Down Syndrome Appeal Says: Don't Make 'Ridiculous Excuses Not to Be Inclusive'

Words have power, so choose them wisely

Can the ableist rhetoric already! t's never ever OK to make "Ridiculous Excuses Not to Be Inclusive" when it comes to the treatment of folks with Down syndrome.

In case you're confused about what constitutes a "ridiculous excuse," Italian nonprofit CoorDown provides plenty of examples in a campaign timed to World Down Syndrome Day on March 21.

New York agency Small developed the work, a fitting followup to last year's effort focused on romance and privacy for Down folks, and a 2021 initiative on hiring with music by Sting.

That was amusingly retro, with colorful graphics and that earworm. But it was also kind of sad. Which is the whole point. For some, outmoded notions of exclusivity prevail. And it's long past time for that to change.

"When we heard what kind of excuses people with Down syndrome and their families were receiving for being excluded, we said that these excuses deserved to be brought to light and ridiculed," explain Small ECDs Luca Lorenzini and Luca Pannese.

To reiterate, some ridiculous excuses include: 

  • "It's not your fault, we're the ones who are not prepared to take you on the field trip!,"
  • "We already have a child like you in the group,"
  • "We don't have enough chairs to invite you to the meeting,"
  • "We closed registration just ten minutes ago!"

"Wouldn't it be nice if all those who are discriminated against learned this jingle and sang it as a response to those who, with a smirk, make excuses for exclusion?" say Lorenzini and Pannese. "Wouldn't it be nice if people with Down syndrome learned it, yes, but also people with other disabilities, or any other person who is discriminated against?"

This outing reminds us of these 2018 ads from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society explaining that "sorry" is often a word best avoided. CoorDown also focuses on the power of words to hurt or heal, and the ability of language to shape reality for better or worse in so many ways. Ultimately, of course, we should examine our own prejudices, think before we speak and strive to be better human beings.

"We touch on an issue that concerns each of us: naming and making visible a phenomenon that people with Down syndrome and their parents, brothers, sisters and caregivers experience on a daily basis," says CoorDown president Antonella Falugiani. "They may seem like small events, but in reality they are real discriminations often done with a smile of circumstance or unawareness that nevertheless mark the lives and hearts of those who suffer them."

She continues: "The time has come to break down this wall as well and expose the false 'good intentions' of those who out of laziness or lack of understanding still exclude people with intellectual disabilities. With this campaign we will give space and voice to boys, girls, children and adults with their families who will tell us how many ridiculous excuses they have had to listen to and how they reacted to assert their right to participate and decide on every aspect of their lives."


Agency: Small
Executive Creative Directors: Luca Pannese, Luca Lorenzini

Creative Director: Fabio Tridenti
Production Company: Indiana Production
Partner/MD/Executive Producer: Karim Bartoletti
Senior Producer: Lilli Auteri
Director: Stoney Sharp
DP: Joe Gabriel
Co-Production Company NY: Tinygiant
Founder/Executive Producer NY: Veronica Diaferia
Partner/Executive Producer NY: Sara Eolin
Line Producer NY: Neil Champagne
1st AD: Mark Kaufmann
2nd AD: Cody Maher
Editor: Luca Angeleri
Supporting Editor: Simone Moraca
Senior Post Producer: Alga Pastorelli
Colorist: Claudio Beltrami
Motion design & Compositing: Sincromie
Post Production Audio: Bravagente
Compositing: Alessandro Canu
Original Music: Stabbiolo Music - 
Alessandro Cristofori, Diego Perugini and Guido Pietrella Vocals: James Wertts, Lara Karuna, Aurion, Eugene van Hemert, Nadia Guelfi, Daria Tanasenko, Andrea Castellana


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