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Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon brought her campaign to Rochester on Sunday, specifically to focus on the needs of the disability community.

Nixon met with a variety of  supporters, including those active in the disability community locally during her campaign stop at Ontario Beach Park.

The actress and activist who is hoping to face Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in a September primary keyed in on several points important to those with disabilities, including low wages for home health care aides.

Lifetime Assistance

Lifetime Assistance's annual fundraiser brought people out to the airport runway in Rochester on Saturday.

The Airport Games are the largest fundraiser for the organization that helped adults and children with developmental disabilities.

Jamie Rada is the Director of Development at the nonprofit.

"Lifetime Assistance I think is more than just a part of the community; the community has become a part of us, and really embrace Lifetime and what we stand for."

The Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series is underway. It features films and performances that address the stigma attached to mental illness and behavior disorders, while providing messages of hope.

One of the films in this year's lineup is the documentary, Deej; it tells the story of David James Savarese, a non-speaking young man with autism. Savarese joins us in studio to share his remarkable journey and the challenges he has overcome. Plus, we get a look at what's next in the series. Our guests: 

  • Dr. Larry Guttmacher, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the Reel Mind Film series
  • David James Savarese, poet, co-producer of Deej, and advocate for people with autism 
  • Dr. Lori Jeanne Peloquin, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Lynne Fisher, education program administrator for NAMI-Rochester

Andrea Francis

A 24-hour helpline for Rochester-area families with children on the autism spectrum will be place by July 1. It's one of the responses advocates say is needed after the death of Trevyan Rowe.

The 14-year-old, whose family said he had autism, died in the Genesee River after walking away from School 12 in March.

“As the parent of children with autism, that story really hit home hard,” said Andrea Francis of Farmington. “I think the community is still shaken up over it.”

arcmonroe.org

The Arc of Monroe County is accepting applications for its Adult Project SEARCH program, which prepares adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for employment.

Kayt Davidson is director of transition services with Job Path at the Arc of Monroe.

She says the program focuses on employment readiness.

Provided

Editor's note: Parents are outraged at the apparent mismanagement of special education in the Rochester City School District. In the second of two stories about the district's special education program, the recent budget proposal aims to address some of parents' concerns, but some worry it doesn't go far enough.

In a lot of ways, this year’s school budget is like any other year. Almost $1 billion spread out across 53 schools and almost 30,000 kids. Positions added, positions cut, a deficit that needs balancing.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Editor's note: The tragic death of a Rochester School District special education student who wandered away from his school unnoticed stunned and outraged the community. In the first of two stories about the district's special education program, parents of students with disabilities are calling for changes.

The Rev. Marilyn Cunningham is pastor of Graves Memorial CME Church in Rochester. She’s also a mother and grandmother.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

Staff at the Mary Cariola Children’s Center school say emergencies can be particularly scary for young people with autism. The center specializes in working with young people who have disabilities and on Thursday, teacher Denina Williams Goings organized a Sensory Friendly First Responders Event to help the students get more comfortable with emergency responders and their equipment. 

The Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester has received a significant grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.

Just over $487,000 will go towards the construction and operation of their inclusive complex in Webster, which makes sports more accessible for children with disabilities.

President of the Board of Directors for Challenger Miracle Field, Ron Kampff says part of that money will go towards phase two of the field’s buildout.

AutismUp.org

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. A local advocate says most people are aware of the condition, with one in 68 children getting the diagnosis.

But Rachel Rosner, director of education for AutismUp, says there's still room for improvement on the acceptance part.

Rosner hopes people can move closer to understanding and respecting the rights of those on the autism spectrum to live and thrive in their communities.

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