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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.

freeimages.com/ Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Imagine you’re in a busy hospital to be treated for COVID-19. The medical staff is overwhelmed, and things are happening quickly.

You are deaf or hard of hearing, there is no interpreter on hand, and your nurse or doctor is wearing a mask, so you can’t read their lips.

“You don’t want to be nodding your head about whether or not you have any allergies or something like that when you really don’t understand. You don’t want to be playing that guessing game,” said Gerard Buckley, president of RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

WXXI News and Step by Step Developmental Services

 

India Hedman’s daughter, Kaia, is sleeping. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and the 14-month-old is down for a nap.

Hedman picks her up out of her crib. Kaia’s head lolls against her mom’s shoulder. Her eyes stay closed.

“When she sleeps, she sleeps,” Hedman said.

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend specific autism screenings during well visits when children are 18 month and 24 months of age. Experts say doctors can gauge social milestones during those visits; those milestones could provide early signs of autism.

This hour, we discuss the new guidelines, and we talk about how to support children and young adults with developmental disabilities who are now at home and unable to access programs during the pandemic. Our guests:

  • Dr. Susan Hyman, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong
  • Sarah Milko, executive director of AutismUp
  • Rachel Rosner, director of education and support services for AutismUp

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

Gabriel Ponte-Fleary/RIT

According to a national registry, only 13 percent of the more than 10,000 sign-language interpreters in the U.S. identify as people of color.

RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is trying to change that.

About a year ago, NTID established a two-year preceptorship called the Randleman Program, which specifically addresses the need for diversity in the interpreting field. 

The program was named for Valerie Randleman, the first black interpreter in RIT's Department of Access Services.

April Franklin

Over the weekend, The Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics, and Best Buddies hosted the first-ever Festival of Inclusion at Nazareth College.

Hundreds of families attended the event to kick off this year's regional Spread the Word Inclusion campaign.

The first-ever Festival of Inclusion kicks off on Sunday. The community-based event organized by the Golisano Foundation, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics will promote equality and respect, and include activities accessible to people of all different abilities.

Our guests this hour preview the festival and discuss their ideas for how to create a more inclusive community. Our guests:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

specialolympics-ny.org/

About 1,000 athletes and coaches from around the state are in Rochester this weekend for the 50th Special Olympics New York Winter Games.

The participants have outplayed more than 30,000 of their peers to earn a shot at an Olympic gold medal in six winter sports, according to Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York.

“They have won their regional competitions,” she said. “They’ve trained hard and this is their statewide finals.  So they’re excited, we’re excited there’s going to be some great competitions.

Acclaimed Irish tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan is coming to Rochester to speak and sing at two events. (Update: These events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.) Tynan was born with phocomelia, a lower limb disability that caused both of his legs to be underdeveloped. At the age of 20, both of Tynan’s legs were amputated after a car accident. Since that time, he has used prosthetic legs and won Paralympic medals in track and field. He’s also a physician specializing in orthopedic sports injuries and has worked in the prosthetics industry.

This hour, Tynan joins us to discuss his life and work, his career with the Irish Tenors, and more. We also talk with locals being recognized for their work promoting inclusion. Our guests:

sixflags.com/darienlake

Six Flags Darien Lake, and the other 25 Six Flags parks nationwide, has earned a "Certified Autism Center" designation, the first ever family of parks to get that classification.

The designation comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, which meets the credentialing needs of professionals who work with individuals with special needs and cognitive disorders.

Autism Nature Trail

Five years ago, a retired school administrator from Batavia named Loren Penman had a conversation with her neighbor. What she didn’t know then is that talk would inspire the next phase of her life. 

Penman said her neighbor was hoping that her grandson Ali, who lives in Albany, could get back to Letchworth State Park soon. She told Penman that Ali was a different kid inside the park.

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