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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: 58 min 47 sec ago

Special Olympics New York Winter Games in Rochester this weekend

Fri, 02/21/2020 - 2:13pm
About 1,000 athletes and coaches from around the state are in Rochester this weekend for the 50th Special Olympics New York Winter Games. The participants have outplayed more than 30,000 of their peers to earn a shot at an Olympic gold medal in six winter sports, according to Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York. “They have won their regional competitions,” she said. “They’ve trained hard and this is their statewide finals. So they’re excited, we’re excited there’s going to be some great competitions. Hengsterman encouraged the community to come out to the event’s various venues to cheer on the athletes. “They’ve come all this way, they’re away from home, they’re coming here to compete, and not always going to have all their big cheering sections,” she said. “So we’re really counting on Rochester to just come out and be a fan in the stands.” The athletes will be competing in six winter sports. Click here for the weekend schedule. Hengsterman added that the

Connections: Irish tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 2:13pm
Acclaimed Irish tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan is coming to Rochester to speak and sing at two events. Tynan was born with phocomelia, a lower limb disability that caused both of his legs to be underdeveloped. At the age of 20, both of Tynan’s legs were amputated after a car accident. Since that time, he has used prosthetic legs and won Paralympic medals in track and field. He’s also a physician specializing in orthopedic sports injuries and has worked in the prosthetics industry. This hour, Tynan joins us to discuss his life and work, his career with the Irish Tenors, and more. We also talk with locals being recognized for their work promoting inclusion. Our guests: Ronan Tynan , Irish tenor, Paralympian, and physician Lori VanAuken, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services Kathy Termine, director of developmental disabilities at Catholic Charities Community Services Royce Rogers, brother of Alice Rogers, one of the first residents of Catholic Charities Community

Six Flags Darien Lake gets Certified Autism Center designation

Thu, 02/06/2020 - 3:42pm
Six Flags Darien Lake, and the other 25 Six Flags parks nationwide, has earned a "Certified Autism Center" designation, the first ever family of parks to get that classification. The designation comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, which meets the credentialing needs of professionals who work with individuals with special needs and cognitive disorders. Communications manager at Darien Lake, Mike Arena, says the theme park recognizes that some guests on the autism spectrum have sensory sensitivities, and have challenges visiting new places or planning trips to places like Six Flags. “We are trying our best to recognize that and accommodate those kinds of guests, so there will be certain amenities around the park, different changes, and trainings that will go on to, you know, relieve that for some of these families,” Arena said. These accommodations includes special in-park sensory spaces where guests can relax in a less-stimulating

'First of its kind' Autism Nature Trail nearing reality at Letchworth

Thu, 01/30/2020 - 5:42pm
Five years ago, a retired school administrator from Batavia named Loren Penman had a conversation with her neighbor. What she didn’t know then is that talk would inspire the next phase of her life. Penman said her neighbor was hoping that her grandson Ali, who lives in Albany, could get back to Letchworth State Park soon. She told Penman that Ali was a different kid inside the park. “She went on to tell me that Ali had autism, and at 7 years old had no language and was almost always in a state of agitation except when she brought him to visit Letchworth State Park,” said Penman. Within days, Penman says another neighbor, Susan Herrnstein, told her the same thing happened with her grandson. Penman and Herrnstein researched it and felt it was no coincidence. They believe that being surrounded by nature can make a difference for people with autism. So they decided to do more. Half a decade later, Penman and Herrnstein’s passion project now involves local advocate Gail Serventi, actor Joe

Connections: Dialogue on Disability - Sports, media, and inclusion

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 1:20pm
We wrap up our annual Dialogue on Disability Week with a conversation about sports, media, and inclusion. Special Olympics New York is celebrating 50 years. We’re joined by an athlete who has been part of the program for 40 years, as well as RIT photojournalism students who have covered athletes’ stories . We discuss how sports can help people discover new abilities and strengths, and how effective media coverage can help create a more inclusive society. In studio: Patty VanSavage, athlete and member of the Great Tigers Club John VanSavage, Patty’s brother and coach with the Great Tigers Club Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York Jenn Poggi, assistant professor of photojournalism at RIT Josh Meltzer, assistant professor of photojournalism at RIT Jackie Diller, photojournalism major at RIT Ashley Crichton, advertising photography major at RIT This story is reported from WXXI's Inclusion Desk .

There's a caregiver shortage -- what's stopping men from filling the gap?

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 5:30am
Kirk Matthews was winning. He had only to sink the eight ball into one of the pockets of a new pool table, and he’d have the victory. “Eight ball, corner pocket,” he said.

Demand for disability support services outweighs supply

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:31am
Dozens of deaf-blind people throughout Rochester are waiting for funding to help them with everyday activities. One of them is sitting in a conference room of a nonprofit called the Center for Disability Rights. There’s seating for 10 or 15 in the room, but there are about 25 people at this late September meeting, including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand sits at the head of the table as she hears stories from person after person in Rochester’s disability community. People like Patty Starr, who is deaf and legally blind.

Connections: Dialogue on Disability - The value of respite programs

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 1:57pm
As part of Dialogue on Disability Week, we continue our series of conversations about inclusion and disability rights. This hour, we discuss the value of respite programs for caregivers and people with disabilities. Respite programs provide a variety of short-term, temporary services that allow family members to take a break from the day-to-day schedule. Research shows respite programs can improve family stability, but many people who participate in them – or would like to – say the system is difficult to navigate. Our guests discuss their experience with respite programs, and we talk about how to make them more easily accessible for families. In studio: Stephanie Woodward , disability rights advocate with Patsy, mother of a teenager who attends Epilepsy-Pralid’s after school respite and recreational respite programs Joe Abbott, vice president of operations and COO at Epilepsy-Pralid Dayna Wells, community services supervisor at Epilepsy-Pralid Tia Guthrie,

Dyslexia can present challenges and opportunities

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 5:00am
Dyslexia is a language processing disorder that causes difficulty reading or processing spoken words. It affects anywhere between 5% and 20% of the population, according to various estimates. Courtney Hathaway, a school social worker, was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in third grade, but she was placed in reading intervention programs as early as kindergarten. In elementary school, Hathaway didn't think much about the fact that she was singled out, but by middle school, she became more aware of the fact that she was being separated from her classmates. "At that point, I was also receiving accommodations," she said, "so I was taking my test in a different location, I was having my test read to me, which were all very helpful, however, you start to realize, what's different or why me?" Hathaway doesn't remember being teased or bullied because she was different. Any discomfort, she said, was strictly internal. But there were times when she was frustrated because her experience was

Rochesterian advocates for equity despite facing racism, sexism, and ableism

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 5:00am
For one Rochesterian, living with a disability as a queer black woman means navigating not only racism and sexism, but also ableism. Since she was a toddler, Luticha Andre Doucette has been living with incomplete quadriplegia and chronic pain. This, she says, has had a tremendous impact on her experience not because she uses a wheelchair, but because of how people view her and how inaccessible many environments are. “I have really bad chronic pain days that cause a struggle, but at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be as bad if the built environment was also inclusive,” Doucette says. Doucette is the equity coordinator at Rochester City Hall. Currently, she’s working on the Race Equity and Leadership Initiative (REAL) for city government. REAL is part of a program with the National League of Cities aimed to address structural racism through policy and civic engagement. She says that while there are conversations in Rochester around racial equity, like REAL, there isn’t as much visibility

Connections: Dialogue on Disability - Cooper's story, and the value of speech therapy

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 2:20pm
It’s Dialogue on Disability Week at WXXI. Throughout the week on Connections, we’ll host a series of conversations about inclusion and disability rights. This hour, we discuss speech therapy with a local mother whose young son has benefited from services provided by a number of community agencies, including the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center . Cooper was diagnosed with several conditions, including Global Body Dyspraxia, Apraxia of Speech, and Sensory Processing Disorder. His mother, Meghan, joins us to share his story and how his communication skills have developed as a result of different therapies. We also discuss the impact of early intervention services and more. In studio: Meghan, Cooper’s mother Sara Calus, physical therapist, and lead PT/OT clinician at the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center Debra L. Cecere, licensed speech language pathologist at the at the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center Valorie Stotz, licensed speech language pathologist, and preschool