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.

Hélène Biandudi Hofer | WXXI News

Is so-called “helicopter parenting” ruining youth sports? On this edition of Need to Know, we examine how some say the joy for the game is being impacted by parent outbursts and how this issue is resulting in some kids dropping out of sports altogether.

Also on the show, we get an inside look at a sport that makes it possible for blind and visually impaired fans of baseball to become players. It is unique and you have a chance to check out the world series of this sport right now in Rochester.

And the latest installment in our American Graduate Champions series. Meet the young founders of a summer academy for boys. The mission: to help students create their own economy through reading and writing.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

It's the 39th annual Beep Baseball World Series, but this is Rochester's first year with a team.

In an Upstate versus Downstate match against the Long Island Bombers, you can feel the new team's growing pains. It isn't until the top of the fourth that the Rochester Red Wings get their first out in the field, but the payoff is worth the wait.

Bombers Batter Nick "Pizza Slice" Pasquale hits one to left field.  Red Wings Outfielder Jessica Smith lunges toward the beeping ball, clasps it, and holds it high over her head.


Both benches erupt in applause.

Prepping Those with Disabilities for Competitive Jobs

Jul 28, 2015

The Arc of Monroe, in conjunction with several other partners, is providing new employment opportunities for those with developmental disabilities.

Through Project SEARCH, nine people are now unpaid interns at area hotels.

But Arc of Monroe CEO Barbara Wale says the goal of the program is to train and educate people with disabilities for competitive employment.

"We're really very excited to be able to work with our partners and excited for people with developmental disabilities to truly show the community they have skills, talent and abilities."


Special Olympics announced Saturday that it has received its largest single private gift in the organization's 47-year history from the Golisano Foundation.


The Golisano Foundation will be on hand for the start of the  Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games on Saturday, with the focus on the health of those with intellectual disabilities.

Ann Costello is Director of the Foundation.

She says  they'll be focusing on delivering health care screenings for thousands of athletes, many of them from developing countries who are seeing a medical professional for the first time.

Costello says others who have conditions that need to be treated will receive the care that they need.


A new study suggests that the increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism is due, in least in part, to the way that diagnosis is defined. 

The number of U.S. children enrolled in special education programs due to an autism diagnosis more than tripled between 2000 and 2010. 

A new study from Penn State University says that may be because educators traded one diagnosis for another. 

Dr. Susan Hyman, an autism expert at UR Medicine, says this is not a matter of semantics. The right diagnosis means a child will get the best treatment and services. 

The Rochester Rotary is dedicating a special new facility at its Sunshine Campus in Rush tonight for children who have disabilities and autism.

The Gizzi Family Sensory Center will provide an escape for kids who may find the sights and sounds of camp over-stimulating.

Tracy Dreisbach, the Rotary's executive director, says the 2,700 square foot center has soothing music and lighting and various features and activities such as climbers and ball crawls that are calming to the senses.      

On this edition of Healthy Friday, we talk to an athlete and an ambassador headed to the Special Olympics World Games. We'll also learn about New York State's representation at the LA 2015 Games. This portion of the show is part of our Move to Include initiative.

Then, we find out why there's a delay in the FDA rules about calorie counts on menus. Diana Fernandez of the University of Rochester Medical Center will give us an explanation.

ADA Legacy Bus Tour-Facebook - Strong Musem

This weekend, Rochester is a stop on a national tour marking the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The landmark legislation was enacted on July 26, 1990. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

On Saturday, the ADA Legacy Bus tour makes some stops in Rochester. 

It's a traveling exhibit rolling across the country to create awareness and celebrate the work of disability rights advocates.

Rochester Rotary

More than 2,500 local children and young adults with disabilities have a new place to explore at the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush.

The camp has unveiled its fully accessible wooden tree house - the first of its kind in the Finger Lakes region.

Rotary president Tracy Armstrong said it was designed to give kids with physical disabilities the same kind of childhood memories other kids have.

"From the point when the get on the ramp to the tree house and come out onto the other side, they're actually 22 feet above the ground," Armstrong said.