A new public awareness campaign backed by a host of organizations from around the world is urging people to reconsider their expectations of what’s possible for those with Down syndrome.

The advertising spot dubbed “Assume That I Can” features Madison Tevlin, an actress with the chromosomal disorder who’s known for the film “Champions,” challenging conventional wisdom.

At a bar, she details how the bartender assumes she cannot drink a margarita so she isn’t served one and doesn’t drink one. Likewise, parents assume their children with Down syndrome can’t live alone, a boxing coach doesn’t push her to hit harder and teachers assume that she cannot learn Shakespeare.

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“Your assumption becomes reality,” Tevlin says in the video before challenging people to take a different approach. “Assume that I can so maybe I will.”

The advertisement created by the New York-based agency SMALL was released ahead of Word Down Syndrome Day, which is held annually on March 21, by CoorDown, a Down syndrome organization in Italy. The group partnered with the National Down Syndrome Society, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and others around the world on the campaign.

Alongside the ad, the advocacy organizations are spotlighting examples of real people with Down syndrome who are defying expectations on their social media pages as part of the effort.

“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 filter,” said Antonella Falugiani, president of CoorDown. “Only in this way can we tear down the walls that still limit the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.”

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