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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: 44 min 39 sec ago

Blind Patients Hope Landmark Gene-Editing Experiment Will Restore Their Vision

Mon, 05/10/2021 - 5:34am
Carlene Knight would love to do things that most people take for granted, such as read books, drive a car, ride a bike, gaze at animals in a zoo and watch movies. She also longs to see expressions on people's faces. "To be able to see my granddaughter especially — my granddaughter's face," said Knight, 54, who lives outside Portland, Ore. "It would be huge." Michael Kalberer yearns to be able to read a computer screen so he could get back to work as a social worker. He also hopes to one day watch his nieces and nephews play soccer instead of just listening to them, and move around in the world without help. But that's not all. "Maybe be able to — as romantically poetic as this sounds — see a sunset again, see a smile on somebody's face again. It's the little things that I miss," said Kalberer, 43, who lives on Long Island in New York. Kalberer and Knight are two of the first patients treated in a landmark study designed to try to restore vision to patients such as them, who suffer from

NYDOH gets backlash from disability advocacy group

Sat, 05/08/2021 - 12:16pm
Laura Tobia held up a photo of her two brothers, John and Billy, during a Zoom press conference Friday. “I want to put a face with their names because they're real people,” Tobia said. Both of her brothers live in a group home, and are fully vaccinated. Billy, however, has a severe case of cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment, along with a very complex seizure disorder. Tobia said, due to the state’s delay on updating group home COVID-19 guidelines, Billy still isn't able to attend his day-hab program. “There were months and months that Billy didn't even leave his group home. Months he sat there,” Tobia said. Last week the Centers for Disease Control loosened outdoor and quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated people allowing them to be outdoors without a mask, and only having to quarantine if feeling ill once exposed to the coronavirus. However, the rules don’t currently apply to group homes or day-hab programs. State Assemblymember Melissa “Missy” Miller, who represents part of

Nonprofit receives grant to expand speech & language program

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 5:06pm
GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester has received a $74,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation to expand its Amina Grace speech and language program. The program helps young people and adults with Down syndrome refine their language skills by providing free one-on-one speech pathology services. Vice President Kim Guerrieri credits the foundation for the program’s success. She said a $50,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation helped launch the program in 2019. “It’s just a huge impact and Golisano has just been amazing for us, said Guerrieri. “We are completely donor and volunteer based, because it's free for anybody to come to our door.” The sessions are held over 10 weeks serving up to 35 participants. Guerrieri said the demand for speech services are high because many individuals with Down syndrome often have delayed speech. She said that the program has an overall positive effect on its participants. “When you see them actually succeed and start talking parents are crying,” said Guerrieri.

Heritage Christian Services raises wages for front-line workers

Thu, 04/29/2021 - 3:21pm
A Rochester organization that provides programs and services for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities is raising its base wage for front-line workers. Heritage Christian Services is raising the pay scale for those employees to $15 an hour for all positions, effective May 9. Heritage officials said that their residential staff, which is the majority of jobs at the organization, will now start at $15.75, with more money for certain shifts. Heritage Christian said that is a 20% increase for all frontline positions since the start of the year. Heritage Christian said it is making this change now to stabilize its workforce and take a step forward in trying to neutralize poverty. “We can no longer overlook what it takes to make a sustainable living,” said Marisa Geitner, president and C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services. “The care professionals in our community deserve more than minimum. We need to recognize the technical skills that care professionals apply to

AutismUp's Facebook group provides support to caregivers

Fri, 04/23/2021 - 5:41pm
When Leilani McDonald was 2 years old, her mom became concerned about some of her behaviors. Jennifer McDonald said her daughter wasn’t talking and would only make certain noises. Leilani would often marvel at her hands, and clap while walking in circles. "I let it go for a little bit, but then I was like, let me just bring her in and get her evaluated just in case,” McDonald said. Leilani was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD is a developmental disability often detected in early childhood that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

NTID to expand technical education for deaf and hard of hearing students

Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:21am
RIT and its National Technical Institute for the Deaf have been awarded a $470,000 federal grant to help deaf and hard of hearing students learn technical skills to better prepare them for the workforce. The grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a pilot program called DeafTec Ready, according to Rep. Joe Morelle (NY-25). DeafTec Ready is a 10-week, 40-hour boot camp for a dozen deaf and hard of hearing students on the RIT campus during the summer of 2022. Students will learn technical skills such as repairing and maintaining computer equipment, networks and operating systems. "(This effort) will further cement RIT’s reputation as a global leader in providing innovative services to help deaf and hard of hearing community members reach their full potential," Morelle said. "This significant award will advance NTID’s goal of increasing the number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the IT sector," said NTID President Gerard Buckley. Upon completion and certification,

Pop-up vaccination clinic to serve Rochester’s deaf refugees

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 3:14pm
A pop-up clinic Saturday will focus on vaccinating Rochester’s deaf refugee population. The clinic, hosted by the nonprofit Deaf Refugee Advocacy, will offer first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind new Americans. The pop-up’s organizers had planned to use the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, but that was before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a pause in the vaccine’s use after six women in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. Deaf refugees, who often face language barriers, may not have a good understanding of the medical system and may lack trust in it, said Donna Nelligan-Barrett, executive director of Deaf Refugee Advocacy. A crucial feature of the pop-up site is deaf people are involved every step of the way, she said. Deaf Refugee Advocacy vaccination clinic The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Jackson R Center, 485 N. Clinton Ave. Reservations can be made

Connections: Discussing the challenges the pandemic has presented for people with disabilities

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 2:47pm
When COVID-19 vaccines first became available, a local doctor noticed a gap in access when it came to people with disabilities. Dr. Tiffany Pulcino and her team work with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions. They set up mobile vaccine clinics throughout Rochester for their patients. So far, they have helped more than 2,000 patients receive vaccines. This hour, we discuss the challenges the pandemic has presented for people with disabilities – from access to health care and vaccines, issues related to isolation from support systems, and more. Our guests: Tiffany Pulcino , M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and medical director of the UR Medicine Complex Care Center Michelle Labossiere-Hall , associate vice president of customized support at Heritage Christian Services Stephanie Ramos , advocate and patient of Dr. Pulcino This story is produced by WXXI's