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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: 26 min 44 sec ago

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 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

Connections: Ending the R-word

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 4:02pm
The annual push to "End the R-Word" is back on. Is it working? Last year, a comedian in a Showtime special delivered a deeply insulting rant about people with mental disabilities. The term still comes up on occasion in pop culture. We check in with our guests: Ann Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation Martha Mock, director of the Institute of Innovative Transition Nancy Bauter, president of the Nazareth College chapter of Best Buddies Jessica Gill, buddy director for the Nazareth College chapter of Best Buddies

New York pays $3 million to family of boy molested at group home

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 6:52am
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State is paying $3 million to the family of a developmentally disabled boy repeatedly molested by a staffer at a state-run group home who later wrote that lax supervision at the facility made it "a predator's dream." The former staffer, Stephen DeProspero, is now imprisoned in the Attica Correctional Facility. He was incriminated by videos and photographs he took of the molestation, which occurred from 2005 to 2008 at the facility located in central New York. "The lack of supervision there made it easy to do what I did," DeProspero said in a handwritten affidavit obtained by The Associated Press. "I could have stayed in that house for years and abused him every day without anybody even noticing at all. It was a predator's dream." State officials say new policies are in place to prevent similar crimes. But a leading critic of state institutional care said the problems persist. "Tragically, this sexual predator case is a drop in the bucket in regards to the

NTID, URMC partnership aims to remove barriers for deaf scientists

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 8:54am
A growing number of students at RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf are entering careers in science and medicine. But the deaf and hard of hearing population remains one of the most underrepresented groups in the biomedical fields. NTID is teaming up with the University of Rochester to create a "diversity hub of innovation" that would provide training and other resources for deaf scientists. They've already established a couple of training programs under the partnership, one for postdoctoral and another for masters degree students who want to pursue a doctoral degree, but NTID president Gerard Buckley, Ed.D., said those are just a couple of spokes in the wheel. Buckley envisions an innovation hub where expert sign language interpreters learn the specialized terms used in medicine and science. There would also be opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing scientists to network. Buckley says social isolation from colleagues is a real problem. "Your peers are sitting around

Best Buddies program matches students of all abilities

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 8:47am
There's a new program in the Rochester area designed to create new opportunities for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It's called "Best Buddies" and it's run by a global, non-profit organization. Local program manager Lindsay Jewett says this program was established in a number of area schools in the last several months, and it pairs up students who have intellectual or development disabilities with their peers who don't have those same disabilities. “It’s really giving them the opportunities that they may not have had to go to the movies, to go bowling, to have lunch with somebody that they may not have been able to before. For the children that do not have an IDD (intellectual or developmental disability) it opens up their eyes to what other people live their lives like, what opportunities they have , what limitations sometimes they have that’s not due to their own disability, but due to the structures that they are in, whether it be schools or the

RIT grad to sign for singers at the Super Bowl

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 6:26pm
RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf has a connection to the Super Bowl this weekend. On Sunday, RIT/NTID alumnus Kriston Lee Pumphrey will sign the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” prior to kickoff. Pumphrey is a 2010 graduate of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology and will perform along country music star Luke Bryan and Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Phillipa Soo, who are three of the original cast members of the Broadway show Hamilton. This will be Pumphrey’s first time performing at the game. He lives in Washington, D.C. and works for an online video network.

WATCH: Independent living for individuals with disabilities

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 7:29am
With 10 minutes left to go in his private session at CP Rochester , a little boy took the hand of physical therapist, Karen Terp, and led her to the hallway for an afternoon stroll. “You want to walk? Ok,” Terp said. Nudging Terp to initiate the walk is one of the few ways the four-year-old can communicate with her. When he first arrived at the center, which supports people who are living with physical and developmental disabilities, the boy, who cannot be identified, was a non-verbal two-year-old. Now, he’s a child of few words, however, he is still unable to walk without help. “He’s very close. He’s starting to take some steps,” Terp explained. “He wears a brace on one of his legs, so he needs a lot of help with that.” Terp and her student intern, Sarah, work with the boy every weekday. To assist with his cognitive challenges, CP Rochester provides him with special education. Amputated fingers also limit the use of his hands. “Because of the involvement that he has in his hands, an

Connections: "Inspiration porn" and how to create more inclusive environments

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 7:16pm
Have you heard the term, “inspiration porn?” A recent episode of the sitcom Speechless on ABC explored the subject. It refers to when able-bodied people characterize people with disabilities as objects of inspiration or one-dimensional saints because they live with physical or developmental differences. People with disabilities and disability rights activists say the term can be harmful and insulting because examples of “inspiration porn” are usually meant to benefit able-bodied people. They point to memes like the one featuring a swimmer with one leg and the phrase, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Critics also say the term shifts focus away from challenges faced by people with disabilities – accessibility, high unemployment rates, and more. We explore different perspectives on the issue, and discuss how to create more inclusive environments. Our guests: Brendan O’Riordan, communications officer for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office who was born with cerebral palsy

WATCH: Creative arts therapy and mental illness

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 8:00am It was Pablo Picasso who said “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” So to what degree can art heal, bring peace and lead to recovery in particular for those battling mental health disabilities? On this edition of Need to Know we learn about the impact of creative arts and other forms of therapy and treatment for mental illness.

WATCH: College and career aspirations for those with disabilities

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 8:00am The college and career conversation is a big deal for young people leaving high school. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, there was a point in time when such conversations didn’t happen. However, gains are being made in part because of the Higher Education Opportunity Act and because of parents and advocacy groups fighting for better access to postsecondary education. Now, there are more than 200 programs on college campuses around the United States, including a handful in Rochester, making the transition from high school to college and career possible for this demographic.