Breaking down barriers on down syndrome: 'Assume I Can' campaign

This World Down Syndrome Day, the "Assume I Can" campaign launched by CoorDown and NDSS aims to dismantle prejudices and celebrate the capabilities of individuals with Down Syndrome.

Breaking down barriers on down syndrome: 'Assume I Can' campaign

On World Down Syndrome Day, CoorDown, an Italian organization that advocates rights, inclusions and well-being of people with down syndrome, in collaboration with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), unveiled a global initiative titled "Assume I Can." This international campaign is a clarion call to eliminate prejudice and embrace the potential inherent in every person with Down Syndrome.

At the heart of the campaign is a film starring Madison Tevlin, who challenges societal stereotypes through a narrative that contrasts the world's assumptions with her reality. The film, "Assume I Can," is not just a campaign but a movement, urging us to reconsider our preconceived notions about abilities and limitations.

Assume That I Can | Global World Down Syndrome Day Campaign 2024
Our negative assumptions about people with Down syndrome can lead us to treat them in such a way that these assumptions become reality. In sociology, this is…

Tevlin's message is clear and compelling: assumptions can shape our reality, but by reversing these assumptions, we empower individuals. The film showcases Tevlin and others defying expectations—living independently, excelling in sports, and engaging in intellectual pursuits. This powerful narrative extends beyond Down Syndrome, touching on the universal impact of assumptions on everyone's life.

Martina Fuga of CoorDown and Luca Lorenzini of SMALL highlight the campaign's universal resonance and its success in sparking conversations about changing perceptions. The "Assume I Can'' message is spread through CoorDown's and NDSS's platforms, with the support of various international associations, amplifying its impact.

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Inclusivity and awareness campaigns around the world

In recent years, several campaigns have emerged, advancing the cause of inclusivity and challenging societal stereotypes.

Here are some examples:

1.   "Love Has No Labels" by the Ad Council

This campaign promotes acceptance and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and ability. Using an interactive video that showcased diverse couples behind a large X-ray screen, it revealed the people behind the bones as they stepped out, challenging viewers to confront their own biases and embrace all forms of love.

2.   "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" by Dove

Part of Dove's Real Beauty campaign, this initiative challenged societal standards of beauty. By comparing sketches of women described by themselves to those described by strangers, it highlighted how women often view themselves more critically than others do, promoting a more inclusive and compassionate definition of beauty.

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"We're The Superhumans" by Channel 4 for the Rio 2016 Paralympics

Showcasing the extraordinary talents of people with disabilities, this campaign aimed to change perceptions about disability. Featuring Paralympic athletes and other talented individuals with disabilities, it celebrated their abilities with the tagline, "Yes, I can," inspiring viewers to rethink assumptions about disability and achievement.

Each of these campaigns, like "Assume I Can," leverages powerful storytelling to challenge stereotypes and encourage a more inclusive perspective on various societal norms. By highlighting the diverse experiences and abilities of individuals, they contribute to a broader cultural conversation about inclusivity.

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