WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

On the morning of April 21, Sarah McSweeney woke up with a temperature of 103 degrees — and it kept rising. Staff at her group home worried that the woman with multiple disabilities — she couldn't walk or speak words — had contracted COVID-19. They got her into her bright pink wheelchair and hurried to the hospital, just a block down the street from the group home in Oregon City, Ore.

That afternoon, Heidi Barnett got a phone call from the doctor in the emergency room.

Accessible Adventures

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed plans for a partnership to provide recreational sports opportunities for people with disabilities in western New York.

In March, Rochester Accessible Adventures partnered with Greater Buffalo Adaptive Sports to form the Western New York Adaptive Inclusion Collaborative. The goal of the collaborative is to develop a regional adaptive and inclusive sports system.

provided by Christina Knauf and Allison Green

When most of Monroe County was designated a yellow zone on Monday over rising coronavirus cases, preschool classes for students with disabilities at CP Rochester switched to remote learning on a moment’s notice.

Allison Green’s 4-year-old daughter, Emma, was caught off guard this week when her school bus didn’t arrive.

“It led to tons of emotions this morning, lots of crying and just complete and utter meltdown over the fact of 'where's her bus?’ ” Green said Wednesday.

People living with developmental disabilities often have to overcome more challenges to cast their ballots than the average voter. As they navigate those hurdles, some Western New York advocates in the disability community are also tired of being an overlooked voting bloc.


An effort by the parents of a Gates Chili student with disabilities to allow their daughter to use a service dog has been settled eight years after that battle began.

Devyn Pereira needed the dog to help her get through the school day, but the district said her parents would need to provide a full-time dog handler.

Five years ago, the U.S. Justice Department sued on behalf of Devyn, and this week, the settlement was announced.

Devyn’s mother, Heather Burroughs, was pleased with the resolution of the long-pending case.

Willow and Deaf IGNITE announce partnership

Aug 4, 2020
deafignite.org

Two organizations that have collaborated for several years have now announced a formal partnership to strengthen the ways this community responds to domestic violence and increase access to services and programs.

Willow Center President and CEO Meaghan de Chateauview says staff from Deaf IGNITE, which advocates for Deaf domestic violence survivors, will join Willow, so now the center can offer specialized services.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Gerard Buckley still clearly remembers July 26, 1990.

On that day, he stood alongside dozens of others in the White House Rose Garden, as then-President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.

"It was really amazing," Buckley recalled. "It was everything I wish the country was today. The Republicans, the Democrats, the independents, the business community, leaders from the disability community all came together."

That day, Buckley was a young deaf man. Today, he is president of RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Until recently, Sherrodney Fulmore rode a bus to get to and from his job at Wegmans.

From his home in Rochester’s 19th Ward to the Holt Road Wegmans in Webster, the trip usually took about an hour, he said.

Fulmore rode on the Regional Transit Service’s Access buses -- the smaller shuttle-size buses that offer curb-to-curb service for people with disabilities.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Rochester area, Fulmore stopped riding the bus.

“We wanted to cut the chance of him getting sick,” said his father, Frank Fulmore.

White House Historical Association

July 26 is the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment and access to government services.

Rebecca Cokley, who served in the Obama administration and is currently the director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, recently talked to WXXI's Alex Crichton about the progress that has been made since the ADA went into effect and how much remains to be done.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Jon Seiger was 32 years old when he lost his hearing to an infection. He calls the experience “surreal.”

“Just walking through the world and breathing and not hearing your own breath all of the sudden was very odd,” he says. “And it made life feel bizarre and surreal, and I was kind of separated from the world.”

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