world down syndrome day

Photo by Eunice Pais on Canva/Photo by Olena Bohovyk on Canva

Powerful ad shows people with Down syndrome taking control

There can be nothing more frustrating than someone assuming that you don't know how to do something. Oftentimes this occurs for reasons like your gender or age. Someone may assume a petite woman wouldn't know how to fix a car or can't lift something heavy, while someone else may believe that a child can't read a book above their grade level.

These small assumptions not only put people in a box unintentionally, but it can also be sexism, ageism and ableism when it happens to people who are physically or developmentally delayed. An ad put together by CoorDown for World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, tackles the assumptions placed on people with Down syndrome.

People that have Down syndrome are often treated much younger than what they are, even if developmentally they're closer to their numerical age. They even face these misconceptions when it comes to seeking medical treatment, with doctors treating them like children. That's why the CoorDown ad is so powerful. It challenges those misconceptions and inherent biases.

Starring in the commercial is Madison Tevlin, an actor with Down syndrome that stars in the comedy Champions with Woody Harrelson. The ad starts out with Tevlin sitting at a bar as her voiceover says, "hey bartender, you assume that I cannot drink a margarita. So you don't serve me a margarita," as the bartender slides her a colorful soda pop with a straw. 'So I don't drink a margarita. Your assumption becomes reality."

Tevlin goes through different scenarios that point out assumptions being made about her capabilities. Parents who don't think their child with Down syndrome can move out. Teachers who think they can't learn more complicated pieces of literature, with the main point of the commercial being to stop limiting the realities of people who have Down syndrome by making assumptions. People under the video applauded CoorDown for the reminder that people of differing abilities can do all sorts of things if given the chance and appropriate support.

"Nailed it! Let's get beyond thinking it's great that people with developmental disabilities are "invited to the table" and support a paradigm where they are the host of that table," one person writes.

"What a fantastic message! We all need to listen to it. Don’t overlook their potential. They will surprise you," someone else says.

"Bravo! Excellent message and the delivery is amazing! I don't have Down syndrome but I am Autistic, so I have been exposed to so many parents who hold their children back with low expectations," another shares.

One teacher wants to show the commercial to her class but there's an F bomb at the end, so she will have to wait for the censored version. Overall the reaction was nothing but positive and you can watch the incredible ad below.