Move to Include coverage on WXXINews.org

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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
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Local duo thrilled to be part of Boston Marathon history

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 12:14am
Dozens of people from Rochester took part in Monday’s Boston Marathon, but perhaps none were as thrilled to take part in the race as two women, Marie Boudreau-Ninkov of Brighton and Onni Peck of Fairport. Peck suffers from a progressive neuromuscular disease and she sat in a specially designed buggy pushed by Boudreau-Ninkov. The Brighton woman has run several Boston Marathons, but she says nothing compares to this experience. “It’s just an amazing experience and to do it with Onni was magical; it was so wonderful, and she had a grin on her face the whole way, and me too, actually my cheeks hurt," Boudreau-Ninkov told WXXI News. Boudreau-Ninkov says the crowds along the route were amazing in terms of their show of support. “The whole way, the whole 26.2 miles they were just screaming our names and they were cheering us, and she had a banner that said ‘team Onni,’ and they would say Tteam Onni, go Team Onni !“ The two women also became the first all-female duo team to have qualified to

Arc of Monroe County's business breakfast celebrates diversity in the workforce

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 3:16pm
The Arc of Monroe County held an annual event that celebrates people with developmental disabilities and their willingness and ability to get jobs within the community. Around 100 business leaders and hiring managers attended the event, which is designed to cultivate a diverse workforce. The Arc of Monroe's Job Path program is the region's oldest and largest training and placement service for individuals with disabilities, according to Arc CEO Barbara Wale. "It makes good business sense because our employees are great employees. They go to work every day. They work hard, and they make sure they can do the job and really want to be there for the people with whom they are working for," she said. The Arc's Job Path program helped Laquonna Mosely get a job with the West Irondequoit School District. "I feel amazing about my situation. It gives me a chance to be independent, and it gives me a chance to really just live like a person, and not be labeled," she said. Vice President of

Connections: Deaf culture in Rochester

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 7:51pm
Rochester is home to the nation's largest deaf population per capita, and throughout the years, the city has been praised for its efforts to promote accessibility and inclusivity among the deaf community. Kodak and Xerox provided jobs for deaf people, local hospitals led the way in staffing interpreters, and this year, NTID is teaming up with the University of Rochester to offer training and resources for deaf scientists. In 2006, the New York Times said, “It is here that the world of the deaf intersects the world of the hearing as in no other city.” Despite all of this, there are still misconceptions among the hearing community that impede further progress. This hour, we talk to members of the Deaf community about Deaf culture, the challenges they face, and what they hope to see for a more inclusive future. Our guests: Matthew S. Moore, president of MSM Productions, Ltd, author of For Hearing People Only , and publisher of Deaf Life Magazine Matthew J. Schwartz, ASL teacher at Rush

Disability rights activist visits Rochester to discuss ‘self-direction’

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 6:04am
One disability rights activist says that often people are too quick to assume someone with a disability can’t make their own decisions. Emily Ladau , a writer and editor in chief of the Rooted in Rights blog , visited Rochester recently to raise awareness about a different way of thinking called self-direction. “In the case of people with disabilities, there’s absolutely no reason to go in assuming that they can’t do something or that they can’t make decisions for themselves. But this happens a lot,” she said. “It happens with professionals or parents speaking over people with disabilities when they should really be leading their own lives and saying things that they think and feel.” Self-direction also happens to be the name of a New York state program geared toward individuals choosing specific services. Ladau’s message is not tied to the state program in a technical sense. “To self-direct your own life means that you are at the helm—of all the decisions that are made. There can be

Inclusive recreation is the goal of Rochester Accessible Adventures

Sat, 04/08/2017 - 11:06am
An organization in Rochester is working to establish real time access to recreation and sports for people with disabilities. Rochester Accessible Adventures is about a year old, and Executive Director Anita O’Brien says their mission is to train recreational businesses to offer their services to everyone. "I love the idea of adventure and that each person is able to choose what that means to them in life. Particularly in RAA it really is focused on recreation, active healthy lifestyle opportunities." O’Brien said inclusive recreational activities are often available as specific programs for people with disabilities, and are therefore limited to certain schedules and settings. She said as a community, more businesses should have the resources to be inclusive all of the time. "I really began thinking that there was a gap in what people were able to access on their own time. That more systemic level of how our community operates with regards to recreation." The organization trains

Helping first responders identify individuals with autism

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 12:51pm
Starting last summer, law enforcement officers across Monroe County received special training to improve their communication and interactions with individuals who are on the autism spectrum. Now, the Monroe County Association of Chiefs of Police is asking the public to help in this effort by making it easier for police to identify people who have autism. Individuals with autism and families who have a member on the autism spectrum are asked to put an autism awareness magnet on the left rear side of their vehicle. Brockport police Chief Dan Varrenti says that information is helpful for officers so they can take advantage of their training. "At the scene of the emergency, sometimes it's just inherent for police officers to be excited as well. We're human beings, just like everybody else. But to know that this may exacerbate the situation at hand is a wise reminder to the officers to slow down, make sure you enunciate properly, allow the person to process your thoughts that you're

New clinical space for pediatric neuromedicine and behavioral health

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 2:40pm
A new facility will soon be open to serve children and families dealing with autism spectrum disorder. The ribbon was cut today on UR Medicine's Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center on East River Road. Dr. Nina Schor is Pediatrician-in-Chief at Golisano Children's Hospital. She says the center will serve as an outpatient facility. "So many of these children see specialists in all of these areas. This will be one stop shopping. It'll also mean that the doctors who subserve different areas and different aspects of brain function will be able to conference with one another without any effort at all," she said. And that will better serve patients, according to Dr. Susan Hyman, Division Chief of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at the Golisano Children's Hospital. "It's critical that we're all together, because we share the clinical care of the patient population. We share research interest, and we share training goals for all of our trainees that will be facilitated by this co

Advocates for disability rights call for preservation of critical ACA compontents

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 3:16pm
Advocates from the Center for Disability Rights and other organizations are calling on local Republican congressional members to preserve critical components of the Affordable Care Act that would affect disabled populations. Damita Peace works with the Regional Center for Independent Living and said most importantly, they’re asking for the continued right that people with disabilities can live and receive necessary care in their homes, rather than institutions. "Somebody with basic needs who just needs help bathing or getting dressed or that kind of thing are stuck away, warehoused into institutions when they could be at home with a cheaper, healthier, community based home service." The previous Affordable Care Act included the Community First Choice Option, which activists say is the only Medicaid program aimed at ensuring that people with disabilities can live in the community they choose. New York doesn't actually participate in this option, but advocates say it would be gone if the

Julia, a new ‘Sesame Street’ character with autism, to debut

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 1:55pm
Sesame Street is introducing a new Muppet to its cast, and she is unlike any Muppet they have had before. Her name is Julia, and she has autism. The character was introduced online in 2015, but will now become a regular on the television show. Rachel Rosner, the director of education and support services at Rochester-based Autism Up, said introducing a character with autism is a huge step forward for the show — and for raising awareness. “As a parent of two kids with autism, I’m thrilled that there’s finally a character with autism on Sesame Street ,” Rosner said. “There have been other characters with autism or other disabilities portrayed on TV, but nothing for the preschool set, so I think this is great. “I think that the earlier that you can start bringing awareness and acceptance of people who are different into your child’s world, the better.” Rosner said that while Julia is a welcome addition, it’s the way the show will be treating her character that is most important. “I think

Julia, A Muppet With Autism, Joins The Cast Of 'Sesame Street'

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 5:10am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWrg5b9DQbE For the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air. Her name is Julia. She's a shy and winsome 4-year-old, with striking red hair and green eyes. Julia likes to paint and pick flowers. When Julia speaks, she often echoes what she's just heard her friends Abby and Elmo say. Julia has autism. "There's so many people that have given her what she is. I'm just hoping to bring her the heart," says Stacy Gordon, the veteran puppeteer selected to play the part. Presenting Julia to the gang requires a bit more explanation of her differences and hidden talents for the other Muppets — and their young viewers. As Abby Cadabby (the 3-year-old fairy played by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) explained during NPR's recent visit to the set in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., it can be hard to get Julia's attention. Big Bird had to repeat himself to get her to listen, for example. And

Local doctor among the recipients of the first-ever Golisano Global Health Leadership Awards

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 2:56pm
The Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics honored seven healthcare organizations and professionals this weekend. The Golisano Global Health Leadership Awards were created to recognize the progress being made around the world to increase access to essential health care for people with intellectual disabilities. It is Special Olympics’ highest honor for health partners. The first-ever awards were presented Sunday in Austria. They were given to: - Korea International Cooperation Agency for its work with Special Olympics Uganda in creating solutions where there is no access to healthcare. - Rajanukul , Ministry of Public Health, Thailand in Bangkok for launching a national health assessment program for children with intellectual disabilities. - Tongren Eye Hospital, Capital Medical University in Beijing, China for coordinating medical professionals throughout China and ensure sustainable eye health and treatment access are available to Special Olympics athletes. -Lions Club

Arc of Monroe program helps build inclusive workforce

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 2:45pm
Rainey Walker had been out of work for about four years. But that all changed when he partnered up with the Arc of Monroe’s Job Path program, which works to find jobs for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. After completing development training and assessments, Walker decided to give being a cashier a shot. Walker has been working at Hart’s Local Grocers in Rochester for about three months now. He said there’s a lot about his job that he likes. "Meeting new people, cleaning up the work station, straightening the work station and keep restocking merchandise,” Walker said. “It’s allowed me to do something. Besides, it’s nice to do nice things. "There’s nothing I don’t like,” Walker said. “Everything here, I’m just fine." Lia Marie Snyder, an employment specialist with the Arc of Monroe, worked with Walker to find his job. She said his outgoing personality is well-suited for his job as a cashier. "I think he just loves being out in the community,” Snyder said. “He

NY lawmakers agree on pay raise for caregivers

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 5:02pm
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The New York State Senate and Assembly are in agreement on a plan to increase funding for the care of the developmentally disabled. The Republican-led Senate and Democratic-controlled Assembly both included $45 million in additional funding in their chamber's proposed state budgets. The money would support pay raises for the direct support professionals who care for people with developmental disabilities. Low pay has created high turnover and staffing shortages. Harvey Weisenberg, a former lawmaker and father of a disabled son, says some caregivers are so poorly paid they're choosing to work fast-food jobs instead. Now supporters must convince Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who did not include the money in his own state budget proposal. A vote on the budget is expected by April 1.

Disability rights advocates arrested at state Capitol

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 5:03pm
Disability rights advocates say they’re fed up with what they say is a lack of response from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on funding for services that help them stay in their communities, including a lack of funds to pay home health care workers adequate wages. At a protest outside the governor’s offices Tuesday, Bruce Darling with the Center for Disability Rights displayed an award that the group fashioned for Cuomo that features a 5-inch gold screw on a trophy pedestal. “We’ve had enough, so we are issuing the ‘Screw the Disabled Award’ for Governor Cuomo,” Darling said. “His office would not even meet with us.” Several were arrested for blocking the hallway. A spokesman for the governor, Rich Azzopardi, said in a statement that Cuomo officials “have met with many of the groups represented here, both in the past and today, to discuss these issues and are committed to working with them in the future to find solutions.” Azzopardi says Cuomo also signed an executive order, known as Employment

Audit: NY agency for the disabled stonewalled

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 5:59am
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the agency that investigates mistreatment of disabled people in state care refused to hand over thousands of records needed to complete a state audit. DiNapoli on Monday called the decision by the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs "troubling" and said it raises questions about its performance. DiNapoli's office released a copy of the audit to The Associated Press a day before it is to be released publicly. The Justice Center said in a statement that state law prohibited it from handing over the records, which included unsubstantiated reports of abuse and neglect that contained confidential information. DiNapoli is seeking legislation to make it clear the agency should release the records going forward.

Spread the word to end the 'R word'

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 1:32pm
The annual campaign to end the R Word in Rochester is underway. "The R word, retarded, is an ugly and demeaning word, and has no place at City Hall or elsewhere for that matter," said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, shortly before reading a proclamation that Wednesday, March 1st is the day to spread the word to end the word in the city of Rochester. "It not only hurts those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it hurts families and friends, as well," she said. The campaign to end the R word started in 2009, and some local 60 organizations are now participating, including many schools and colleges. Ann Costello is Director of the Golisano Foundation, which has led the local campaign since 2011. She says the use of the R word is as cruel and offensive as any other slur. "The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and to educate the general public on the demeaning and hurtful definition and the use of the word retarded. Often used as a slur, and without knowing it, it is a

Families of developmentally disabled seek more funding for caregivers

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 7:07pm
Just one month before the state budget is due, numerous interest groups are converging on the State Capitol, asking that they be included in the budget. Among the more impassioned efforts is one from developmentally disabled people and their caregivers. They are seeking $45 million in state subsidies to pay workers more money to comply with the rising minimum wage in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature last year phased in an increase that will eventually lead to a $15 hourly wage in New York City and a $12.50 wage upstate. Former Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, who has a son with severe development disabilities, said the money is “loose change” in a $160 billion state budget. He said worker shortages with vacancy rates as high as 20 percent at some facilities have led to employees working overtime while not earning enough to live decently themselves. “They can’t pay their bills, they qualify for food stamps, there’s something wrong,” Weisenberg said. “The state has an