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Connections

Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, and WRUR-FM 88.5 in Rochester and WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

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We discuss disparities in autism diagnosis and treatment. The death of Trevyan Rowe has pushed the Golisano Autism Center to speed up plans to provide some services to families of children with autism in the City of Rochester.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 59 children has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the percentage of autism among African American and Hispanic children is nearing the percentage in white children. But African American and Hispanic children are less likely to receive ASD diagnoses and intervention services. Why? Studies point to a number of factors, including parent education, difficulty navigating the medical system, cultural barriers, and more.

We talk to the team at the Golisano Autism Center about how they hope to reduce those gaps in the near future. In studio:

Polling shows that the number of Americans who self-identify as non-religious is rising. But many atheists say this is actually a difficult time for them in this country. That’s because lawmakers who cite deeply religious backgrounds often set policy. The Supreme Court is just the latest front in those battles.

We discuss it with a panel of non-religious people and leaders. In studio:

First hour: Atheism and politics

Second hour: Disparities in autism diagnosis and treatment

Why do so few people vote? Last week, in primaries across the country, a very small percentage of voters decided to participate. New York State had particularly small turnout in most of its primary races. That has turned the spotlight on New York voting rules, including hours of voting, early voting, mail-in voting, registration, and more. Does something need to change? 

Our guests discuss how to improve voting access and enthusiasm. In studio:

If you’re a smartphone user, have you ever considered switching back to a “dumb” phone? According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone, and the share of those that own a smartphone is 77 percent. But new research shows that there are a growing number of people who have ditched the smartphone for flip phones or other phones not connected to the Internet.

While it’s unlikely that we’ll ever be back to the days of brick phones or landlines, experts say the reasons behind the dumb phone gaining popularity – security, financial, mental health – are worth discussing. This hour, we have a conversation about technology, boundaries, and how our devices impact our health (and you can stream it on your smartphone). In studio:

  • Caitlin Whyte, reporter and host of Weekend Edition at WXXI
  • Dr. Eric Caine, M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester
  • Mike Johansson, senior lecturer of communication at RIT, and social media consultant with Fixitology
  • Mark Sample, professor of history at MCC, and self-identified “dumb” phone user

freeimages.com/Eric Gross

First hour: The return of the "dumb" phone

Second hour: How to improve access to voting

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • The debate over civility, and if a restaurant should have asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave;
  • Gun ownership, with progressives who own firearms;
  • Germans' perceptions of the Trump Administration, with David Gill, Consul General of Germany in New York;
  • Surviving the Holocaust, with local survivor, Jack Feldman.

If the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in November’s mid-term elections, 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley, representing parts of New York City, was expected to be one of the leading candidates to become speaker.

But, that won’t happen.

That’s because an upstart Democratic Socialist defeated him in the congressional primary Tuesday. She’s 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and if she’s elected in November, she would be one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress.

So what does this victory mean, and what impact will it have on women and Latinos running for office in the future? We discuss with our guests:

  • Beatriz LeBron, community health worker at Rochester Regional Health, and Rochester City School Board Commissioner
  • Irene Sanchez, founder of Puertorriqueños Unidos en la Distancia (United in the Distance)
  • Annette Ramos, founder and executive director of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government workers who choose not to join a union cannot be charged for the cost of collective bargaining. The plaintiff in this case, Mark Janus, a child-support specialist for the state of Illinois, challenged a requirement that government workers who opt out of a union still have to pay partial dues to cover the union's cost of negotiation and other functions. It was a predictable 5-4 decision. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion with the court's conservatives joining him.

The decision is expected to be a blow to organized labor, but how detrimental can it be? Our guests discuss:

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that there are mixed messages about public trust in science, and science advocates say the field is under attack.

A group of graduate students at the University of Rochester Medical Center have joined together to try to improve perceptions of science. Students in the “Thinkers and Drinkers” group meet up with strangers at local bars and, in exchange for free appetizers, talk to them about science. The goal is to help the students improve their communication skills when it comes to explaining science, and to improve science literacy in the general population.

We talk with members of the group about their program and why they think it’s needed in this current moment.

  • Heather Natola, Ph.D., post-doctoral associate in the department of Biomedical Genetics at URMC, and co-founder of Thinkers and Drinkers
  • Jessica Hogestyn, Ph.D. candidate in the neuroscience graduate program at URMC, and co-founder of Thinkers and Drinkers
  • Tracey Baas, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology and executive director for the University of Rochester Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (URBEST) program at URMC

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