Inclusion Desk

The New York State Summer  Games for the Special Olympics held on Friday and Saturday features free health screenings, as those types of activities have done all over the world. But there's a new program organizers have been trying out for the Special Olympics' athletes.

It's called Strong Minds, and it teaches the participants techniques they can use so that they don't get too stressed out.

Special Olympics at The College at Brockport

Jun 10, 2016

Around 1800 athletes and coaches are at the College at Brockport this weekend for the Special Olympics New York 2016 Summer Games.

Opening ceremonies tonight feature a keynote address by Allison Jones, who was born without a right femur, and is missing her right leg above the knee. 

She's a Paralympian in both cycling and alpine skiing.

Kathleen Maggi of New York City is a competitor in the summer games.

She's a swimmer competing in the 20 lap backstroke.

Maggi says she trains hard, but it's worth it.

Nazareth College has been awarded a federal grant of more than a million dollars to improve services for children with autism.

The U.S.  Department of Education  has awarded nearly $1.2 million to Nazareth College to help improve educational and therapeutic services and results for children with autism.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Some New York lawmakers want to mandate that complaints about possible abuse or neglect of disabled or mentally ill people in state care be made first to 911 and local prosecutors.

Currently, such complaints are routed directly to New York's Justice Center, the agency set up three years ago to protect the more than 1 million people in state care.

WXXI News/Beth Adams

A Rochester filmmaker is trying to pave the way for people with disabilities to be portrayed in a less stereotypical way in films and on TV.

Adrian Esposito has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He's currently producing a film called "Diffability Hollywood".  Listen to an interview with Adrian by clicking on the LISTEN link above.

He will be taking part in a panel discussion this coming Tuesday night, May 31, at the Reel Mind Film series at the Cinema Theater after the 7 p.m. showing of the film "Planet Asperger".   

Flaum Management Company CEO David Flaum and his family have established a lifetime endowment to benefit children with disabilities who attend Rochester Rotary Sunshine Campus.

The Bob Witmer Campership Fund will provide a free summer camp experience for one child per year. The endowment is named in honor of Robert Witmer Jr., senior counsel at Nixon Peabody. He is a past president for the Rochester Rotary Club.

Flaum says he has seen the camp firsthand and called it a 'hidden gem,'  and also wanted to honor Witmer for his contributions to the community.

A local organization serving people with Autism opened a new 5,000 square foot center in Webster this morning.

AutismUp executive director Sara Milko says it's designed to provide social, recreational, and fitness opportunities for people of all ages.

"We like to think of ourselves as a kind of incubator where individuals with autism can come and gain the fitness and the social skills they need and learn how to overcome their challenges, so they can go out into the community and be successful there."

The innovative thinking of Rochester Institute of Technology students was on full display at the school’s Henrietta campus during the ninth annual Imagine RIT festival on Saturday.

Thousands turned out to see the hundreds of exhibits across campus that showcased a wide variety of skills and creativity. In Clark Gymnasium, the focus was on access and inclusion technology.

ABC News correspondent John Donvan has a brand new book called In a Different Key: The Story of Autism. The book provides a tour of the history of autism -- from scandals and shame, doctors blaming parents for the conditions, to breakthroughs and success.

Donvan is coming to Rochester to be the guest speaker at AutismUp's annual gala on Saturday. The organization recently moved into a large new headquarters in Webster. Our guests:

Oak Hill is hosting the 2016 Simpson Cup, which is basically the Ryder Cup for disabled and injured veterans. Teams of 13 injured servicemen and veterans from the USA and the UK compete in this golf event every year. The event rotates host nations, raising funds for the On Course Foundation, an organization that supports the recovery of wounded, injured, and sick service personnel.

We meet the 2016 American and British captains (each wounded veterans), and we discuss broader issues related to supporting injured service members. Our guests:

  • John Simpson, founder of the Simpson Cup
  • Steve Ogletree, American captain living with depression and PTSD
  • Paul Swain, UK captain who lost an arm in a bomb blast in Afghanistan
  • Jeremy Bagley, executive director of JDRF Rochester and a 10-year veteran of the United States Army