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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.

Editor's Note: If you're a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at tech@npr.org.

If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he'll say: "How will I feed Red?"

Red is actually white. He's a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: "Welcome to Walmart!"

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With temperatures finally headed back above freezing, this might be a good time for homeowners to clear sidewalks of ice and snow.

Ericka Jones is an advocate for the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester. She uses a wheelchair to get around. She says this winter has been tough on her and a lot of other people with disabilities.

“Honestly it really only takes about an inch of snow for me to get stuck,” Jones said. “And that’s happened at least once or twice this winter.”

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

For kids with autism or other sensory processing disorders, going to loud, crowded places like the Strong Museum can be overwhelming. That’s why the museum started Sensory-Friendly Sundays, making accommodations so all children can enjoy a comfortable visit.

Sensory-Friendly Sunday was a one-off event in 2018. But Noelle McElrath-Hart, spokesperson for The Strong, said they had so much positive feedback, they’re planning a couple this year.

World champion ski racer, Lindsey Vonn, has said: “I always channeled what I felt emotionally into skiing - my insecurities, my anger, my disappointment. Skiing was always my outlet and it worked.” Snow sports have long been hailed for their therapeutic benefits. Benefits available to all people of all different abilities. For decades, a local program has been making such benefits an option by offering adaptive sporting opportunities to individuals with disabilities. We learn more about SportsNet and the work to make access to sports available to all.

WATCH: How to eliminate barriers to care for those with disabilities

Jan 20, 2019

Going in for a mammogram, learning how to keep your cholesterol in check, and understanding your blood pressure all represent basic health care. And yet, what might be called “basic” and “easily accessible” are anything but for some individuals with disabilities. There are a number of gaps and barriers to healthcare impacting the long term health of some in the Rochester community. On this edition of Need to Know, we make these disparities known plus discuss measures to eliminate barriers to care.

Honey Meconi brings music history to life.  

In her new book, Hildegard of Bingen, Meconi offers fresh insight into one of the most creative composers of her time, Hildegard, a German writer and mystic who lived the town of Bingen on the Rhine River.  In the twelfth century, she produced music, theological books, medical texts, and paintings.  

Marty Kaufman and Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

 

Sarah Latchney is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She studies environmental toxicology. She’s also deaf.

Latchney learned early on that deaf students have to work exceptionally hard to get the same recognition as their colleagues who can hear.  

WATCH: Dialogue on Disability edition of Need to Know

Jan 17, 2019

Adults with disabilities are four times more likely to report their health to be “fair” or “poor” compared to those with no disabilities. On this Dialogue on Disability edition of Need to Know we learn why this is happening and what’s needed to eliminate barriers to care.

Also on the show, how skiing without limits is changing the way some in our community view themselves and their self-worth.

And, the world of dance grieves a beloved talent who strived to make dance accessible to everyone.

Our Dialogue on Disability Week continues with a conversation about employment discrimination for people with disabilities. “The Good Place” star Jameela Jamil recently turned down a role to play a deaf woman, saying the role should go to a deaf actress instead. Jamil is one of several Hollywood stars speaking out about the need for more inclusion and representation of people with disabilities in the media and in the workplace.

In Rochester, a report released last year revealed that poverty and unemployment are disproportionately affecting people with disabilities. This hour, our guests discuss these employment disparities, discrimination in the workforce, and their ideas for how to create a more inclusive society. In studio:

We continue our Dialogue on Disability Week with an update on the state of early intervention (EI) services in Monroe County. In early December, county officials announced a temporary solution to what some local providers called a brewing crisis in EI services. A shortage in providers and funding would have led to about 1,200 children being waitlisted for programs, but the county has since allocated six Department of Health employees to coordinate intake services. Parents and providers say more support is needed.

This hour, we look at the current state of early intervention programs and discuss how they benefit children in need. In studio:

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