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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.

Annette Dragon Photography

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Tuesday for a new playground for children with disabilities at the Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus in Rush.

“Shirley's Playland” will be a fully accessible playground, something the campus hasn't had in the past, according to Patrick Stack, Rochester Rotary president.

“There's tons of other activities, but the accessibility to things like swings and teeter-totters and the like, we just did not have that capability until now," he said.

The town of Irondequoit is adopting a proclamation that will declare that it is an "Autism Friendly Community."

Town Supervisor Dave Seeley says Irondequoit already has implemented training for the police department and other town operations to be more inclusive and supportive, and the formalizing of that policy comes during the annual recognition of April as National Autism Awareness Month.

He said training for police officers helps them to be more supportive when they have interactions with someone who is on the autism spectrum.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Autism Council of Rochester’s fourth annual job and career fair took place Tuesday at the Memorial Art Gallery. 

Organizers said the event is important, given the nearly 80% rate of unemployment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Lawana Jones, founder and executive director of the Autism Council, said that’s a waste of talent.

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The Rochester Red Wings are hosting their second annual Autism Awareness Day at Frontier Field on Saturday. 

There will be some changes at the ballpark to create an environment that's more welcoming for people who have autism.

Volume levels will be lowered throughout the entire stadium, and in-game production using sound effects and video board displays will be kept to a minimum.  Fans will also be asked to use blue pom-poms instead of noisemakers. 

We preview a historic production of the August Wilson play, “Fences,” in Rochester. Members of the cast and crew of NTID’s production join us to discuss the first ever Deaf, black performance of “Fences,” which will be accessible to both Deaf and hearing audiences.

WXXI News streamed this conversation on Facebook Live with captions. To view the video, click here. In studio:

  • Aceyon Owens, speaker for the role of Troy
  • Marqwan Holmes, signer for the role of Troy
  • Malik Paris, signer for the role of Lyons
  • Giigii Gano, speaker for the role of Rose
  • Luane Haggerty, director of “Fences” and interpreter
  • Danica Zielinski, interpreter

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

The Monroe County Legislature on Tuesday night approved legislation proposed by County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo to set new reimbursement rates for preschool special education providers.

Under the new contracts, the reimbursement rate has increased 15%, which is the first local rate hike in a decade.

Preschool special education is a state-mandated program that provides services to special needs children between the ages of 3 and 5 years of age.

Using boxing to help children of all abilities

Apr 8, 2019
April Franklin / WXXI News

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, a local parent organization and a boxing gym teamed up on Sunday for an event called Knocking Out Autism.

Parents United in Love is a subcommittee of Citizen Action of New York. The group is led by parents of special needs children to provide activities for children of all abilities.

Parents United in Love member Vialma Ramos originally contacted Nasty Knuckles boxing gym to throw a private celebration to support her son, who is on the autism spectrum.

James Brown WXXI

A few lawyers from New York City are suing businesses around the state because the companies’ websites are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But leaders from the Center for Disability Rights, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and local law firm Nixon Peabody question whether these lawyers care about accessibility -- or big settlements.

WATCH: Finding justice for victims of filicide

Mar 31, 2019

“If it bleeds, it leads” is a mantra that can describe the types of stories covered by media outlets. Murders, fires, and robberies, are generally top stories for some local news outlets. But not the unfathomable crime of filicide - particularly, in the disability community. Filicide refers to the murder of one’s own child or relative. In the past five years, it’s been documented that more than 650 people with disabilities in the US have been murdered by a family member, relative, or caregiver. The actual number of victims is believed to be much larger than that. We examine this issue and how local advocates are seeking justice for disabled victims of filicide.

Denise Young / WXXI News

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday morning for the Golisano Autism Center and the University of Rochester’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Building.

The new buildings will serve as a one-stop shop for families of children with autism, allowing them to access all the services they need under one roof. It also will provide pediatric mental health services for outpatient care in the community.

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