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Inspiring campaign urges people not to let their assumptions limit individuals with Down syndrome

The campaign aims to remind us that folks with Down syndrome should be encouraged rather than stopped by their loved ones to explore uncharted territories.

Inspiring campaign urges people not to let their assumptions limit individuals with Down syndrome
Cover Image Source: TikTok | National Down Syndrome Society

Stereotypes and assumptions are huge perils preventing people from living their lives to the best of their abilities. Model Madison Telvin and Small Agency took a stand against this when they collaborated on a campaign that showcases how assumptions not only harm individuals with Down syndrome but also hamper the quality of their lives. In a badass video, Telvin shares how there is a certain level of infantilization in play when it comes to people with Down syndrome. They are prevented from exploring countless life experiences because of the assumption that they are not capable of handling them. Telvin wants such assumptions to stop and wants people like her to explore everything their existence has to offer them rather than get trapped by misconceptions.

Image Source: Instagram/@madisontelvin
Image Source: Instagram/@madisontelvin

The video—which was also shared on TikTok by the National Down Syndrome Society— features several instances where individuals with Down syndrome are refused everyday experiences. It starts with a margarita. The camera focuses on Telvin as she says, "Hey bartender, you assume I cannot drink a Margarita? So you don't serve me a margarita. So I don't drink a margarita. Your assumption becomes reality." This pattern repeats at home, where parents do not believe their children can live alone, so they end up not being able to have the confidence to venture out solo. Actions like making them sleep with a toy or helping them brush their teeth are a way for parents to keep their children from growing up. The coach does not believe Telvin can "hit harder" which leads to her not having the skill set to land strong punches. When teachers assume she "cannot learn Shakespeare" and never teach her his literature, they deny her the opportunity to explore the complex emotions in those tales. All these actions stop her growth.

Image Source: Instagram/@madisontelvin
Image Source: Instagram/@madisontelvin

The video caption explains that this behavior is called a "self-fulfilling prophecy" in sociology. The reason she is unable to find her footing in tasks within unknown territories is that her "well-wishers" don't believe she can succeed. This is not unique to her condition and is a common experience for everyone. People find it difficult to achieve their objectives without support from their close ones. Madison asks for nothing but encouragement from them. "If all your assumptions become reality, then assume I can drink a margarita. So you serve me a margarita. So I drink a margarita. Assume that I can live on my own. So I live on my own. Assume that I can hit harder. So I hit harder," she says in the inspiring video. Be the wind beneath her sails, rather than the opposite. Down syndrome does not mean a life full of limitations; it is society that makes it that way. "If we have positive assumptions about people with Down syndrome, we’ll give them more opportunities in their schools, workplaces, relationships and activities. And maybe these positive assumptions will become reality," the post caption adds.

Image Source: Instagram/@sindy_mcfearsom_809823shlvu
Image Source: Instagram/@sindy_mcfearsom_809823shlvu

 

Image Source: Instagram/@trisomie21qc
Image Source: Instagram/@trisomie21qc

Social media users could not get enough of the badass video. @kyle_obrock loved the strong message and wrote, "So good and powerful!" @maayanziv_ shared her happiness at the changing face of disability representation, commenting: "This is brilliant. The next generation of disability representation looks like this. It sounds like this. And it will be like this. I’m so ready for it."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by SMALL (@smalltheagency)


 

You can follow Madison Telvin (@madisontelvin) on Instagram and TikTok to follow along with her acting career. 

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