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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: 51 min 10 sec ago

Connections: Updates from the Unified Sports program

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 2:38pm
What does a truly inclusive sports program look like? We sit down with members of the Unified Sports , an initiative whose teams include players with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their peers. We hear from a Unified Sports athlete and from program organizers about how to create more inclusive schools and communities. In studio: Nathan Johnson, senior director of the Unified Sports program for Special Olympics New York Kyle Washburn, director of fitness for Special Olympics International Jacob Booher-Babcock, Special Olympics New York athlete and a member of the Athlete Congress (Brockport) Lesli Myers , superintendent of the Brockport Central School District This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .

City report identifies poverty causes for people with disabilities

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 5:10pm
People with disabilities in Rochester face poverty at a level higher than any of the other 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country, according to a report recently released by the city. Employment rates are almost three times lower among people with disabilities than they are for nondisabled people in Rochester, the report found. People with disabilities are also overrepresented in the city’s lowest-paying industries. The report grew out of work last year that looked at poverty in the Rochester area in general terms. But the authors said that work didn’t pay enough attention to the poverty faced in particular by people with disabilities. The authors identified unemployment as the primary cause of poverty among people with disabilities in Rochester. And, they said, it’s cyclical. People with disabilities face educational barriers that result in them having lower high school graduation rates. That makes finding a job more difficult, and depresses their wages, which makes it harder to

Local dentist wins regional award for his work with Special Olympians

Sat, 12/08/2018 - 2:31pm
A Rochester area pediatric dentist was honored in New York City on Saturday with the 2018 Golisano Health Leadership Award for New York State. That award, given to Dr. Abrahim Caroci, is the highest regional honor for Special Olympics health partners. Ann Costello, the Executive Director for the Golisano Foundation, presented the award at the Jacob Javitz Center to Caroci at the Special Olympics New York Floor Hockey winter Classic. Costello said that, “One of our chief missions at the Golisano Foundation is to improve access to inclusive health. When it comes to inclusive dentistry, Dr. Caroci is a pioneer. He is deeply committed to treating and caring for underserved populations." Beginning his work with Special Olympics Special Smiles in Arizona, Dr. Caroci went on to be a part of a research delegation in two Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and Los Angeles. Since moving to Rochester in 2013, he has become a Special Olympics Special Smiles Clinical Director, helping to

County cancels planned waitlist for early childhood intervention

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 4:53pm
Monroe County has averted running afoul of state and federal law -- at least temporarily -- by reshuffling employees in the public health department and staving off the creation of a waiting list for early childhood intervention services.

Connections: Understanding dyslexia

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 2:17pm
How much do you know about dyslexia? About 40 million American children and adults are affected by the disorder, but research shows that not all pediatricians ask parents about signs of possible learning issues in their children. On Wednesday, Starbridge is holding a free workshop for families about understanding dyslexia. It will also hold a conference on Thursday. We preview those events as we discuss what dyslexia is, misconceptions surrounding the disorder, and how schools and families can support children who are struggling with this invisible disability. In studio: Courtney Hathaway, school social worker Kara Olds, family education specialist at Starbridge This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .

Monroe County ‘a canary in the coal mine’ for looming state crisis in early childhood therapy

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 5:00am
Pia Stampe is unsure how long she’ll be able to stay in business. “If we don’t get referrals, then we can’t operate,” Stampe said. “We were better paid in 1995 than we are today.” Stampe is the owner of Step By Step Pediatric Therapy Center in Rochester. Many of her referrals come through a state program requiring that children who show signs of developmental delays are evaluated and connected with appropriate therapists. The county has 45 days to make those connections. Now, Monroe County is set to become the first in the state to put those children on a waiting list before conducting the evaluations. “We’ve long been seeing delays in starting the interventions,” said Pete Nabozny, policy director at The Children’s Agenda. “But this is the first time we’ve seen a waitlist before even evaluating children to see whether and what sorts of interventions they qualify for.” It’s a move that Nabozny and other advocates say brings the county dangerously close to violating the law, and is

NYS ride-sharing sessions look to improve services for disabled customers

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 8:52am
Public listening sessions are being held over the next few weeks to study accessible ride sharing services for customers with disabilities. The New York State Transportation Company Accessibility Task Force was created as part of the legislation that made ride-sharing legal in Upstate New York. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports on some of the issues facing riders. WBFOs Nick Lippa reports

New living option coming for people with developmental disabilities

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 5:12pm
A new transitional home for people with disabilities is officially under construction in Pittsford. The home will be the second transitional facility that CP Rochester has set up in the Finger Lakes region. The organization’s president and CEO, Mary Walsh Boatfield, said it’s part of a bigger push to give people choices in where and how they live. “There is a huge need for this. I think individuals and their families want options,” Boatfield said. The home is designed to support people with developmental disabilities as they make the move from living with their families to living on their own. Boatfield said it will house seven apartments, but there are already 20 people who want to get in. One of those people looking for a spot is Brandon Burch. He said living in the transition apartments would be a good step to help him get ready to move into his own apartment. “I know that they will be great because they will have staff that will help me out with the goals that I need to do in order

Arc of Monroe launches new job readiness service at ArcWorks

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 3:57pm
A new employment readiness service is available at the Arc of Monroe. ArcWorks is an integrated manufacturing business run by that organization, and will now be offered as a job readiness option for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Kathy Moylan, Vice President of Transition at The Arc of Monroe says The Arc runs similar programs at the Marriott, strong hospital and the City of Rochester. She says these programs teach important job skills as well as social skills. "How to talk to your supervisor about maybe a difficult subject, the things we need to learn to do in our jobs every day are things we will be teaching people how to do for themselves." Kathy Pelkey, Senior Director of Vocational Services for The Arc of Monroe agreed. "I think interacting with your coworkers and your supervisor, interacting with people in the community if you’re working in a store or a restaurant. All of these social interactions are really a huge basis for success in employment, for all

Arc of Monroe celebrates Friendsgiving with day service groups

Thu, 11/22/2018 - 9:52am
The Arc of Monroe’s various day service programs recently celebrated Thanksgiving together with a potluck-style meal where each group cooked a dish for all to enjoy. Those who work for The Arc, which supports people with intellectual or development disabilities, said it’s important to get everyone together outside of their separate programs. The group gatherings happen once a month, but the “Friendsgiving” event offered participants a chance to talk about what they’re thankful for. WXXI’s Caitlin Whyte stopped by and brought back this audio postcard:

Artists Unlimited productions are a family affair for many

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 8:21am
Artists Unlimited has been bringing together actors with and without disabilities for plays for 18 years, and WXXI’s Caitlin Whyte has been following the cast and crew of this year’s show, “The Little Mermaid.” For the last of her three stories from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, she talked to one of the lead stars and his family about how the program affects them. In the boys’ dressing room, Vickie Vignare is holding an iPhone for her daughter Kristen, who is using it as a reference to do her brother Anthony’s makeup, as he gets ready to hit the stage as Grimsby, Prince Eric’s caretaker. Vickie says this is their fifth Artists Unlimited show as a family. Her husband, Phil, is out front helping with concessions, while she and Kristen help with costumes. Vickie says they searched for a theater program for Anthony for a while, but could never find the right fit. After seeing an Artists Unlimited production of "Peter Pan" years ago, they knew they found the place. And five years later, Anthony

Connections: The film, "The Limits of My World"

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 2:43pm
A film called "The Limits of My World" tells the story of a nonverbal young man with autism as he transitions from high school to adulthood. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on Monday, November 12. We talk about the challenges young adults like him face, and how parents, caregivers, and community members can help ease that transition. Our panel includes experts and parents who share their personal experiences. Our guests: Sarah Milko , executive director of AutismUp , and parent of a teenager with autism Dr. Stephen Sulkes , M.D., professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center Melissa Parrish, Golisano Autism Center Family Navigator at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, and parent of a teenager with autism Heather Cassano, director of “The Limits of My World” This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .

Artists Unlimited production flies closer to showtime

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 7:43am
As Artists Unlimited, a local theater group that integrates people with and without disabilities, gets ready for its latest production of the Little Mermaid, WXXI's Caitlin Whyte stopped by another rehearsal for a unique part of the play — the fly scenes. She has been following the group as they prepare for their 18 th production. When I walk into fly rehearsal, just a week before the show debuts, the crew is discussing how to rig Ariel up for her big reveal, turning from mermaid to woman, while in the air. It takes a second, but they figure out the scene. The fly crew is a team of dads, most with kids in the play, pulling ropes and securing harnesses to make the underwater scenes more intricate and lifelike.

‘Bumpy’ Election Day for some Monroe County voters with disabilities

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 6:44pm
Rochester's Center for Disability Rights has started sorting through what the organization’s systems advocate Ericka Jones called a "bumpy" Election Day. Jones spent the day tracking problems that people with disabilities encountered at polling sites. She said complaints around specially designed voting machines called “ballot-marking devices” came up often. Those machines offer a variety of ways to help people with disabilities register their votes. Ballot-marking devices could be hooked up to a headset to play audio instructions, or to a straw that registers sips and puffs for people who are unable to push buttons. Jones said problematic situations cropped up across Monroe County. At the Campbell Street Recreation Center, Jones said a man’s ballot wouldn’t scan, and a worker took it without a privacy sleeve to a desk where other workers were sitting and showed them his ballot. The man got frustrated and left without voting, Jones said. At a polling site at the Rochester Institute of

Disability rights group foresees obstacles to voting

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 5:33pm
As candidates and political parties try to get out the vote on Election Day, another group is working to make sure that once people get to their polling place, they have the tools they need to cast a ballot. Ericka Jones tracks complaints about polling places that aren’t equipped to help people with disabilities, and tries to find solutions. Jones is the systems advocate at Rochester’s Center for Disability Rights, and she called Election Day “one of the most stressful days” of her year. One of the most common problems that people with disabilities encounter when they try to vote, Jones said, is polling places that are not in accessible buildings. But sometimes getting inside isn’t the biggest obstacle. Polling places are equipped with special voting machines to help people with disabilities register their choices. Those machines could be hooked up to a headset to play audio instructions, or a straw that registers sips and puffs for people who are unable to push buttons. Too often,

Tom Golisano donates $5.8 million to SJFC for developmental disabilities nursing program

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 2:09pm
A new institute at St. John Fisher College will focus on nursing that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation donated $5.8 million to the school to create the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing. Tom Golisano donated $5 million and the foundation donated $800,000. It is the first of its kind in the country, and will focus on training health care providers to support this population. Research by the Special Olympics shows that there are significant health disparities between individuals with disabilities and the general population. Ann Costello is executive director of the Golisano Foundation. "Both our organizations believed it was unacceptable that millions of our most vulnerable citizens suffered from pain and debilitating conditions that could be treated if they had access to proper care, but too often they fall through the cracks of complex health systems." Each year the

Inclusive theater program gives everyone the stage

Sun, 10/28/2018 - 8:48am
The parking lot off Hinchey Road is unassuming at dusk. I pull in and wonder if I’m in the right place. I do that thing where you follow other cars and just hope they’re going to the same location. When I drive past a glass door, pouring light into the dark parking lot, I assume this has to be the place. It’s bright inside as dozens start to enter the practice space, and it’s loud as volunteers and parents and actors greet and hug each other ahead of rehearsal. Artists Unlimited is putting on its 18 th show this year: The Little Mermaid, integrating actors with and without disabilities in each of its productions. I’m here on a Monday. Mondays are music night thats what Sarah Staebell tells me. She’s a music teacher at Brighton High School and the music director for the play. She got involved because she wanted something she could do with her little brother who has a disability. He’s in the cast. “I feel really fortunate that we can give people that outlet, right, who might not have it