syndrome from an outsiders perspective, from a non-invested emotional perspective, and it makes it more valuable,” she said.

“There’s this thing in society that Down syndrome is fearful because it’s different, complicated and not normal but if we normalise it, this fear will dissipate.”

Paper Planes Co. selling dolls with Down syndrome dolls to break barriers

MANDURAH’S Paper Planes Co. aims to teach kids acceptance and inclusivity through the sale of dolls with Down syndrome.

Falcon resident Donna Cameron, who owns the store with her husband Scott, said they started selling the dolls three months ago.

“We knew these dolls with Down syndrome were available and we felt in our hearts it was something important we needed to sell,” she said.

The dolls stocked by the Mandurah retail store are made by Belonil, who create dolls of most nationalities.

Mrs Cameron wanted to break barriers and rid existing negative feelings towards those with Down syndrome.

“The general public have tried to rid the negative feelings towards Down syndrome and we wanted to make sure we could contribute to that as well,” she said.

“The dolls are not just for children with Down syndrome, as they’ve been received well by other kids too.

“It’s about breaking down the barriers for those kids without Down syndrome too and to teach them to be accepting.”

According to Mrs Cameron, the dolls have been extremely popular in Mandurah.

“The feedback has been so good and we’ve had a high volume of sales,” she said.

“We’ve even had feedback from carers over east who have said patients love the dolls and cuddle and kiss them.”

The dolls are available in both genders for $89.95 from Paper Planes Co. on Mandurah Terrace.

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