A Doll Like Me: Wisconsin mom hand crafts unique dolls that match the child’s skin colour, limb difference or disability to ensure that each child feels represented.
A Doll Like Me: promoting a healthy and positive self-identity
Amy Jandrisevits is a Wisconsin doll maker and mom who makes incredibly cute lookalike dolls by hand for differently-abled and terminally ill children, and kids who would otherwise struggle to find toys that look like them on store shelves. — reports Tank’s Good News.
Every kid should look into the sweet face of a doll and see their own. “Dolls are therapeutic, validating, and comforting. It is a human likeness and by extension, a representation of the child who loves it,” says Amy. “I am a doll-maker who feels that every kid, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, medical issue, or body type, should look into the sweet face of a doll and see their own.” — Amy Jandrisevits Source: GoFundMe/ADollLikeMe
Amy was disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls… so she did something about it!
Amy Jandrisevits is an avid doll collector and always have been. In her previous life (before having her own children), Amy was a pediatric oncology social worker. Doll-making combines Amy’s love of dolls and passion for social work. She say she has always been disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls…so, as her mom taught her, if you don’t like it…do something about it!
Amy says on Facebook: “Even back when I was a social worker, I thought it was so important to have dolls available to the kids 1) because everyone should have something to cuddle, 2) everyone should have a doll that looks like them (especially when you don’t have any hair!), and 3) medical play is helpful for psychosocial adjustment. My Master’s thesis was about the healing power of play…
“It is my heartfelt belief that dolls should look like their owners and dolls should be available in all colors, genders, and body types. We do kids such a disservice in not offering a wide variety of toys. 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.”
Initially Jandrisevits made a limb difference doll for a little girl who wanted a doll that looks like her. She decided to do some research of her own. She realised that there aren’t many places where you can custom-order a doll with limb differences and have him/her look like the person who loves the doll.
Amy then read an article about how limb difference dolls can help with adjustment in a big way, and wondered ‘So where are all of the dolls to help kids do this?!’
That’s when A Doll Like Me was conceived. Amy custom-makes dolls based on ethnicity, limb (and now hand) difference, and interests (ex: sports, Hello Kitty, superhero, and pretty much whatever else she can find).
Amy 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 she can do, she’s willing to try.
Amy custom-makes dolls based on ethnicity, limb (and now hand!) difference Amy realised that there aren’t many places where you can custom-order a doll with a limb difference(s) and have him/her look like the person who loves the doll. Source: Facebook/ADollLikeMe
Amy has made more than 400 dolls, many of which were provided to low-income parents free of cost
Typically, parents or caregivers pay for the dolls – about $100 with shipping per doll. However, when they can’t afford it, Amy finds a way to cover the costs herself because she feels it’s that important. On her GoFundMe page, set up to cover said costs, she says ‘..if we truly want to talk about the overall health of a child, we need to promote a healthy and positive self-identity.’
‘I have partnered with children’s hospitals to identify kids who might benefit from having a doll for comfort as they go through their medical care. The money raised here will help me do that. Funds raised will be used to pay for materials and shipping to cover the cost of dolls for those who can’t afford it. As of this spring, A Doll Like Me, Inc. is a recognized nonprofit organization! I am SO happy about that.
‘Ultimately, I don’t want any parent to have to pay for something that’s so important. If we’re going to look at mental health as a necessary part of medical care, this is key. My ultimate goal is to fulfill every doll order that comes in and not have the families have to pay for it. I think that a doll is a tangible way to show kindness.’
Amy slowly began adding 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. Source: Facebook/ADollLikeMe
‘A Doll Like Me’ GoFundMe Campaign
‘My name is Amy and, in a nutshell, I make dolls for kids who will never see themselves on the store shelves. I like to think of doll-making more like a ministry or a mission than a business. Dolls are therapeutic, validating, and comforting. It is a human likeness and by extension, a representation of the child who loves it. I am a doll-maker who feels that every kid, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, medical issue, or body type, should look into the sweet face of a doll and see their own.’ — click if you would like to help Amy help those who perhaps can’t afford a doll.