WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

Aira/Wegmans

Wegmans is partnering with a high-tech company to offer a new option for people who are blind or have low-vision.

The Rochester supermarket chain is working with a California-based tech company called Aira, a firm that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to remotely assist people who are blind or have low vision with a variety of tasks.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

The old Gates police substation in Westgate Plaza has sat empty for roughly a decade. But on Thursday, the Autism Council cut the ribbon for the station’s new life as the Autism Family Information and Referral Services Center.

The center is a one-stop shop for families, educators and people with autism who need help with education, employment or wellness. It doesn’t provide specific services, but staff there meet with drop-in visitors to send them where they need to go.

nysenate.gov

People with special needs will have access to new ID cards that state Sen. Pam Helming says will help them communicate with emergency responders.

The City of Rochester has adopted new, accessible construction guidelines.

Stephanie Woodward is the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester.

"It was certainly a windy road to get here, but the point is that we got here."

Woodward says the CDR has been working tirelessly with the city in order to make sure people with disabilities have access to accessible, affordable, and integrated housing in Rochester.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Luticha Doucette always knew she wanted to be a scientist, even if no one else thought she could do it.

"I was very much discouraged from going into the sciences. People would be like, 'Well, don’t you want to be a teacher?' And I would be like, yeah, teachers are great, but that’s not what my heart was in."

University of Rochester Medical Center

A local autism researcher is being remembered as a pioneer in the field whose work significantly changed the approach to autism spectrum disorder.

Tristram Smith died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 57.

“His brain was a national treasure,” said Susan Hyman, M.D., chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at URMC. “It was because of his work that families could have the hope that their children would gain skills. It really has changed how we in Rochester and nationally treat young children with autism."

Provided

Laurel Hunter spells her last name, "H-U-N-T-E-the sound a pirate makes."

She has a lisp and is the daughter of a deaf adult.

"I can’t always hear the difference between certain sounds," she says. "That means partly that I can’t hear accents and partly that I can’t say my own name!"

Schools across the country are making their classrooms more inclusive to people with disabilities by including things like appropriate desks and interpreters, but how a classroom sounds can have a big effect on who can learn in it.

Edward Steinfeld is a professor of architecture and Director for the Center of Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University at Buffalo.

The death of 14-year-old Trevyan Rowe continues to haunt the Rochester community. It was on March 11th when the teen’s body was recovered from the Genesee River. Trevyan had autism.

When he got off the school bus on the morning of March 8th to attend the RCSD’s School 12, he apparently never entered the building and wandered away. As to how this could have happened, accusations ensue. But working to find ways to ensure it doesn’t happen again has driven the work of lead partners in the Golisano Autism Center. They have developed a new plan being implemented this summer to support families with autism in crisis situations.

freeimages.com/Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Deaf individuals are up to seven times as likely as their hearing peers to have heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes.

That's according to research from RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the University of Michigan.

Professor Peter Hauser, director of NTID's Center on Cognition and Language, recently reported to a UN committee in Geneva, Switzerland about the problem.

Hauser said, through an interpreter, these health disparities are the result of knowledge gaps in the deaf community.

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