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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.

NPR investigations correspondent Joe Shapiro joins us in studio. He’s in Rochester to speak at the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry Conference. We talk to him about the state of journalism, and his work covering issues that impact people with intellectual and physical disabilities. In studio:

  • Joe Shapiro, NPR investigations correspondent
  • Dr. Steve Sulkes, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong
  • Dianne Cooney Miner, associate vice president for community engagement, and dean at the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher College

This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

 

A conference focused on medical care for people with disabilities will come to Rochester this weekend.

The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry will host its annual meeting, bringing in presenters and attendees from across the country and abroad, said Stephen Sulkes, who is president of the academy and also a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

(P-A Announcer says: “Let’s welcome back to Rochester, ‘Recycleman’...(crowd cheers))

Recycleman, or as his birth certificate probably says, Ogden Whitehead, was wearing his traditional green cape and promoting, of course, recycling. He is a former employee of both the Rochester Red Wings and RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and he was among those taking part in the pre-game festivities for Deaf Culture Day. He used to lead the Frontier Field fans in cheers so it seemed fitting to bring him back for this promotion.

Gerry Buckley, president of NTID, also took part in the ceremonies and said what the Red Wings have done, including using American Sign Language to perform “Take me out to the ballgame” in a segment that was featured on ESPN this past weekend, really means a lot.

Annette Dragon Photography

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Tuesday for a new playground for children with disabilities at the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush.

“Shirley's Playland” will be a fully accessible playground, something the campus hasn't had in the past, according to Patrick Stack, Rochester Rotary president.

“There's tons of other activities, but the accessibility to things like swings and teeter-totters and the like, we just did not have that capability until now," he said.

The town of Irondequoit is adopting a proclamation that will declare that it is an "Autism Friendly Community."

Town Supervisor Dave Seeley says Irondequoit already has implemented training for the police department and other town operations to be more inclusive and supportive, and the formalizing of that policy comes during the annual recognition of April as National Autism Awareness Month.

He said training for police officers helps them to be more supportive when they have interactions with someone who is on the autism spectrum.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Autism Council of Rochester’s fourth annual job and career fair took place Tuesday at the Memorial Art Gallery. 

Organizers said the event is important, given the nearly 80% rate of unemployment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Lawana Jones, founder and executive director of the Autism Council, said that’s a waste of talent.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The Rochester Red Wings are hosting their second annual Autism Awareness Day at Frontier Field on Saturday. 

There will be some changes at the ballpark to create an environment that's more welcoming for people who have autism.

Volume levels will be lowered throughout the entire stadium, and in-game production using sound effects and video board displays will be kept to a minimum.  Fans will also be asked to use blue pom-poms instead of noisemakers. 

We preview a historic production of the August Wilson play, “Fences,” in Rochester. Members of the cast and crew of NTID’s production join us to discuss the first ever Deaf, black performance of “Fences,” which will be accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences.

WXXI News streamed this conversation on Facebook Live with captions. To view the video, click here. In studio:

  • Aceyon Owens, speaker for the role of Troy
  • Marqwan Holmes, signer for the role of Troy
  • Malik Paris, signer for the role of Lyons
  • Giigii Gano, speaker for the role of Rose
  • Luane Haggerty, director of “Fences” and interpreter
  • Danica Zielinski, interpreter

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

The Monroe County Legislature on Tuesday night approved legislation proposed by County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to set new reimbursement rates for preschool special education providers.

Under the new contracts, the reimbursement rate has increased 15%, which is the first local rate hike in a decade.

Preschool special education is a state-mandated program that provides services to special needs children between the ages of 3 and 5 years of age.

Using boxing to help children of all abilities

Apr 8, 2019
April Franklin / WXXI News

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, a local parent organization and a boxing gym teamed up on Sunday for an event called Knocking Out Autism.

Parents United in Love is a subcommittee of Citizen Action of New York. The group is led by parents of special needs children to provide activities for children of all abilities.

Parents United in Love member Vialma Ramos originally contacted Nasty Knuckles boxing gym to throw a private celebration to support her son, who is on the autism spectrum.

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