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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: 3 min 7 sec ago

Autism Nature Trail under construction at Letchworth State Park; completion by fall possible

Mon, 03/01/2021 - 5:00am
A mile-long Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park is expected to open to the public later this year. It’s a project that has been over a half-decade in the making. Back in 2016, the Humphrey Nature Center opened as a year-round facility that focused on providing educational opportunities. New York State Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said Letchworth’s Autism Nature Trail is, in many ways, an offshoot of their most recent nature center. “We opened with a lot of private fundraising,” Kulleseid said. “And there was a small group of people from that, who have been impacted by autism spectrum disorder and had always noted that Letchworth had kind of a calming effect on kids with ASD.” Kulleseid said three women from the Letchworth area started a private initiative to raise money for ANT, which has currently reached $3 million of its $3.7 million goal in collaboration with Letchworth State Park. “And they have assembled experts in autism to

Republicans question NY COVID-19 policy at OPWDD group homes

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 5:19pm
Republicans in the New York State Senate claimed Friday that policies enacted by the state during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic may have put residents at group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at risk of contracting the coronavirus. The group of Republicans likened the policy, which is still in effect, to one that was briefly enacted at nursing homes, where some believe the change may have led to more deaths. The policy at group homes, according to a memo from the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities , has been to require those facilities to admit residents discharged from the hospital regardless of their COVID-19 status. Administrators at group homes also aren’t allowed to test incoming residents for COVID-19 as a condition of admission, according to the policy. The policy only applies to individuals deemed to be asymptomatic, or not showing symptoms of the disease. But the policy also allows group homes to admit

Connections: The Disability EmpowHer Network

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 2:37pm
Research finds that girls with disabilities have significantly lower high school graduation rates and higher unemployment rates than their nondisabled peers. An organization called the Disability EmpowHer Network aims to provide mentoring and guidance to girls with disabilities. The goal is to "empower disabled young women to live to their fullest potential and have the confidence to lead." Our guests share their stories of mentoring and overcoming the various obstacles facing young women with disabilities: Stephanie Woodward , co-founder of the Disability EmpowHer Network Jill Moore White, inclusive play specialist Maddie Kasten, 14-year-old mentee This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .

Business Report: Starbridge and Al Sigl Community of Agencies are joining forces

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 2:50pm
In the latest WXXI Business Report, there's a new relationship between Starbridge and Al Sigl Community of Agencies. What will that mean for the two local non-profits that help provide services for adults and children with disabilities? Plus, Fuccillo Auto Group is a little less “huge” by selling five dealerships -- two in the Rochester area -- to a Binghamton-based auto dealer. Also, Rochester Regional Health is closer to producing all of its electricity through renewable sources.

Connections: Discussing updates related to autism screening, support, and advocacy

Fri, 01/29/2021 - 3:19pm
We have a conversation about a number of subjects related to autism. Our guests help us understand a new screening process, how to help families navigate pandemic challenges, and how to improve police interactions with people who have autism. Our guests: Dylan Dailor , author and autism self-advocate Susan Hyman , M.D., professor of pediatrics, and division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong Lisa Latten, health project coordinator for the Southern Tier Initiative in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center Rachel Rosner , director of education and support services for AutismUp *Dr. Hyman recommends these resources for families affected by the pandemic. More information can be found here . People interested in volunteering for URMC research related to auditory processing can email . This conversation is part of Dialogue on

Accessible housing still tough to find 30 years after Americans with Disabilities Act

Thu, 01/28/2021 - 7:00am
When Erica Jones looks for a place to call home, her must-haves are non-negotiable. “Can I get through the front door? Are there steps? And can I get inside the bathroom and turn around?" she asked. Jones uses a wheelchair, so space is important. “If I can't maneuver the bathroom, that deems the entire apartment unlivable,” she said. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made public spaces more accessible, but many of the civil rights law’s regulations don’t apply to residential housing.

In isolation, one artist finds opportunity

Wed, 01/27/2021 - 5:30am
Liz Pritchard has been working from home during the pandemic in a home office surrounded by her favorite things: posters of the comics she creates, original artwork, collectibles, and costumes she’s worn to Comic Con over the years. Pritchard calls herself an autistic artist and advocate. While comic books are her primary focus, she’s also a painter, a poet, and a teacher. And she’s always teaching. “It’s good to surround yourself with things that make you feel good,” she said over Zoom. “Create an awesome environment for you to create.” Pritchard said she wasn’t always good at expressing herself. Ten years ago, she was in high school, getting bullied. She transferred three times. On top of social anxiety, she was finding it hard to keep up with school work. Even writing a simple journal exercise was a challenge. “I would just scribble on the paper,” she said. “Not to be disrespectful; because I didn't know what to say.” But a few good teachers helped her express herself. Helped her

Connections: Discussing how President Biden's stimulus plan could impact people with disabilities

Tue, 01/26/2021 - 2:14pm
One aspect of President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan is focused on helping people with disabilities. If passed, the American Rescue Plan would end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities. The decades-old option allowed employers to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage; in some states, they were paid as little as $2.13 an hour. Biden’s plan would also provide stimulus payments for adults with disabilities who are considered dependents; those individuals were excluded from previous stimulus packages. This hour, we discuss the plan with our guests, who weigh in on the impact it may have and what it may be missing. We also discuss their “to-do” list for the Biden/Harris administration when it comes to disability rights. Our guests: Aaron Baier , executive director of Access to Independence of Cortland County, Inc. , and vice-chair of the New York State Independent Living Council Charles White, community patient representative in the Department of Neurology

Holy Childhood students welcome the chance to spend more time in the classroom

Tue, 01/26/2021 - 5:00am
Sky Amish goes to school at a community classroom at the Genesee Valley Regional Market in Henrietta. Since August, Amish, who is 18, and most of the other 100-plus students enrolled at Holy Childhood have been attending in-person classes just two days a week, many of them at the school's main campus on Groton Parkway in Henrietta. The other three days, they were learning remotely. Amish is not a fan of getting virtual lessons on a laptop. "Kinda tricky ... it's kinda crazy," he said. His classmate, Corynn Dunton, also 18, agrees. They're both excited about a new hybrid plan that started this week: four days a week in the classroom and one day at home. "I'm ready for it 'cause I don't like doing school online at home," Dunton said. School program director Dave Halpern said a lot of thought went into the decision and it seemed like the right time for the transition to mostly in-person learning. "Because the January surge was ending and the vaccines were coming out," he said. "A number

Lawmakers: NY should provide Wi-Fi for people with developmental disabilities in state-run homes

Mon, 01/25/2021 - 2:57pm
Several state senators and Assembly members say they were surprised to learn that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration does not provide internet access to people living in state-run group homes and other congregant settings -- and they want that fixed immediately. Sen. James Skoufis, the chair of the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, said two of his constituents alerted him to the lack of Wi-Fi at the homes. Phil and Maryann Smith’s daughter Michelle, who has a disability, was living at a state-run home when the COVID-19 pandemic started last March. They were not allowed to visit her, and she had no internet access to visit them virtually. Skoufis said he was shocked to learn that no facility operated by the state’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, or OPWDD, provides broadband access for residents. “These residents have been as isolated as ever before, many have not been able to see their parents, their families, at all,” said Skoufis, who added

Weekly 'coffee break' offers support among disability self-advocates throughout pandemic

Mon, 01/25/2021 - 5:00am
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Tia Nelis of TASH, a national advocacy organization for disability inclusion, has been the facilitator of a weekly, sometimes international, video call among people with disabilities. As part of this week's Dialogue on Disability, WXXI’s Noelle Evans talked to Nelis about the significance of those calls during a confusing and often fearful time. Below is a transcript of their conversation, edited for time and clarity. Tia Nelis, TASH self-advocate: “It’s called a coffee break, and it started out with the COVID-19 response where people with disabilities were feeling lonely and not having anybody to talk to in some of the cases. So we thought it was important that people could get connected together." Noelle Evans, WXXI reporter: “What comes up in those calls? What’s discussed?” Nelis: “Well, at first it started out with COVID. People unfortunately are losing family members or friends, and they talk about that. They express that during the