A number of local organizations are trying to change the way that people with intellectual and physical disabilities are perceived. Officials with these groups realize there are some longstanding assumptions that have to be challenged.
An official with Heritage Christian Services says people attending a recent conference on helping those with disabilities were asked to make some bold moves. Wendy Quarles is Director of the Center for Human Services Education at Heritage, which provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Quarles says the various organizations represented at that conference realize they need to find new ways to make people with disabilities feel that they are part of the community.
"One staff at a time, one person in the community at a time, we're asking them to look at people with disabilities as citizens, and we haven't done that in the past, we as a community at large."
A guest speaker at the conference, author Al Condeluci says it's all about relationships.
"It's about regularity of exchange, it's about similarity of experience that really become the cornerstone ingredients for relationship building, that's the stuff that gets people of the community."
WXXI and the Golisano Foundation this year are partnering in an effort to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities called "Move to Include". You can find more information at our website: www.wxxi.org/include