A Q&A with the charity Wouldn’t Change A Thing around their most recent Down syndrome awareness campaign.
The theme of your video this year is “What Do You See.” Tell us what inspired this theme?
As with all our videos, we looked to our family members and friends with DS for inspiration. We thought about what we saw when we looked at them – for example their characters, talents, relationships. We wanted to show the viewer what we saw in our family members with DS, and in turn, challenge the viewer to consider what they see when they look at an individual with DS, and encourage them to look past the diagnosis.
Tell us a bit about the stars of your video.
The individuals in the video range in age, from 7 months to 26 years old. Some feature on their own, some with family members, friends, teachers, sports coaches. Around half of our video stars are WCAT 2020 Ambassadors, with the rest having been selected by lottery from our Awareness project group. For some, it’s their first WCAT video, whilst others are veterans – there’s even a few from the original 50 Mums|50 kids crew!
Geographically, this is probably our most diverse video yet, with people from the across the UK, Canada, USA, Tanzania and Malta.
We’ve also tried to represent as much of our diverse DS community as possible – for example individuals who have overcome cancer and cardiac issues, and individuals with other more complex needs.
What do you hope to achieve with this video?
As with all our projects, our aim is to challenge negative misconceptions of Down Syndrome. We want to challenge people to examine their perceptions of people with Down Syndrome, and encourage them to look at the person behind the ‘diagnosis’, realise that people with DS are individuals. We ask the question “what do you see?” then show the viewer what those closest to individuals with Down syndrome see in them.
What made you choose the song you have chosen?
The concept came first. Then we realised we needed a song which conveyed that concept, and a few suggestions were made. Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are’ instantly struck a chord. The second line in the chorus, ‘There’s not a thing that I would change’, says it all!
What makes this video different to all the other fabulous videos you have released?
With all of our projects, we look back at what we’ve done before, what worked well,
what we’ve not done yet. With this project we wanted to more directly challenge the viewer, to ask the question “What do you see when you look at me?” and encourage them to examine their perceptions of people with DS. The individuals with DS lead this video – they ask the question and, ultimately, give the answer.
The close up nature of this clips in this video does take us back to the feel of 50 Mums|50 kids|1 Extra Chromosome. We hope we’ve come close to recreating that magic.
What are you plans for this video?
As with all our campaigns and videos, we want to reach as many people as possible, encourage them to examine their beliefs around Down Syndrome, and hopefully change any negative perceptions that they hold.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have someone with DS in their lives, so we want to give people the opportunity to gain a little insight, and see what we see – individuals with their own personalities, talents, hopes and dreams. Individuals about whom we “Wouldn’t Change a Thing.”
For more information or support – firstname.lastname@example.org
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