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Inclusion Desk

The Inclusion Desk is a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about inclusion. The Inclusion Desk grew from the Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

This is Deaf Awareness Week, a time that is set aside worldwide each year to increase public awareness of deaf issues, people and culture.

Officials raised the International Deaf Awareness Flag outside City Hall in Rochester on Monday, and among those speaking was the Chairperson of Deaf Awareness Week locally, Fred Beam.

Through an interpreter, he talked about the need to educate hearing people about the capabilities of those who are deaf.

I can feel the warmth from the wood-burning oven just over my shoulder and catch myself intermittently gazing off into a heat-induced trance from the blaze.

Despite the place feeling crowded (probably another reason for the heat), it's eerily quiet inside: My table of five occasionally lowers our voices as if we were in the library. But a library this is not: Mozzeria is one of the most talked-about pizzerias in the heart of a vibrant San Francisco neighborhood, where wait times on Saturday nights can extend as long as two hours.

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.

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!"

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.

The tragic death of a city teen is causing a community to rethink how it assists families with autism. On this edition of Need to Know we learn about the work to bring support and crisis services to those in need.

Also on the show, it’s known as one of the least diverse professions in our nation. We’ll hear about efforts to diversify the local legal field.

And from a distance, her pieces look like landscape paintings. Up close, something else jumps out at you. Don’t miss the work of artist Victoria Connors.

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