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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: 15 min 1 sec ago

Want a diploma? Go through this maze first

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:02am
In the first episode of Exited , explore an early factor in transition – graduation tracks – through the experience of 17-year-old Nate, a student who doesn’t quite fit on any one track. High school plays a huge part in determining what happens next in a young person's life. And for students like Nate, it can get even more complicated.

Adaptive music lessons give students a place to be themselves

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 1:32pm
The benefits of music on individuals with autism are widely known. Improved focus, advances in speech and language, and better motor skills. But sometimes it’s about the growth that you can’t quantify in numbers. On a Tuesday night in a sleepy plaza in Penfield, the Music Education Center is buzzing. Kids are in the waiting room, parents are catching up and students are practicing anything from trombone to piano. Noah Svokos is a curly haired 13 year old who has been taking piano lessons for 5 years at the center. The facility is open to anyone but they have a focus on adaptive music lessons, for individuals with disabilities. Noah’s dad Tony Svokos brought him to class, and said over the years he’s seen his sons confidence grow, his memory get sharper, and he can remember notes and song titles and adapt these skills to his day to day life. Tony says places like this center are essential. “Like it or not, there is a bit of a stigma still when it comes to special needs kids, kids who

First episode of Exited comes November 13

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 9:33am
Leaving the world of adolescence and entering the adult world — the real world — can be a confusing time for anyone. But for young people with disabilities, it can feel like arriving at a cliff as they leave behind the cocoon of school and sometimes struggle to find a place where they belong. Exited , launching Nov. 13, is a podcast that will bring you the stories of eight young people, ranging in age from 17 to 26, as they navigate transitions in various settings – high school, higher education, sheltered workshops, day programs and home life.

Gaelynn Lea talks violin, disability rights; but not always at the same time

Sat, 10/28/2017 - 12:38pm
NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest Winner Gaelynn Lea is in Rochester this weekend for a performance at Nazareth College Saturday. She never thought she would be a performer full time. Which is a funny thought to come from someone who in the last year had 200 shows in 39 states and 6 different countries. Born with Brittle Bone Disease, Lea is a violin player but also uses the platform she’s been given to talk about disability rights. Music has been in her life since she was young. Her mother is choir director and together her parents ran a dinner theater in Duluth, Minnesota. But it wasn’t until fourth grade when she first saw an orchestra and decided she wanted to play the cello. When the cello wasn’t a possibility based on her size, her teacher helped her learn the violin in the style of a cello. As a music teacher herself, Lea said she's heard many stories from students who got negative reinforcement from parents and teachers while learning music. "I don’t think it’s a teacher’s job to

Connections: How "self-direction" enables people with disabilities to live more independent lives

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 3:36pm
An emerging model called self-direction is enabling people with disabilities to live more independent lives. Self-directed individuals choose where they live, they design their own days and activities, and they have more control over the funding they receive for daily support services. While the model has produced positive results for people in our community, advocates say not everyone knows about it or understands the process well. We discuss what self-direction means, and we hear from people in our community who are navigating the process. Our guests: Jeiri Flores, disability rights advocate who is in the beginning stages of the self-direction process Joyce Steel, mother of a young man utilizing self-directed services, and co-founder of In the Driver's Seat Sue Ormandy, self-direction liaison at the Finger Lakes Regional Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Molly Clifford , president of the board of directors for Prevention 1st , and member of Rochester City Council

Connections: NPR Tiny Desk Concert winner Gaelynn Lea

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:25pm
The winner of NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Concert is a remarkable musician from Duluth, Minnesota named Gaelynn Lea . Lea is a classically trained fiddler whose music includes Celtic and American fiddle traditions. Her submission, Someday We'll Linger in the Sun , was the judges' unanimous choice. If you watch Lea's video, you'll notice that she plays her violin in a style that you might not expect -- she holds it in front of herself, like a cello. Lea has brittle bone disease, and when she fell in love with the cello as a young student, it was difficult for her to hold it. A teacher noticed, was inspired by Lea's gift for music, and helped her learn how to play the violin in the same style. Now, Lea plays solo shows and with her band. She's also a teacher and an advocate for people with disabilities. We talk to Lea about her music, her success, and about how to make all stages accessible to everyone. She'll be in Rochester for a performance and talk at Nazareth College , but first, she joins

Special Touch Bakery opens larger facility in Rochester, adds jobs and training

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 3:57pm
Holy Childhood, the non-profit, non-denominational organization based in Henrietta that helps people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, has officially opened its expanded bakery operation. It’s called ‘Special Touch Bakery,‘ and the 20,000 foot facility is located on Mount Read Blvd. It provides employment and training for people with disabilities as well as produces pies, which it has been serving in Rochester for decades. Now, with the help of Palmer Food Services, Holy Childhood has plans to eventually distribute to more than 25 states. Joe Perdicho is project manager for the new bakery. He says people with disabilities hired for the new spot will make the same as other individuals working there. “They’re hired….a baker’s a baker, so when they were hired as employees of the bakery they’re paid the same wages as other production folks.” Sherrodney Fulmore is one of the bakers; he used to work at the much smaller bakery located at Holy Childhood in Henrietta, and he

WATCH: Inclusive and accessible trick-or-treating

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 4:00am Trick-or-Treat night is right around the corner. What you may not know is that dressing up in scary costumes and venturing from porch to porch to get that handful of sugar isn’t always easy or possible for everyone. For children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities the centuries-old Halloween traditions are not always accessible and inclusive, but you can learn how they can be.

WATCH: Is ridesharing in Rochester accessible for everyone?

Mon, 10/23/2017 - 4:00am On October 19, the Center for Disability Rights hosted a candidate forum on disability issues. WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer moderated the event last year where one question continued to come up for area politicians: Will you vote to approve ride-hailing even if companies are not required to ensure people of all abilities can access rides? Fast-forward 12 months and now Uber and Lyft are both operating in Rochester. But are they operating for everyone? Biandudi Hofer recently met with Center for Disability Rights Board Member Kenyatta DaCosta to get his take.

WATCH: The power of employment for individuals with disabilities

Sun, 10/22/2017 - 11:00am It’s a phrase some of you have likely heard more than once: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While researchers say the precise attribution is questionable, some would say the meaning behind the phrase bears some truth. But for the more than 10 percent of unemployed Americans with a disability - which is nearly double the unemployment rate of those without a disability - finding a job is the ultimate goal. You’ll meet Justin, a young man who found a job he loves. A local organization believes Justin’s story is one of many that drive home the importance of building inclusive work communities to help understand the diverse strengths of all abilities.

Golisano exhibit at RIT looks at the expansion of health services for people with disabilities

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 5:34pm
Philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano was honored Friday at RIT for his contributions to global health, specifically through Special Olympics. Golisano’s effort to improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities is being celebrated with a special exhibit in the atrium of the College of Computing and Information Sciences that bears his name. Golisano donated $37 million to start what is called ‘Healthy Communities ‘ five years ago, which helps screen Special Olympics athletes for a range of health issues. And Golisano says that effort continues to expand on a global basis. “It’s such a worthwhile cause and effort, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t expand, there’s been other contributors to the program, which have helped finance it. And the goodwill of the medical community to help out voluntarily, that’s terrific,” he told WXXI News. Golisano says the need for those services has been critically important. “When 40 percent of athletes that show up at an athletic

Police, first responders receive training on how to handle people with autism

Fri, 10/20/2017 - 9:31am
Individuals with autism can be at risk when law enforcement and first responders do not know how to react to them during an incident. But a recent training seminar hosted by Arc of Seneca Cayuga in Auburn was meant to bring more awareness of the autism community to first responders.

WATCH: Power of employment for those with disabilities; does ride-hailing work for everyone?

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 7:00pm Some people call it the “daily grind,” but on this edition of Need to Know you’ll meet others who describe it as a “daily dream.” We discuss power of employment for individuals with disabilities and why this month federal and local agencies are on calling on more companies to diversify their workforce. Also on the show, ride-hailing companies now operating in upstate New York are intended to make getting from point A to point B easier. But do their services work for everyone? And with Halloween right around the corner we look into what it takes to make the holiday’s festivities accessible and inclusive for all kids in our community.

Golisano gives $5 million for new pediatric behavioral health and wellness center

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:18am
Philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano announced on Thursday that he is pledging $5 million to support construction of a new pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Center at the University of Rochester. Golisano, whose support also resulted in the Golisano Children’s Hospital being named after him, says the new pediatric facility will address gaps in care and accommodate more clinical staff to help reduce the number of children who are on a waiting list for services. “Now, when we talk about providing comprehensive care to children and their families, we can include expanded and enhanced behavioral health services. I’m confident that Golisano Children’s Hospital will become a leader in this field,” Golisano said. The $10 million building will be located near the intersection of South Avenue and Science Parkway. The new services include an Intensive Outpatient Service Line which will allow youth to get a higher level of care than traditional outpatient services, enabling them

NY starts new tax-free savings accounts for the disabled

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:37pm
The state comptroller has announced that New York is joining 28 other states in offering a program that will help parents with disabled children save money for their future. The program is modeled on the college savings program, which also is operated by the comptroller’s office. It allows an account to be set up in the name of any New Yorker who is diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26. Friends and relatives can contribute up to $14,000 a year for a total of $100,000, and the money can be used tax-free to help pay for the disabled person’s education, housing, transportation and other expenses. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the program is even more important now, with uncertainty over what President Donald Trump and Congress may do to repeal or change the Affordable Care Act. “There’s so much anxiety because of the uncertainty at the federal level,” DiNapoli said. “Especially for those who depend on support from government.” The comptroller said he hopes the program

New apartment complex offers inclusive living

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:26am
A new apartment complex in the town of Sweden is providing affordable homes for people with disabilities and low to moderate income individuals and families. The 56-unit complex is co-owned by Lifetime Assistance and Rochester’s Cornerstone Group, a housing development and property management firm. Whitney MacIntyre, housing transition coordinator at Lifetime, says the new development is an inclusive environment where neighbors know neighbors and they can ask each other for help. "A lot of people here have said, 'I didn't even know people with disabilities live here,' and I said, 'I know, because they're just like you or I. They may just struggle a little here or there and they may just need a little support.' " Lifetime is the service agency for 14 of the 56 apartment units. Staff provides on-site services including help with cooking, budgeting, and coordination of Medicaid services. Frances Apartments is named in memory of Brockport native, suffragist, and civil rights activist

Inclusive art studio hides 200 rabbit sculptures in Rochester parks

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:15pm
Despite the gray sky outside, inside the studio was quite cheerful. The bright, colorful space housed three girls chatting about the weekend while glazing handmade bunnies. Sarah Beren is a licensed creative art therapist and owns Spotted Rabbit , a studio with art classes, art therapy and an apprenticeship program for a population within the disability community she saw was underserved. "I went to a training about job development for them. And I started asking, 'Well, what about these people that need staff with them or are nonverbal who can’t be left alone in the community?' " What she found was hardly anything. To fill this void, Beren created the program, which she says gives people who are highly functional yet can’t quite work independently a purpose, a structured schedule and a job - artists sell their work around Rochester. Ellie Anolik is one of those artists; she said her favorite medium is clay. "I like how you can get mad at it, and you can take it all out on the clay.”

Rochester's new train station is open for business

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 3:14pm
Rochester’s new train station is turning heads. The brick and glass building replaces a smaller and temporary building local patrons were forced to use for over three decades. And it marks the end of a three-year construction project which cost roughly $30 million. The station opened on Friday with a ribbon-cutting from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “It’s about time frankly. And we’ve been pretty patient about this,” said Slaughter. She's been working on the new station for over seven years, securing the first million dollars back in 2010 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act under President Barack Obama. Among many changes, the Rochester Station is fully compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, giving locals the first compliant station in Rochester history. Slaughter said she depended on the input of students from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf when

Disabilities no longer a barrier to Great Lakes

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 7:13am
Julie Cataldo is strapped into a harness as she sits in her wheelchair just a few feet from the edge of the Erie Canal. A hydraulic lift hoists her from the chair and swings her out over the water. The lift lowers her into a kayak, and its operator adjusts her seat. Veronica Volk reports

Disability rights advocates cheer defeat of latest health care bill as they gear up for next battle

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 11:26am
Local disability rights advocates say they and others are starting to make progress in their efforts to change the national conversation around health care. Over 20 Rochester-area residents were among the 101 people arrested for disrupting a Senate health care hearing in Washington on Monday. It was the second time this year protesters saw Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act fail. "We're feeling relieved for the time being, but we know that for some reason, this bill just won't die,” said Stephanie Woodward. “It keeps coming back and we've been fighting this the whole year now. We are going to celebrate now and get ready to fight the next one." Woodward, the director of advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights, says health care repeal efforts would cut Medicaid and force people with disabilities to move out of the community and into underfunded nursing facilities where their lives are at risk. While she admits she and other protesters can't take all the credit for