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.

Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation will be honored next month with The Arc's inaugural Catalyst Awards that will be presented during The Arc's national convention in Indianapolis on October 3. 

Tom Dooley / WXXI

Before Madeline Stuart's modeling career took off, years ago when she was still a baby, her mother Roseanne says she felt really isolated.

"I didn't have any friends with disabilities. There was no one in my family that had children with disabilities. It was just her and I. And there was no information, or the information out there was quite negative."

Temple Grandin, renowned for her work in animal husbandry and in the autism community, is coming to the Finger Lakes this week. We'll talk briefly with her about her career and her desire to see teachers more engaged with how to connect to children with autism. Then we'll talk more broadly about autism, resources, and reaching kids. Our guests:

Cheryl Coppola, Vice President of Foundation and Development for CP Rochester

Lynn D'Amico, Vice President of Children's Services

Katie McGowen, Autism Coordinator

Mary Kelly, Associate Professor of Education at Hobart & William Smith

Diana Baker, Assistant Professor of Education at Hobart & William Smith

The Eastman Institute for Oral Health has been awarded $3.5 million. Sean McLaren is the Resident Director of Pediatric Dentistry at the institute. He says the money will be used to establish a special training program to bridge a critical gap between specialists.

On the one hand, pediatricians that deal with kids with developmental and intellectual disabilities are particularly good with behavior management. But as their patients get older, and their permanent teeth grow in, they have more advanced dental health needs that maybe pediatricians can't address.

WATCH: Accessibility Issues For Individuals With Disabilities & The Upstate Latino Summit

Sep 10, 2015

It’s something many of us take for granted - easily getting around in the physical world. Access to everything from sidewalks and stairs to public transportation and local businesses can pose several barriers for individuals with disabilities. On this edition of Need to Know, host Hélène Biandudi Hofer examines these challenges for local residents and how the City of Rochester is addressing them.


It’s 8 o’clock on a Wednesday morning and a paratransit service vehicle pulls up to the front door. This is how Jensen Caraballo, a wheelchair user, gets to work and just about anywhere, outside of his apartment building. Depending on the day, or the driver, he will either make it on time or have some explaining to do.

The 24-year-old was born with spinal muscular atrophy, type 2. As a teenager his family started having a more difficult time meeting his needs. He often got sick, and he was losing weight. His doctors thought taking him out of the home would be best. At just 15 years old, Caraballo was forced to live in a nursing home.

"I finally moved in, went into my room, and I had just a box, that was it. And they kept saying this is your new home.”

A local  agency that helps victims of domestic violence says a federal grant will help it serve a part of the Rochester population that may not be getting all of the assistance it needs.

The Willow Domestic Violence Center, previously known as Alternatives for Battered Women, is getting a $425,000 federal grant to help serve those who are deaf or hard of hearing and who are also victims of domestic violence.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter announced the grant, noting that on a per capita basis, Rochester is home to the nation's largest deaf population.

Sasha-Ann Simons | WXXI News/Innovation Trail

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

The elections are upon us and while Boards of Elections are installing technology in polling places to enable people with disabilities to vote, the enrollment amongst that community is still very low. The Center for Disability Rights is out to change that with the New York Disability Vote Network

Then we'll sit down with the CEO of Columbia Care and hear about the business model for the medical marijuana company that is housed at Eastman Business Park.

Seven years ago, New York state implemented new accessible voting systems in the election process. But the Rochester-based Center for Disability Rights remains concerned at the low number of people with disabilities making their way to the polls.

The Ballot Marking Devices were introduced at each polling place. These machines provide increased opportunities for individuals with disabilities to vote privately and independently through the use of interfaces triggered by sound and touch.