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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: 25 min 42 sec ago

How music creates comfort, acceptance, and individuality

Sat, 05/12/2018 - 8:38am
Familiar sounds and movements can make difficult tasks seem easier because they are comforting. Through those associations, music can connect the mind to the soul. Take Jason King, for example. “Jason has always been a handful,” said Marsha King about her 16-year-old son. “He was diagnosed with bipolar/ADHD when he was about 9.” Jason has a 134 IQ and is as mature as a 10-12 year old. When Jason was 15, he was stabilized with medication and diagnosed with high functioning autism. “One of the biggest issues he experiences is the ability to be flexible and follow direction to do things when he should,” his mother said. However, Jason moves to the beat of Artists Unlimited . There, Jason can express himself because it gives him the opportunity to perform on stage, just like he does at home.

Crisis support for individuals with autism is planned in response to death of Trevyan Rowe

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 12:39pm
A 24-hour helpline for Rochester-area families with children on the autism spectrum will be place by July 1. It's one of the responses advocates say is needed after the death of Trevyan Rowe. The 14-year-old, whose family said he had autism, died in the Genesee River after walking away from School 12 in March. “As the parent of children with autism, that story really hit home hard,” said Andrea Francis of Farmington. “I think the community is still shaken up over it.” Francis’ 5-year-old twin sons, Keegan and Aiden, were diagnosed with autism when they were 3-and-a-half. Aiden has a mild form of autism and Keegan falls on the moderate to severe end of the spectrum. Francis can envision taking advantage of the helpline once it’s operating. It will be staffed by trained information and referral specialists who can connect families with the right services. In a true emergency, callers will be directed to 911. "With children on the spectrum, as much as they love routine and they thrive

Arc of Monroe accepting applications for its employment training program

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 2:02pm
The Arc of Monroe County is accepting applications for its Adult Project SEARCH program, which prepares adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for employment. Kayt Davidson is director of transition services with Job Path at the Arc of Monroe. She says the program focuses on employment readiness. "It takes place right in a business and we partner with the Del Monte hotel group for that, so we have internships throughout the four Del Monte hotels," she said. "We partner with OPWDD and ACCESS-VR, those are our funders for this program. Really, it's work, work, work, that’s what we focus on." Davidson says the internship program in the hotels amounts to much more than housekeeping and cleaning. “We’re working on transferable work skills. We do internships in culinary, we do internships in guest services," she said. "We do so some cleaning, but that’s not what the program is based on, so we have a lot of opportunities for people.” To take part in one of the internships,

In turbulent year for special ed, city district's budget under scrutiny

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:07am
Editor's note: Parents are outraged at the apparent mismanagement of special education in the Rochester City School District. In the second of two stories about the district's special education program, the recent budget proposal aims to address some of parents' concerns, but some worry it doesn't go far enough. In a lot of ways, this year’s school budget is like any other year. Almost $1 billion spread out across 53 schools and almost 30,000 kids. Positions added, positions cut, a deficit that needs balancing. But in the wake of a tumultuous year for special education, the budget is under particularly intense scrutiny by parents and other advocates. “Budgets are moral documents. Budgets are statements of priority.” Bridget Hurley is the director of advocacy with the Children’s Agenda. This was the youth advocacy group’s first year analyzing the district’s budget. “They’re numbers, but they’re much, much more. They are the public communication to the community that this is what the

Parents of city students in special ed call for action

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:51am
Editor's note: The tragic death of a Rochester School District special education student who wandered away from his school unnoticed stunned and outraged the community. In the first of two stories about the district's special education program, parents of students with disabilities are calling for changes. The Rev. Marilyn Cunningham is pastor of Graves Memorial CME Church in Rochester. She’s also a mother and grandmother. Cunningham said her experience with the Rochester City School District special education spans decades. She had children in the system, and now she has grandchildren with special needs as well. “Special needs. It says something. It’s just not a word -- it says, ‘I need special attention.” Overall, she said, her experience has mostly been good, but over the last few school years, she has seen special education classrooms understaffed and students underserved. Specifically last year, the district eliminated 11 coordinating administrators of special education, or CASEs,

Students with autism hang out with first responders

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 5:33pm
Staff at the Mary Cariola Children’s Center school say emergencies can be particularly scary for young people with autism. The center specializes in working with young people who have disabilities and on Thursday, teacher Denina Williams Goings organized a Sensory Friendly First Responders Event to help the students get more comfortable with emergency responders and their equipment. “They respond very well to structure and to familiarity," Goings explained. "So when they see a familiar face, a familiar uniform, something familiar like a fire truck or familiar police officers, they’re much more likely to respond well to something they’ve been introduced to when they’re not in a crisis." The sirens and flashing lights on emergency vehicles can trigger students who are on the spectrum. They may shut down or seek a safe space and, if their adult advocate is the one in danger, they may be left without someone to speak on their behalf. That’s why Goings says it’s equally important that first

Challenger Miracle Field gets grant to expand

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 10:01am
The Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester has received a significant grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. Just over $487,000 will go towards the construction and operation of their inclusive complex in Webster, which makes sports more accessible for children with disabilities. President of the Board of Directors for Challenger Miracle Field, Ron Kampff says part of that money will go towards phase two of the field’s buildout . "The big bathrooms for wheelchairs, concession stand, a pavilion for the kids and players and families to gather, also a storage area. It’s just anything that any other little league facility would have for everyone." Locally, 400 participants play on nine challenger teams. Kampff wants the building to be a place parents and players can hang out after a game, especially as uses for the field continue to grow. "They played flag football in the fall, it was great, and once the weather breaks they’ll be playing soccer and whatever other sports you can

Musician redefines herself after hearing loss

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 5:12pm
Gaelen McCormick has been losing her hearing, to varying degrees over several years as a result of Ménière’s disease – a condition that also causes vertigo and tinnitus. "My husband and I have a morning ritual. Wake up, and the first thing he says, is “I love you” and the next thing I can say is “I can hear you” or “I can’t hear you” – and that’s how we start our day." The loss of hearing was a particular challenge for McCormick because of her profession: she is a musician. She actually stopped being able to hear out of one ear 12 years ago, but kept it a secret. That stopped being an option when the hearing in her other ear started fluctuating: "In the years leading up to it, some days I would hear fine, some days I would hear fine with distortion, some days my hearing would drop 50 percent, 70 percent, and I would just be like, do I go to the concert tonight? Do I call in sick? What do I do about this? And I never ever knew." McCormick recently started to speak publicly about the

Autism advocates hope to foster awareness and acceptance

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 11:18am
April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. A local advocate says most people are aware of the condition, with one in 68 children getting the diagnosis. But Rachel Rosner, director of education for AutismUp, says there's still room for improvement on the acceptance part. Rosner hopes people can move closer to understanding and respecting the rights of those on the autism spectrum to live and thrive in their communities. "Sometimes you think you know what's going on with a person you see with their child walking down the street or maybe in the aisle of the grocery store. You might not know, so rather than passing judgment on something that you don't know about, we just want people to be open to the possibility that everyone is doing the best they can." As part of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, Autism Up is offering a series of events and activities . They include a free, four-day training program to help parents and caregivers understand disability rights and special

WATCH: Ending the R-word

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 5:00am For 10 years Rochester has joined communities around the country to help do one thing: put an end to a word individuals with disabilities call offensive and derogatory - the R-word - meaning “retard” or “retarded.” It’s all part of an initiative spearheaded by the Golisano Foundation called: Spread the Word to End the Word. It’s linked to a national campaign launched by Special Olympics and Best Buddies. On this edition of Need to Know, we discuss the damaging impact of a word gone wrong.