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.

Authors Judy Jonas and Marla Berkowitz share what they call pioneering work with Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer. Their book, Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation, researches the unique dynamic between adult deaf and hearing siblings. This segment is the conclusion of a two-part interview on Need to Know. Jonas and Berkowitz explain how blending deaf culture and the hearing world takes an entire family unit – as does a commitment by all family members to learn how to sign.


Many families with children with autism describe leaving high school as a ‘falling off a cliff’ - because of the lack of services when they become adults. Add to that, a complicated and intimidating job hunt. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, a new, dedicated job fair in Rochester, New York may be the first step to help that community find employment.

We're talking about The Opportunity Project, a documentary film series that focuses on inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. The films will screen on this coming Monday, May 4, at The Little Theatre. Our guests:

  • Martha Mock, director of the Institute for Innovative Transition and associate professor at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education
  • Cori Piels, a Monroe Community College (MCC) alumna and a subject of The Opportunity Project
  • Meg Grigal, co-director of Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston

Unified Basketball in Greece

Apr 30, 2015

Unified Sports is in Monroe County, and Thursday the Greece Unified Basketball team plays its first game against Churchville-Chili

The co-ed team is comprised of students from Greece Athena and Olympia with and without intellectual disabilities.

Coach Sara Murphy says it's set up just like any other JV or varsity game, and it's a very positive experience for the kids involved.

Richard Knox/NPR

A promising new study, conducted partly in Rochester, may give hope to the parents of autistic children.

The research looked at ways a training program could help parents and other caregivers reduce problem behaviors in kids on the autism spectrum.

Local lead researcher Tristam Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester says the 24-week course resulted in a more than 47-percent reduction in tantrums, aggression and self-injury in children between the ages of 3 and 6.

We preview Imagine RIT Innovation and Creativity Festival. 2015 marks the eighth year for Imagine, with an annual draw of around 30,000 visitors. In studio:

Barry Culhane, chairman of the event
David Amata, building a game to teach young children how to read
Katie Tigue, associate producer of a game called Splattershmup
Dan Phillips, working with students on a dual-purpose wheelchair-platform swing
Erik Lydick, working on a robotic seeing-eye dog
Adam Podolec, working on a soft-ankle foot orthotic to help people with dropped foot
Jonathon Greene, working on a device to allow young children with disabilities to move independently


New York State has established regional task forces in an effort to help crime victims.

Governor Cuomo’s office announced that the four countywide task forces will enhance the way that law enforcement, medical personnel and social services respond to criminal cases involving people with disabilities and special needs who have been victimized.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Rochester.

Rochester's autism support organization AutismUp is collaborating with Darkness to Light.

Darkness to Light, or D2L, has already partnered with multiple organizations throughout Monroe County, like Bivona Child Advocacy Center, to bring child sexual abuse prevention training to parents and people who work with children.

Autism Awareness Month

Apr 2, 2015
Alex Crichton

Autism spectrum disorder affects about 1 in 68 children now, but health officials are emphasizing that while there's no one known cause, it can be diagnosed and treated.

Dr. Susan Hyman is professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital and Division Chief of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

She and staff members were answering questions about autism at an information table set up at the hospital.

Dr. Hyman says they've been working hard to make parents, teachers and other health care professionals aware of the warning signs.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO

It takes several tries for the medical transport van to back up the snow-covered driveway and onto the frozen front yard. The tires spin in the snow, which crunches in the cold air. The van has to get close enough for the ramp that slides out the back to bridge the gap from the van to the porch, rising over the three steps to the door.