WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

dutchessny.gov

ThinkDifferently is an initiative started by Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro to change the way individuals, businesses and organizations relate to people of all abilities in their community.

Molinaro was in Rochester Wednesday, meeting with Senator Rich Funke, as well as a number of community organizers to talk about ways to be more inclusive to people with disabilities.

Funke said we have great awareness here, but can always do more.

Malinda Ruit/WXXI News

Sheltered workshops, where many people with disabilities go to work, have been around for decades.

But they’re controversial for a few reasons: They’re usually segregated, and most workers earn less than minimum wage because they’re paid based on how many things they produce.

Sheltered workshops are changing now, though. Some are being phased out, and some are integrating into more traditional businesses — whether people who are working in them like it or not.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

James Carmody never had any doubt that he would go to college. He loved learning, he worked hard and he was excited to make a positive impact on the world.

People have been asking about the name of this podcast.

Reporter Karen Shakerdge talked to lots of people for this series; listen to how some of them describe what "Exited" means.

Also, stay tuned afterward for a preview of the third episode.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A Rochester tradition continues this year at Holy Childhood and their new Special Touch Bakery.

Over 2,400 pies are being baked for the Thanksgiving holiday at Special Touch this week. The facility’s primary mission is to provide training and employment for people in our community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

With pies stacked taller than my head, Director of Bakery Operations Joe Perdicho showed me around the bakery floor, which has been open for about a month now. He says there has been a lot of positive energy coming from the community.

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI News

Going to college can be a key experience in a young person's life, leading to friendships, personal growth, a degree — and, of course, future employment.

The number of college-based programs for students with intellectual disabilities is growing across the country, and they often provide many of those benefits — except for a traditional degree. In the second episode of Exited, meet three young people as they leave college experiences for the real world.

We discuss a difficult, often grim, but vital issue this hour: when people with disabilities are murdered by their caregivers or family members. According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, more than 400 people with a disability were murdered by a family member or caregiver in the last five years. In court, perpetrators often receive lighter sentences, and when these crimes are covered in the media, they are frequently described as "mercy killings."

Disability rights advocates are calling for change. They say when the justice system and the media handle murders of this nature in these ways, they dehumanize victims. We discuss the impact on the disability community with our guests:

Karen Shakerdge/WXXI News

In the first episode of Exited, explore an early factor in transition – graduation tracks – through the experience of 17-year-old Nate, a student who doesn’t quite fit on any one track.

High school plays a huge part in determining what happens next in a young person's life. And for students like Nate, it can get even more complicated.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

  

The benefits of music on individuals with autism are widely known. Improved focus, advances in speech and language, and better motor skills. But sometimes it’s about the growth that you can’t quantify in numbers.

On a Tuesday night in a sleepy plaza in Penfield, the Music Education Center is buzzing. Kids are in the waiting room, parents are catching up and students are practicing anything from trombone to piano.

Noah Svokos is a curly haired 13 year old who has been taking piano lessons for 5 years at the center.

Exited: The team

Oct 30, 2017
Malinda Ruit/WXXI News

Karen Shakerdge, reporter and producer:  Karen Shakerdge covers health for WXXI News. She has spent the past decade asking people questions about their lives, as a documentary film producer, oral historian and now radio reporter.

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