Picture: @a_doll_like_me on Instagram.

From body type to birthmarks and surgery scars ‘A Doll Like Me’ aims to help create equal representation in children’s toys one handsewn doll at a time.

We often tell kids, ‘you are perfect the way you are’, but when what they see on television and in the dolls that they play with doesn’t match up with how they see themselves in the mirror, believing this statement to be true is challenging.

That is why former social worker and mother of two, Amy Jandrisevis from Wisconsin, has made it her mission to create dolls that are custom made to look like their owners. On her Facebook page, she shared, “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. 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, Jandrisevis made a limb difference doll for a little girl who wanted a doll that looked like her.  “I decided to do some research of my own. I 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.”

Over 300 custom-made dolls later, Jandrisevis now makes dolls based on ethnicity, limb and hand differences, and interests (superheroes, sports, Hello Kitty, you name it, she does it). Over time, the list has grown to include more and more 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,” she shared on Facebook.