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Inclusion Desk

The Inclusion Desk is a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about inclusion. The Inclusion Desk grew from the Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. 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.

Marsha King

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.

Andrea Francis

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.”

arcmonroe.org

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.

Provided

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.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

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.

Tianna Manon/WXXI News

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. 

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.

Musician redefines herself after hearing loss

Apr 4, 2018
Photo Credit: Eastman School of Music

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.

AutismUp.org

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.

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.

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