People with Down syndrome have to deal with a lot of misconceptions about what they can and can't do. Down is a genetic condition that causes developmental delays and intellectual disability, and conventional wisdom has it that those afflicted by it can't succeed at complex tasks, form lasting relationships, do well in sports, or overcome other kinds of challenges.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is busting that stereotype. The group recently teamed up with several people who have Down to create a video that proves all of these things wrong. The video, titled "No Limitations," features men and women who are achieving their dreams, just like everyone else.
Jon Stoklosa, a 37-year-old man in the video, was told he could never be a weightlifter, according to Today. Down syndrome causes poor muscle tone, which can make it harder to do well in sports. Stoklosa, however, refused to give up.
He worked hard and gave it his all, and now he can bench an impressive 405 pounds. He competes in the Special Oylmpics as well as in mainstream competitions, according to Today.
“I work hard and focus,” Stoklosa, who's from Delaware, told Today. “I am showing people that I can do it.”
Collette DiVitto, also featured in the video, works hard in a different way. She's defying the misconception that people with Down syndrome can't have careers by actually owning her own business. She's the owner of Collettey's, a bakery that delivers cookies to people across the country.
“I love to bake. I had been taking baking classes since I moved to Boston. I tried to get a job and they said I was not a good fit,” DiVitto, 26, told Today. “I had to open a cookie company to also create more jobs for people with disabilities.”
Stoklosa, DiVitto, and the others in the video are showing the world those who live with Down syndrome can accomplish whatever they set their mind to, smashing stereotypes and reframing what the word "disability" really means.