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Viral ad challenges stereotypes about Down syndrome: ‘Assume I can drink a margarita’

via Instagram
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A new ad by CoorDown challenges stereotypes about people with Down syndrome, emphasizing their abilities and desires.

The “Assume That I Can” campaign aims to change perceptions and highlight achievements, like Chris Nikic becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman.

“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,” says actress Madison Tevlin, who has Down syndrome. “Your assumption becomes reality.”

“Parents, you assume that I cannot live on my own, so you don’t encourage me to live on my own,” Tevlin says.

“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 would not teach the student. And there you go: the prophecy self-fulfills,” Italian Marta Sodano, who also has Down syndrome, said. “In my opinion, there are not difficult or easy concepts, there is always a simple way to explain things. If I think of all the things that were not explained and taught to me, well I get really angry.”

“The whole point of this video is to end those stereotypes of people living with Down syndrome,” NDSS president and CEO Kandi Pickard said. “Many times people with disabilities are presumed to be unable to care for themselves or unable to make their own decision and that’s not the case.” (Trending: New Bombshell FBI Docs Blow Trump Case Wide Open)

“This video is opening up these conversations in such a healthy way for public to see not only the beauty but the ability of people with Down syndrome,” Pickard said. “This is what we do as an organization day in and day out. We want to shift the public perception of Down syndrome.”

“When your child is born with Down syndrome everyone tells you what they can’t do and how tough it is going to be … Chris is going to prove if he can do an Ironman and he can do anything else,” said Nikic. “Being first opens a lot of doors for him and people like him.”

The ad has sparked positive conversations, encouraging viewers to confront biases and see individuals with Down syndrome in a new light.

“Being an older sister of a DS person. I am guilty of treating my sister this way sometimes,” one Instagram user wrote. “But don’t worry, she sets me straight.”

“I just posted something today regarding doubting my son’s capabilities sometimes and this is such a great way to redirect our way of thinking, even as parents. Thank you for such a wonderful video,” another wrote.

“The pearl clutching in these comments is exactly why this video needs to exist. The fact that people feel empowered to tell this intelligent, capable, GROWN woman how she needs to deliver her message proves the message’s entire point,” another said.

“They’re going to be going to college and there’s an opportunity to go to the bar and have a drink. They want to live on their own. They want to do these things,” Pickard said. “For some families it’s hard to look past that disability and really to be able to see sometimes the opportunities that are out there.”

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