My Sibling and My Pal dolls were created by Loretta Boronat, a mother, teacher, autism awareness advocate and seamstress. The original idea for 18 inch dolls was brought to reality with the establishment of the My Sibling brand. Loretta is an experienced seamstress, and while working from home, had received advice from a friend about the rapidly growing cottage industry of making doll clothes for the American Girl as a possible source of more business in her local community. She took this advice and went right to work, designing and making beautiful 18 inch doll clothes and accessories. All the while she was building this small enterprise, she was thinking about two things that would eventually lead her to creating her own doll business: first, there was not an American boy doll; second, the books written for the American Girl characters each contained a lesson, which inspired Loretta to develop characters through whom she could teach lessons about children with disabilities. She decided to tell the stories from the perspective of the typically developing brother or sister of the child with the disability, hence the name “My Sibling Dolls.” There are six My Sibling characters: four who have siblings with autism, and two who have siblings with Down Syndrome. The stories were intended to teach children about the challenges and rewards of living with a sibling who learns and grows differently than others. As a mother of a child with autism, and a teacher of the handicapped, Mrs. Boronat was able to base these stories on the real life experiences of her own family and the families of her students. It was very important to Loretta to offer dolls for boys, because there are so many boys impacted by having siblings with disabilities. For this reason, she has just as many boy dolls in her collection as she has girl dolls. Since her mission is to teach children about their peers who develop differently than they do, it is imperative to include boys in everything: dolls, 18 doll clothes, and the stories.
When Loretta realized that she needed to have a broader appeal to reach more customers, she established the My Pal brand. She developed new characters with booklets of a different size, format and content. These dolls address themes which Loretta thinks are important for children, such as caring for their environment, caring for their peers, being a peacemaker, being healthy and fit by participating in sports, and more. She has also incorporated her passion for autism awareness by including a character for that important topic, as well.
My Sibling® and My Pal® products are prepared for sale by people with disabilities.
Read more about the MySibling/My Pal Work Experience Program™.