WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

The Inclusion Desk is a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about inclusion. The Inclusion Desk grew from the Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Jerri Lynn Sparks

UPDATE: The New York State Office of People with Disabilities announced Friday that starting on July 15, 2020 in regions of the state that are in Phase Four of the reopening plan, home visits may resume for individuals living in OPWDD certified residences.

The home visits are subject to COVID-19 safety guidelines that include social distancing, face coverings, hand washing, and proper cleaning and disinfection.

The office is urging families to use caution and to limit group home residents' exposure to members of different households and public places.

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has signed legislation that will require there be an American Sign Language interpreter at all county government press conferences that are held during emergency situations.

Bello was joined Thursday by deaf and hard of hearing advocates from IGNITE Deaf Advocacy, MCDHub, Partners in Deaf Health and Rochester School for the Deaf to commemorate the approval of the local law.

University of Rochester Medical Center

The University of Rochester Medical Center’s neuroscience laboratory has received a $6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study intellectual and developmental disorders.

URMC’s Del Monte Neuroscience Institute is one of 14 institutions in the country to receive the grant and be named an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center by the NIH.

The director of URMC’s institute, John Foxe, said the grant will fund research into common developmental disorders, like autism, and much rarer conditions like Batten disease, which occurs in only about three of every 100,000 births.

The state’s ongoing fiscal crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary funding reductions for some cities and postponed planned pay raises for state workers. It’s also led to reductions to some smaller programs, including a key organization that has helped New Yorkers with intellectual disabilities navigate the pandemic. The program is slated for significant cuts this month.   

Center for Disability Rights

Monday marked the 21st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that allowed people with disabilities the right to live in their community and not be subject to unjustified isolation.

But advocates said much more must be done, especially in the age of COVID-19.

The Center for Disability Rights hosted a webinar Monday that looked at the impact of the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, and attendees discussed ways to ensure that everyone has a right to live and participate in the community.

golisanofoundation.org

The Golisano Foundation has awarded $416,000 to 11 organizations in western New York and southwest Florida in another round of grants designed to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The foundation has now issued three rounds of grants to help agencies that have urgent needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That brings the total COVID-19 response grant funding to date to $1.1 million.

Grants announced on Monday include those going to the Arc agencies in Ontario, Wayne, Genesee and Orleans counties.

Luticha André Doucette

 

When the pandemic reached Rochester, equity coordinator with the city government Luticha André Doucette says that she was concerned for her safety. Doucette has a disability and is immunocompromised.

However, amid the pandemic there was a silver lining. Doucette along with so many others began working from home. Her cats have made regular appearances on ZOOM calls. She said that while it’s comfortable, it’s also brought up frustration. 

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People with intellectual disabilities and autism who contract COVID-19 die at higher rates than the rest of the population, according to an analysis by NPR of numbers obtained from two states that collect data. They also contract the virus at a higher rate, according to research looking into group homes across the United States.

www.sunshinecampus.org

There will be no Rotary Sunshine Camp this year. Officials with the Rochester Rotary say that it was an emotional decision, but with the concerns about the coronavirus they didn’t feel it was safe to hold the summer camp in the Town of Rush as it normally does.

Tracey Dreisbach is the Executive Director for Rochester Rotary. She said it was an emotional decision to make, since so many people enjoy the camp which has a focus on providing fun for kids with disabilities.

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It’s an average day in the age of COVID-19. You wake up and get ready for work, don your face mask, and head to your job as a supermarket cashier. You’re hard of hearing, and reading lips helps you pick up what your hearing device misses. But right now, the face masks that customers wear make it difficult to discern their muffled words or know whether they’re speaking at all.

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