'A Doll Like Me' creates dolls that look just like their owners

Photo: A Doll Like Me / Facebook
Photo: A Doll Like Me / Facebook 

Amy Jandrisevits knows a thing or two about how important play is for young children.

In her former life as a social worker in a paediatric oncology centre in Wisconsin, she wrote her Masters thesis on the 'healing power of play,' noting how important it is for children to be personally represented in imaginative play.

Children often find ways to incorporate themselves in fantasy play, but Amy goes a step further, hand-crafting dolls that look exactly like their owners-to-be, most of whom are beautifully different in some way.

The full-time mum of three writes on her Facebook page, that she has always been "disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls," so she decided to act on that, starting with a limb difference doll for a child.

She had been reading about how limb difference dolls can have a huge effect on how the child adjusts to losing a limb, and after further research saw that it was very difficult to order such toys.

She has now extended her scope to include all kinds of physical difference, ethnicity and interests.

She says, "I slowly added other dolls...dolls with albinism, dolls with prosthetic legs and feeding buttons, dolls with birthmarks and scars, dolls with burn scars that match those of their owner...if it's something I can do, I'm willing to try!"

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She writes, "It is my heartfelt belief that dolls should look like their owners AND dolls should be available in all colours, genders, and body types. We do kids such a disservice in not offering a wide variety of toys."

Her ideas are gaining traction, and just last month she was nominated for - and was successful - for GoFundMe Hero of the month.

Amy's Facebook page now has nearly 11,500 followers, with the doll maker being praised for her efforts to change how people view difference.

About her mission, Amy writes, "In an ideal world, limb difference, body type, medical condition, birthmarks and hand differences would be as accepted as all of the other things that make us unique. Until then, kids might need a little extra coaching... and something that will help them feel proud of who they are. THAT is why I make dolls. Dolls touch a place in kids that medicine can't."

One commenter wrote, "I'm crying looking at all of these photos. You and your dolls are exactly what this world needs. I hope every child is so lucky to receive a doll that looks like them."

We think so too. Well done Amy.