WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

Last week the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on a case that some say may change special education.

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.

Sesame Street Workshop

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.

Martin Kaufman / WXXI News

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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:

freeimages.com/Jean Scheijen

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.

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