Of all the campaigns for people with Down Syndrome, this is the one that should break your heart, be remembered and create real change. It’s a very simple social experiment. Two playrooms were built and filled with toys. In one, a child with Down Syndrome was added. Children up to the age of ten were invited to choose a room to play in. The youngest children chose the room with the child. The older children did not. Children learn about difference from adults. It does not have to be.
Naked Heart Foundation explained, “As children grow up, their opinions are shaped by adults and society at large, which often encourage certain attitudes towards people with disabilities. The stigmatisation of people with mental disabilities such as Down syndrome and autism is still quite common in many countries. According to research commissioned by the Naked Heart Foundation*, the majority of people in Russia do not engage with issues faced by those with special needs – only 7% are prepared to help families raising children and young people with mental disabilities and more than 50% think that kids with Down syndrome and developmental disorders should be educated at home or in special institutions, rather than together with their typically developing peers. These attitudes are undoubtedly passed on to children at some point during childhood, thus affecting the way they behave towards their peers with special needs.” [*The study was carried out by independent research agency O+K Research in Russia in March 2018.]
The campaign name, Teach children what they’ve taught us, explains the aim of the campaign.
“Children learn by example and we can set them a positive one. Let your children play, learn and laugh with all their peers, whether special needs or typically developing, and see there is more that unites us than divides us. Let them ask questions about mental and physical disability and be prepared to speak to them about special needs without making this a difficult subject. Teach children what they’ve taught us,” stated Natalia Vodianova, founder of the Naked Heart Foundation.
The film is part of the Foundation’s wider advocacy effort to raise awareness among society in order to change attitudes towards people with mental and physical disabilities and their families.
Client: Naked Heart Foundation
Creative Agency: Marvelous
Creative Idea, Copywriter & Director: Maksim Kolyshev
Chief Creative Officer: Artem Sinyavskiy
Production Company: Grandma Production
Special thanks: Ekaterina Khrustaleva; Aleksandr Kuznetsov; GastroFerma; composer, Konstantin Maltsev; and all of the actors, parents and volunteers involved in creating the film.