Move to Include

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Lifetime Assistance, the local organization that helps people with developmental disabilities live with the highest possible level of independence, has another way to provide those services.

It involves a donation from  longtime employee, Bob Hickey, who died after a battle with cancer earlier this year.

Lessons in inclusive birding at Braddock Bay Park

Oct 18, 2021
Jeremy Moule/CITY

As far as recreational activities go, basic birding seems approachable enough. Looking beyond the stereotype of older couples staring at warblers through comically large binoculars, birding can be done on trails in public parks with unaided eyes and ears.


Amie Richards is from Massachusetts, and Reese Gieger lives in Atlanta.

They have traded a few letters, but recently, they met virtually for the first time.

Connected through the Disability EmpowHER Network’s “Letter from a Role Model” program, they both have spina bifida, a birth defect that causes a person's spine to develop abnormally.

Amie, who is 32, told 9-year-old Reese that she could ask her anything.

"It can even be a silly question,” Amie said.

Racquel Stephen / WXXI News

Two local agencies will work together to help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Mary Cariola Center in Rochester is participating in a national study led by UR Medicine’s Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience.

Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

The nation’s first nature trail specifically designed to address the sensory needs of those with autism spectrum disorder is now open at Letchworth State Park.

How can members of law enforcement better interact with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities? We hear from participants of a recent event with the Arc of Monroe and the Advocacy Alliance. We talk with members of law enforcement about police training techniques, and we hear from people with disabilities and advocates about their perspectives and experiences.

Our guests:

  • Reenie Levy, self-advocate with the Advocacy Alliance
  • Brian Potvin, staff member at the Arc of Monroe
  • Lt. Richard Waldo, Community Affairs Bureau, Rochester Police Department
  • Trooper Jason Klewicki, Troop E School and Community Outreach Coordinator, New York State Police

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Courtesy of Endless Highway / Endless Highway

A wheelchair swing and an accessible merry-go-round are some of the new adaptable features at Basil A. Marella Park in the town of Greece that will allow more playtime for families with kids with disabilities.

Endless Highway, an organization that provides inclusive sports and recreational opportunities, partnered with the town of Greece to make the upgrades at the park. 

Max Schulte/WXXI News

“In February of 1983, I met this incredible British documentary filmmaker….”

These are the opening words of “Swimming to Cambodia,” the best-known work of actor and writer Spalding Gray, who took his life when he jumped into New York Harbor on a frigid night in January 2004.

But there he was in spirit, in Rochester, on an evening in July at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center on Atlantic Avenue, where Justin Rielly was breathing life into Gray and his work.

During the pandemic, people found themselves alone a lot more than usual.

That includes young people with disabilities who lost something important -- opportunities to build social skills. While there are programs to help with this, what can be done to ensure people with disabilities have the necessary support and resources?

That’s the focus of this Inclusion Desk discussion, moderated by WXXI News reporter/producer Noelle E.C. Evans with guests:

Leaders from organizations that provide services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities say they are dealing with a staffing crisis. Direct support professionals provide assistance to people with disabilities, helping them live and work in their communities. Leaders say there was a staffing shortage prior to the pandemic due to inadequate funding, and now the issue has reached a crisis point.

This hour, we discuss the role of direct support professionals, the state of staffing for their field, and the impact the shortage has on people with disabilities. Our guests:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk