This PSA for World Down Syndrome Day humorously redefines what ‘special needs’ are

Ahead of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, Italian nonprofit CoorDown has released a PSA that humorously explains why the expression “special needs” doesn’t make much sense.

The two-minute PSA, which already has nearly five million views on Facebook, stars “Glee” actress Lauren Potter. In the video, Potter uses humor to illustrate the point that the needs of people with Down syndome aren’t particularly special - for example, they don’t “need” to eat dinosaur eggs or “need” to be woken up by a celebrity every morning.

Called 'Not Special Needs,' the PSA aims to shine a light on the fact that people with Down syndrome have the same needs as everyone. While they may require extra assistance or help, they still strive to have the same opportunities and experiences as everybody else.

Created by Publicis New York and directed by Wayne McClammy, the PSA will be presented at the 6th World Down Syndrome Day Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York on March 21.

“The term ‘special needs’ is a euphemistic way to speak about persons with disabilities and their needs,” said Andy Bird, chief creative officer of Publicis New York, in a statement. “The reality is people with Down syndrome do not have different or special needs, although they may sometimes meet those needs in different ways, they have the same needs as all of us… jobs, friends, love and simply the need to be seen and treated equally. We are so proud of this work for our incredible partner CoorDown who does so much great work courageously challenging preconceptions, and we hope our film maybe goes a little way to changing how people view those with Down Syndrome.”

Last year, Saatchi & Saatchi created a PSA for World Down Syndrome Day called “How do you see me?” that starred actress Olivia Wilde.

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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