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This ad for World Down Syndrome Day challenges stereotypes about the condition

Created by Small, a New York-based agency, the ad film sheds light on negative assumptions people make about the condition.

A World Down Syndrome Day ad by an Italian NGO CoorDown in association with National Down Syndrome Society is doing rounds on social media for its take on the stigma around Down Syndrome. Titled Assume that I Can, the ad film shows a girl with Down Syndrome challenging the popular stereotypes around the condition.

The film, conceptualised and created by Small New York, an ad agency, starts with Madison Tevlin, an actor and a model, addressing a bartender, who presumably doesn’t serve her Margarita. 

As scenes unfold, the film shows Tevlin's parents tucking her into bed and standing by her side as she diligently brushes her teeth, she shares a poignant reflection, Parents might believe a child can't navigate life independently. So, they unintentionally deter them from trying. Consequently, they remain reliant.

Tevlin is also seen going at her boxing coach, who assumes she can’t hit hard enough due to her condition. And likewise her teacher, who believes she can’t read Shakespeare, so he never bothers to teach her. 

“You assume that I can’t learn Shakespeare. So, you don’t teach me Shakespeare. So, I don’t learn Shakespeare,” says Tevlin. 

With an empowering crescendo, Tevlin confronts these stereotypes head-on, declaring, "If your assumptions become reality, then assume that I can drink a margarita.”

Concluding with a powerful visual of individuals with Down syndrome standing united, their gaze unwaveringly meeting the camera's lens, the advertisement issues a stirring call to action: “Assume that I can, and maybe we will.”

The agency behind the film took to social media to share it, with a caption that sums it all up. “Our negative assumptions about people with Down syndrome can lead us to treat them in such a way that these assumptions become reality,” reads the caption of Small New York’s Instagram post. “In sociology, this is called a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. Why not reverse our perspectives? If we have positive assumptions about people with Down syndrome, we’ll give them more opportunities in their schools, workplaces, relationships and activities.”

Launched on World Down Syndrome Day and set to run until March 21st, the campaign aims to amplify the voices of individuals with Down syndrome and their families worldwide. With the #OfCourse trend, this initiative showcases authentic narratives, shedding light on the diverse experiences of those living with Down syndrome and their triumphs over pervasive stereotypes.

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