WXXI AM News

Move to Include

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

You may have seen pictures of two local men go viral: a barber giving a man a haircut on the sidewalk because the shop wasn’t accessible by wheelchair.

But since the story went national, it’s raised questions about how people with disabilities are covered in the media.

Devin Hamilton is 30 years old. He's an engineer working in Webster, and he has cerebral palsy. He says one day, he decided to get a haircut at Joe's Upscale Barbershop, a few blocks from where he works. But when he rode his wheelchair over there, he didn't see a ramp.

We're joined by former Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who authored the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Research shows that among similarly sized cities, Rochester is the single worst in the country when it comes to employment and poverty for people with disabilities. 

Harkin is the keynote speaker for the upcoming ROC EmployABILITY conference, which is focused on increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty among people with disabilities. We preview that conference. In studio:

INTELLIGENT LIVES

In Rochester, the graduation rate for students with disabilities is 22 percent* compared to 40 percent nationally.  The median individual earnings for those with disabilities is $14,450. This is $4,000 below the national median.  That means Rochester’s disabled community is the poorest in the nation when compared to the 75 largest metropolitan areas.

Despite the systemic challenges of educational segregation and stereotypes, adults with intellectual disabilities are challenging the perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce.

Project SEARCH

Young adults with disabilities now have a new internship opportunity to join in Rochester.

Two organizations, Jewish Senior Life and Heritage Christian Services will offer Project SEARCH - a nationally recognized work prep program for people 18 to 35 who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Mike King is the president and CEO of Jewish Senior Life and says as a parent of an individual with disabilities, this age can be a scary time.

An organization which tries to break down barriers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Several hundred people gathered Friday night at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center to mark the accomplishments of Lifetime Assistance and the staff and partners of that organization which began four decades ago in the Brockport area.

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.

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