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This Genius Italian Ad Is Shattering Stereotypes About Down Syndrome By Exposing People’s Implicit Biases

An Italian non-profit organization, CoorDown, has created a genius advertisement in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, to expose unspoken assumptions about Down syndrome.

An Italian non-profit organization, CoorDown, has created a genius advertisement in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, to expose unspoken assumptions about Down syndrome.

The ad, named “Assume That I Can”, was led by CoorDown, an Italian non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with Down syndrome.

CoorDown said the ad was inspired by a speech given by Marta Sodano, an Italian woman with Down syndrome, at the World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations.

“I discovered that in psychology there is a concept called ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’, whereby a teacher who thinks that a student cannot understand would just act accordingly and therefore they would not teach the student,” Sodano said, when describing obstacle she had to overcome. “And there you go: the prophecy self-fulfills.”

The ad applies the concept into moments in everyday life, with the video starting with 22-year-old Madison Tevlin, a model and actress who has Down syndrome, talking to a bartender.

“Hey bartender, you assume that I can’t drink a margarita so you don’t serve me a margarita so I don’t drink a margarita,” she said in the video. “Your assumption becomes reality.”

Then from parents’ to teachers’ negative assumptions, the video highlights that the wants and needs of people with Down syndrome are the same as those of all other people.

“If we want to create awareness and break boundaries through the work that we create and produce, we need to do it ourselves,” the Executive Producer of the campaign told Branding in Asia.

They also added that they are proud to help break down the stereotypes that restrict the dreams and plans of people with Down syndrome. 

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