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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: 14 min 38 sec ago

WATCH: Starbridge TIES program

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 5:00am School dances, football games, scouts, and gymnastics. These are just a few noteworthy childhood memories for many. They’re also the types of activities that are more enjoyable with a friend by your side. That’s where Rochester’s Starbridge comes in. The organization offers varied activities in school districts throughout the Rochester region through its TIES program (Together Including Every Student). TIES pairs students with developmental disabilities with peer volunteers who learn how to support participants and positively impact the lives of others. On this edition of Need to Know we learn what makes the program work from the participants themselves.

WATCH: NPR's Tiny Desk concert winner Gaelynn Lea

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 5:00am Classically trained violinist and songwriter Gaelynn Lea has been immersed in music since her childhood. While she says her primary focus in life is on her career as a musician, it was her rise to fame after winning the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk contest when she also took on a new role - that of a disability advocate and public speaker. During a recent concert in Rochester at Nazareth College, Lea told Need to Know that the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the arts has given her a new stage to share a powerful message.

WATCH: Who is helping to destigmatize autism in Rochester?

Sun, 01/14/2018 - 11:30am A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. That’s how Oxford Dictionaries defines “stigma.” And it’s that word, stigma, that continues to generate stereotypes and myths about the developmental disease, autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. There are people right here in our community working daily to educate, enlighten and destigmatize autism and a few of them join us on this edition of Need to Know .

WATCH: Destigmatizing autism; Tiny Desk contest winner Gaelynn Lea

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 8:00pm It’s a diagnosis entwined with an almost unavoidable stigma in our society. A stigma that carries more burdens than most may realize. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll hear from local advocates working to destigmatize autism. Also on the show, she’s a winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk contest. She’s also a powerhouse musician and public speaker advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities on the stage and in the world. Don’t miss our interview with Gaelynn Lea. Lastly, we’ll learn about a program first developed by two parents that’s now creating inclusion and building communities in dozens of school districts throughout western and central New York.

Affordable, accessible housing continues to elude people with disabilities

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:01pm
Some 2,000 Rochester area residents with disabilities are in need of housing. And that number only reflects individuals who get services through one state agency, the New York State Office of People With Developmental Disabilities. The overall need for affordable, accessible housing is even greater. This has always been an issue, but it's become a bigger problem in recent years, as more people are interested in living independently. "Either they are interested in moving out of the family home, or they are on a list for a group home and the group homes are not really an option for a lot of people any longer," says Janet Dreitlein, Community Housing Liaison at the Monroe Housing Collaborative. Individuals who want to live on their own within the community often encounter at least one or two major barriers. The first is income. Earnings for people with disabilities are often limited to a monthly social security check that can be as little as just over $800. This prices potential tenants

The Rebound documentary on wheelchair basketball comes to Rochester

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 2:49pm
The independence that sports can bring to people with disabilities is something that is explored in a documentary about a wheelchair basketball team that will be shown in Rochester this week. It’s called The Rebound , and it will be shown Wednesday evening at The Little Theatre, followed by a discussion afterward including a Skype interview with the film’s director. WXXI and the Al Sigl Community of Agencies are partnering for this free screening. The film follows the underdog journey of the “Miami Heat Wheels “ wheelchair basketball team. There has been a Rochester wheelchair basketball team for a number of years, and the current coach of the "Rochester Wheels", Xavier Major, notes that even when his team plays against competitors, they all share a common bond. “We’ve all kind of encouraged each other and learned from each other and because of our disabilities and the time that we’ve been disabled, we’ve kind of seen each other over the years and have made good friends locally and

Agency wants to inspire more people with autism to travel

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 6:45am
Nicole and Chris Thibault dreamed of having a family of avid travelers. And when they had their first son, Tristan, they started making that dream come true: A cruise when he was 6 months old, his first trip to Disney at 1 1/2. But a year later, something changed. The three of them were standing in line to enter Disney World. ”I was holding him in my arms and we were waiting for our turn, and his anxiety level was so high that he just turned around and he slapped me," Nicole says. "And he’s not a violent kid, he just couldn’t handle it. His little body was just so overwhelmed, that he turned around and he hit me. And I knew that at that point something is going on, something is not right.” That was the last vacation they went on before Tristan was diagnosed with autism. Nicole quit her job to monitor her son’s therapies and started to work from home as a travel agent. It’s then that she realized there was a void in the travel industry: She saw a need for agents for families that

For Some With Intellectual Disabilities, Ending Abuse Starts With Sex Ed

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 5:06am
Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of sexual assault. In the sex education class for adults with intellectual disabilities , the material is not watered down. The dozen women and men in a large room full of windows and light in Casco, Maine, take on complex issues, such as how to break up or how you know you're in an abusive relationship. And the most difficult of those issues is sexual assault. Katy Park, the teacher, begins the class with a phrase they've memorized: "My body is my own," Park starts as the rest join in, "and I get to decide what is right for me." People with intellectual disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate more than seven times that for people without disabilities. NPR asked the U.S. Department of Justice to use data it had collected, but had not published, to calculate that rate. At a moment when Americans are talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment, a yearlong NPR investigation finds that people with

The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 5:00am
Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault. Pauline wants to tell her story — about that night in the basement, about the boys and about the abuse she wanted to stop. But she's nervous. "Take a deep breath," she says out loud to herself. She takes a deep and audible breath. And then she tells the story of what happened on the night that turned her life upside down. "The two boys took advantage of me," she begins. "I didn't like it at all." Pauline is a woman with an intellectual disability. At a time when more women are speaking up about sexual assault — and naming the men who assault or harass them — Pauline, too, wants her story told. Her story, NPR found in a yearlong investigation, is a common one for people with intellectual disabilities. NPR obtained unpublished Justice Department data on sex crimes. The results show that people with intellectual disabilities — women and men — are the victims of sexual assaults at rates more than seven

WATCH: How to get more disability representation in politics

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 5:00am The largest minority group in the United States is people with disabilities. The individuals within this group are incredibly diverse themselves comprising of different races, cultures, religions and socio-economic classes. Considering this, why don’t we hear more about disability issues in the political sphere aside from so-called campaign promises during election years? And how would more disability representation in politics affect the issues that matter most to Americans with disabilities? Those questions and more examined on this edition of Need to Know .

WATCH: When ridesharing doesn't share fairly

Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:30am The phrase “sharing economy” is becoming a household name. The options available in this collaborative landscape include services like: coworking spaces, home and apartment sharing, fashion reselling, talent sharing, and something relatively new in upstate New York - ridesharing. This past fall Need to Know reported on concerns from area residents who say individuals with disabilities, in particular those utilizing wheelchairs, have been forgotten about when it comes to this sector of the “sharing economy.” Resident Kenyatta DaCosta was curious to see if a ridesharing service would be able to get him from Point-A to Point-B while accommodating his motorized wheelchair. He had his friend schedule the ride for him since he doesn’t have a smartphone. He allowed Need to Know to observe the experience which he also documented in this video diary utilizing a smartphone camera WXXI provided him. Check out his experience on this edition of Need to Know.

WATCH: The 'sharing economy' isn't sharing fairly

Thu, 01/04/2018 - 8:00pm We’re now living in the midst of a ‘sharing economy.’ If you’re looking to lend, borrow, exchange or share there’s likely a service to meet your needs. However, one service, among others, is leaving some Stranded. That story on this edition of Need to Know. Also on the show, the issues that matter most to more than 56 million Americans and what it will take to get them front and center in the political sphere.

State Regents vote to expand diploma options for special education students

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 5:51am
The New York State Board of Regents this week voted to expand options for special education students who struggle with academic exams. The Regents adopted regulations to expand the criteria under which students with disabilities may be eligible to graduate high school with a local diploma. That’s a high school diploma that has different requirements from those needed to get a Regents Diploma. State Education Department officials say that some students with disabilities are unable to demonstrate proficiency on standardized tests even with certain accommodations. With the changes, students would no longer need to earn minimum scores on state Regents exams in English and Math. But they would still need to meet certain conditions. Former Fairport School District Superintendent, Bill Cala, who has followed this and related issues over the years, says that while the final regulations are not available yet, this is a promising development. “I think it’s a great start for alternative pathways

Middle school students partner with RIT on device for sensory challenges

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 6:03pm
Local middle school students are teaming up with students at Rochester Institute of Technology to create a therapeutic device for children with autism and other sensory challenges. Both the Kids Miracle Making Club and RIT’s Effective Access Technology program use technology to help people with physical or developmental challenges. In a pilot program launched just this fall, Access Tech students mentored students at Brighton’s Twelve Corners Middle School, showing how the club’s program can look in a school setting. “What we did in our partnership was say ‘jeez we’re doing the same thing you’re doing just at a younger level?’” said Steve Pellow, the kids’ club’s founder and president. “How do we get all the great things you’re doing at RIT into the community? What better way to teach our kids through the club and interact with you and have them do what you’re doing.” Together, they worked on the “moon pad,” a floor device that captures children’s attention. “The Moon Pad was one device

Study finds major gaps in special education spending in New York

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 6:03am
There are major gaps in special education spending in New York. A study by the New York State Association of School Business Officials found that spending in wealthier districts for special needs students was almost double the spending in more impoverished districts. “Special education spending in the lowest need districts is $43,635 per special education pupil while spending in the highest need districts is $25,823 per special education pupil,” wrote researchers of the study. And this translates into major gaps of achievement. 80 percent of special needs students in wealthier districts graduate, while just 40 percent of special needs students graduate from lower-income districts. They’re also less likely to score high on state testing. “The cost of educating high needs students is going to be twice as much, three times as much as educating a general education student,” said Michael Borges, Executive Director of NYSABO. “In those same communities with a high degree of high needs

Disabled and their caregivers ask for more pay

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 5:40pm
New York faces fiscal challenges in 2018, but that has not stopped groups from asking for more money in the new state budget, including agencies that provide care to people with disabilities. Chanting, “Be fair to direct care,” about 200 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, along with their family members and caregivers, gathered in a reception area outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Wednesday to ask for more help in paying the workers more money. Earlier this year, the groups successfully lobbied for an additional $55 million in subsidies in the state budget that will be phased in over the next four years. It goes to nonprofit groups that care for the about 130,000 New Yorkers with autism, brain injuries, Down syndrome and other disabilities to help them keep pace with the state-mandated increases in the state’s minimum wage. But Tom McAlvanah with the Interagency Council, which represents many of the nonprofits in the downstate area, said that even with the subsidies,

ThinkDifferently initiative asks communities for ideas on how to be more inclusive

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 3:23pm
ThinkDifferently is an initiative started by Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro to change the way individuals, businesses and organizations relate to people of all abilities in their community. Molinaro was in Rochester Wednesday, meeting with Senator Rich Funke, as well as a number of community organizers to talk about ways to be more inclusive to people with disabilities. Funke said we have great awareness here, but can always do more. "Are there things that we could do better at our museums, are there things that we could do better at our parks, are there things that we could do better at the zoo or things of that nature to better include?" Funke was active in bringing the project to Rochester. Molinaro said he was inspired to start the campaign as the father of three children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. But he says the initiative isn’t for his daughter, it’s for the rest of us. "Who have to confront this silent prejudice of low expectations. Or the feeling that

The uncertain future of segregated workshops

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 2:08am
Sheltered workshops, where many people with disabilities go to work, have been around for decades. But they’re controversial for a few reasons: They’re usually segregated, and most workers earn less than minimum wage because they’re paid based on how many things they produce. Sheltered workshops are changing now, though. Some are being phased out, and some are integrating into more traditional businesses — whether people who are working in them like it or not.

Navigating Life On Campus When You're On The Autism Spectrum

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 4:25pm
When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There . James Carmody never had any doubt that he would go to college. He loved learning, he worked hard and he was excited to make a positive impact on the world. But as the end of his senior year approached and college loomed, James was a little worried. James has Asperger's syndrome — now included under the umbrella term "autism spectrum disorder." The condition means social interactions can be difficult or awkward for James, who is 18. Sometimes he has a hard time knowing the right thing to do or say. Or, James says, he'll get hyper-focused on a particular topic or task. He remembers one incident in high school, when he wanted to learn how to clean one of the machines at his part-time job at McDonald's. But instead of asking for

Extra: What does Exited mean?

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:01am
People have been asking about the name of this podcast. Reporter Karen Shakerdge talked to lots of people for this series; listen to how some of them describe what "Exited" means. Also, stay tuned afterward for a preview of the third episode.