Festival of Inclusion featured activities and information for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities
An event at Nazareth College over the weekend focused on fun, games and education for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Festival of Inclusion, organized with the help of the Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics and Best Buddies was held Saturday at the Golisano Training Center at Nazareth.
Lindsay Jewett is an official with Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to helping coordinate volunteers and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Jewett has a 3-year-old son who has intellectual and developmental disabilities, so events like these have a special meaning for her.
“For us, it was really important to give people the ability to see what other resources are out there, a lot of times our families feel very siloed,” said Jewett. “They don’t know what services are even out there for their families. So, to put everyone in one space on one day, to be able to meet all those different places, it's so helpful."
Erica Dayton, Grants Manager at the Golisano Foundation said the mission of the foundation is to “provide opportunities and advancement of choice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” She noted that more than 60 agencies were represented at the weekend festival, “to be able to create those choices for individuals.”
Among those involved in demonstrating products and services at the festival was Dr. William Bayer, the creator of MediTeddi, which is a stuffed bear that acts as an electronic health care coach, designed to encourage a person to take their prescribed medication.
“We work with children with different disabilities and adults,” Bayer said. “People with autism often also have depression for which they need to take medicine or other medical challenges. They have many more medical challenges than people without autism. So, we felt that in this community, it’s very important for people to take their medicine.”
Saturday’s events also included a variety of sports and fitness activities, games and prizes.
This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.