Inclusion Desk

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.

Disability rights advocates say the justice system, the media, and the public are disregarding filicide in the disability community. On this edition of Need to Know we learn how the homicides of those with disabilities, at the hands of a relative, are going under the radar.

Also on the show, creating a space for women of color in the arts to gain visibility and power. A look at the inequities that exist in the Rochester arts scene and how one group intends to change that.

New York Association on Independent Living

A task force in New York has released a report recommending ways ride-hailing services could improve access for people with wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

When legislation was authorized allowing Uber and Lyft to operate statewide, it included the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force to improve the services for people with disabilities.


Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf is receiving a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

It will use the grant to transform its DeafTEC Technical Education Center for deaf and hard-of-hearing students program into a resource center with a goal of placing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in highly skilled jobs in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The deaf and hard-of-hearing are underrepresented in those fields, according to NTID president Gerry Buckley.