Please note: this video contains some explicit language. Viewer discretion is advised.

We are proud to support our network member, CoorDown, with their international awareness campaign for World Down Syndrome Day 2024, 'Assume That I Can'.

This campaign is a call for everyone to put an end to prejudice and support the concrete potential of each person who has Down syndrome. 

Stereotypes, biases and low expectations strongly affect every aspect of the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. They represent an often-impassable boundary that limits their ambitions; their opportunities at school, in the workplace, in sports, in their communities, friendships and romantic relationships.

"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. And there you go: the prophecy self-fulfills. But in my opinion, there are no 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 really get angry."

These are the words delivered by Marta Sodano, a 29-year-old Italian woman with Down syndrome, during the World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations to describe the hurdles she had to overcome in her school experience.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is a sociological and psychological concept, first described in 1948 by the US sociologist Robert K. Merton, illustrating how people’s assumptions and expectations affect events to such an extent that the initial prophecy comes true. These are, therefore, no mere abstract inconsequential actions but rather a mental process that is conducive to creating a situation that has tangible effects on one’s life and affects social circumstances.

This, and Marta Sodano’s words, have inspired the film "Assume That I Can”. The protagonist, a young woman with Down syndrome, challenges the low expectations others have of her and proposes a reversal of perspective. Initially, those around her believe that she cannot drink a cocktail, be a boxer, study Shakespeare, live alone, or achieve important goals.

Then, halfway through the film, there’s a twist: the protagonist forcefully invites the viewer, and society at large, to think outside the box and use the self-fulfilling prophecy positively: if you believe in me, if you trust in me, you can have a positive impact, and then, maybe, I will achieve goals, even unexpected ones.

If a teacher believes their students can learn, challenges them and finds the right strategies to teach their subject matter, most likely, they will learn it.

If a parent supports and believes in their child, provides them with a wealth of experiences, and gives them the ability to make their own choices, then their child is more likely to succeed in whatever they have set their mind to.

Similarly, if an employer or co-worker believes that a colleague who has Down syndrome can carry out a task that might at first appear complicated and creates the right environment for teaching and learning to take place, then maybe they will master it.

It’s a profound shift in consciousness that goes beyond denouncing denied rights, calling to action anyone who wishes to actively fight to realize true inclusion for all.

The international campaign started with CoorDown in Italy, but sees the contribution of several international associations that are simultaneously launching the film worldwide: Canadian Down Syndrome Society, National Down Syndrome Society, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Down's Syndrome Association UK, Down Syndrome Australia and New Zealand Down Syndrome Association with the participation of members of the Fundació Catalana Síndrome de Down.

CoorDown and partners’ social media will broadcast the real experiences of people with Down syndrome and their families from all over the world, sharing examples of the types of stereotypes experienced and the biases they've overcome. 

The campaign was born from the collaboration with the New York-based agency SMALL. It was produced by Indiana Production and directed by Rich Lee, with Christopher Probst as director of photography.

Music was composed and produced by Stabbiolo Music.

The campaign’s official hashtags are #AssumeThatICan #EndTheStereotypes #WorldDownSyndromeDay #WDSD24.

Meet the leading lady!

Madison Tevlin began her career at the age of 12 when her cover of John Legend’s All of Me went viral.

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Madison is a model, advocate and actor.

Her credits include: Mr. D, Who Do You Think I Am, hosting the red carpet at the Canadian Screen Awards, and her iconic role as Cosentino in the film Champions, starring Woody Harrelson and directed by Bobby Farrelly.

Madison is the first person with Down syndrome to be nominated for a Canadian Screen Award - Best Host, Talk Show or Entertainment News.

Madison is a member of Best Buddies International, she walked the runway as part of the Knix Confidence Tour, was the keynote speaker at the Dear Mom conference in Laguna Beach, and received the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy award in 2023 from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

Madison loves to challenge misunderstandings by presenting her own story as a person who has passions and goals and is capable of much more than people expect of her. 

Changing the perspective with which we approach disability is the challenge launched by CoorDown for 2024. A new milestone that embraces the long journey made in 12 years of commitment to promoting the rights of people with Down syndrome with the Global Campaigns.
We decided to launch a call to action, which aims to engage the whole society, not just our community, because disability really affects everyone, and everyone must be able to act to change the culture that produces discrimination. With the story of "Assume That I Can" we show how each of us can contribute to inclusion by listening and looking at people with Down syndrome, their needs and desires without warped filters. Only in this way can we tear down the walls that still limit the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

Antonella Falugiani, President, CoorDown

This year, we wanted to make a very different film than in previous years. Taking inspiration from a speech Marta Sodano gave to the United Nations a few years ago, we set out to give a strong message against prejudice.
Thanks to Madison's great acting skills and versatility and the talent of director Rich Lee, we made a film full of energy that we hope will help break down the stereotypes that still restrict the dreams and plans of people with Down syndrome.

Luca Lorenzini and Luca Pannese, Executive Creative Directors, SMALL New York

Every year, CoorDown, with their creative and production partners tries to disrupt perception on the world of disabilities with a campaign that can carry the weight of a strong creative insight that can shine a new light on stereotypes and biases that are part of the lives of people with Down syndrome - and all intellectual disabilities as a whole.
We thought the insight of the campaign was so strong that we adopted it in every aspect of production. “You Assume that I will shoot this campaign like any other commercial that deals with disabilities?” “You assume we cannot find an actor or an actress that can carry the weight of the whole film on his or her shoulder?” “You assume we cannot get Rich Lee to direct it and Chris Probst to light it?”
If we want to create awareness and break boundaries through the work that we create and produce, we need to do it ourselves. We assumed that we could and we certainly did, because it certainly shows in the originality and power and creative strength of this year’s Coordown World Down Syndrome Day campaign.
We are very proud of how the “Assume that I can” campaign is unlike anything else we have seen or done before.

Karim Bartoletti, Partner/MD/Executive Producer, Indiana Production


The Coordinamento delle associazioni delle persone con sindrome di Down was established in 1987 with the aim of promoting communication actions shared among the various Italian organizations engaging in the protection and promotion of the rights of people who have Down syndrome, and today it is the official representative body interacting with all Institutions.

Every second Sunday of October, CoorDown promotes the National Down Syndrome Day and on 21 March of every year, World Down Syndrome Day, also by producing international communication campaigns which over the years have been awarded as many as 23 Cannes lions, of which 9 golden, at the International Festival of Creativity.



Agency: SMALL

Executive Creative Directors: Luca Pannese, Luca Lorenzini

Creative Director: Paolo Montanari

Managing Director: Alberto Scorticati

Account Manager: Chiara Guadagnini


Production Company: Indiana Production S.p.A.

Director: Rich Lee

DP: Christopher Probst, ASC

Executive Producer: Karim Bartoletti

Senior Producer: Silvia Bergamaschi

Assistant Producer: Luca Bettinetti

1st AD: Andrew Coffing

Editor: Luca Angeleri

Original Music: Alessandro Cristofori and Diego Perugini for Stabbiolo Music

Colorist: Danilo Vittori

Post Production Audio: Bravagente

Senior Post Producer: Alga Pastorelli

Post Produzione Video: 22 Dogs


Service Company: Vivi Film

Executive Producer: Carlos Soms

Production coordinator: Nerea Soms

Art Director: John Blud

Stylist: Cris Urso

Media Office CoorDown ODV

Paola Amicucci

[email protected]

Tel. +39 345.7549218