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MOVE TO INCLUDE is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. 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. Share your thoughts with us here
Updated: 29 min 5 sec ago

Town of Greece celebrates inclusive playground

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 5:47pm
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. The initiative began last year to help a local student, Santii Patel, raise money for a wheelchair swing at one of the Town's parks. The project morphed into a fully accessible playground after Endless Highway helped raise $50,000 for a We-Go-Round®, a merry-go-round structure with wide openings to allow wheelchair users to operate it. The town provided the rest of the funding. Endless Highway founder Rob Tortorella said inclusive playgrounds helps address physical and social barriers for kids of all abilities. "It's not just giving kids with disabilities and their families an opportunity to participate in

Embracing the artistry of autism on stage and in life

Wed, 09/01/2021 - 5:00am
“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. It was not the first time, and it likely won’t be the last. There is a kinship between Rielly and Gray, who never met in life, but have a bond through Gray’s widow and what she describes as their shared struggle to find their place in the world. Rielly, a 37-year-old actor, writer, director, and producer, creates theater through his one-man company he calls Aspie Works. He is in rehearsals now on “Ghost Story,” a play by British playwright Mark Ravenhill that Rielly is directing for performances at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe

Inclusion Desk Forum: Strengthening social skills in a pandemic

Fri, 08/27/2021 - 3:31pm
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: Jeiri Flores, a self-advocate Jen Hackett, executive director of Camp Puzzle Peace Emily Goldsmith, director of communications for New York state Sen. Samra Brouk

Connections: Discussing the staffing crisis for direct support professionals

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 2:06pm
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: Marisa Geitner, president and CEO of Heritage Christian Services/DDAWNY Patricia Dimento, direct support professional with People, Inc. Angelica Perez-Delgado, CEO of Ibero-American Action League Kevin Scott, former direct support professional and now staff member at Ibero-American Action League Rebekah Meyer, project administrator at RMAPI This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .

Disability rights advocate says U.S. can't afford to shortchange home health care

Mon, 08/16/2021 - 5:00am
Democrats in Washington are working on the details of their enormous budget reconciliation bill. President Joe Biden wants to include $400 billion for home health care services. This has long been a priority for disability advocates and others who say the investment is needed to keep people in their own homes and communities and out of institutional settings. "We have to really reconcile how we are looking at care and caregiving, and that what we have is the 'something is better than nothing,' and it's not working," Luticha Doucette, a disability rights activist in Rochester. Doucette was in a car crash in 1985 in which she broke her neck and suffered a brain injury. She uses a wheelchair and has limited use of her hands. She does not currently have in-home care because she lost her employer-provided health insurance coverage when she started her own consulting business . Doucette has been unable to find an affordable plan that includes caregiving services. She's very concerned about

'We’re making an accessible place public': Autism Trail seeks to break down barriers to deep nature

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 5:00am
Deep in Letchworth State Park, Catherine Abida and her son Ali sat on a bench in a pine tree-lined oasis. “What do you like about this trail?” Abida asked him. “The rocks? The trees? The benches?” “The trees,” Ali responded. Ali is 14. He has autism and is minimally verbal. He and his mom live in Albany. It takes them about four hours to drive to Letchworth, but they wanted to see the soon-to-open Autism Nature Trail -- also known as the ANT.