Girl with Down's Syndrome holding a wand

A Disney Princess with Down’s Syndrome?

A petition asking for Disney to create an animated hero with Down’s syndrome has already collected more than 70,000 signatures. Yet, when we posted this news on Facebook , the response was … well, let’s say it was animated!

It seems to have divided opinions quite strongly, so we thought we’d publish some of your arguments for and against.

She shall go to the ball

It is time for the big media moguls to realise that just because a child may be slow in their development, this is no reason for them to be ignored. Also, I think having a character in a Disney movie would help other children understand that his/her friend is just as capable in every day life as they themselves – Catherine

A Disney Princess should be gentle, sweet, honest and beautiful, so yes girls with Down’s syndrome fit the essential criteria as well as anybody else – Tom Jamison, Editor Able Magazine

I’m not sure that Disney would do this without a load of self-congratulation (although I accept that it would draw attention) but if they did, and set an example, I’d love to see this happen – Gus 

As the parent of a young lady with Down’s Syndrome, I would encourage an increase in the visibility of people with disabilities on stage, screen and in the media, providing positive role models for our kids to aspire to. My girl loves a Disney princess just as much as the next kid, so get on with it animators! – Heidi 

I think we need to see more positive role models with disabilities so it becomes the norm, as it should do. Humans come in all shapes sizes colours and abilities so, so should TV characters. – Gemma

Put your wand away

This is political correctness gone mad. How preposterous. I have dear friends whose daughter has Downs. She is a happy, able confident individual who does not see herself as different to other people. Why then should Disney emphasise physical differences that individuals with the condition do not perceive? – David Bell

Is it really Disney’s job to teach kids about disability or is it ours? We should be teaching our children about accepting people for who they are, whether they are a Disney Princess or a little girl with Downs Syndrome who wants to be a princess. A character in a movie can’t do this. Only we can Kimberley 

If Disney portrayed the syndrome it would be mawkish and unrealistic probably. There are some fine actors and actresses out there with Down’s syndrome. It will not be long until we have Oscar winners with this condition winning on merit – Gavin

Not every person with learning disabilities has Downs Syndrome. As a mother of an adult daughter with learning disabilities, I often find it hard that a person with Down’s Syndrome is the representative of adults with learning disabilities – Margaret 

I have a high functioning autistic grandson. He tops his grade in every subject. We asked him to make a wish (as we were at a fountain) and he said,” I wish I had a friend.” He is isolated and teased at school. He could connect so well with a film about autism and the making of a friendship – Pam 

This is a case of misdirected energy. There have to be more useful things for people to be concerned about. Why would having a Disney princess with a disability help anyone have a better life? – Jo 

Find out more about the petition to create an animated hero with Down’s Syndrome and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Looking for disability-friendly story books? Check out our list of books with disabled characters.