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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.

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.

Annual campaign to end the "R-Word" underway

Mar 7, 2018
Alex Crichton

Monroe County, the town of Irondequoit, the city of Rochester and the state of New York all marked Wednesday, March 7, as “Spread the Word to End the R-Word," day, an effort led locally by the Golisano Foundation.

That R-Word is "retard" or "retarded," considered offensive and derogatory to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to Evalyn Gleason, grants coordinator for the Golisano Foundation.

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Thousands of athletes participated in the Special Olympics New York State Winter Games Saturday.

The second floor of the convention center was packed with volunteer’s coaches and athletes getting ready for a full day of floor hockey.

Teams from all around the state made the trip to participate. Andy Watson was with his team from Brooklyn, he’s been coaching for over 30 years. He talked about what being a part of the Special Olympics means to him.

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The Olympics in Pyeongchang aren’t the only ones to look out for this weekend.

The New York State Special Olympics will take place all day Saturday in venues across Rochester. Nearly 1,000 athletes and coaches will be in town to compete.

As an Honorary Chair of the winter games, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo hosted some of the athletes in the legislature chambers Wednesday morning.

A recently passed House bill has many in the disability community speaking out.

Advocates say that the ADA Education and Reform Act would gut many provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Ericka Jones is a Systems Advocate with the  Center for Disability Rights says now, when a person files a complaint about a business not being accessible, it’s reviewed and resolved fairly soon.

But this new bill would give businesses 180 days to act.

AutismUp and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester are combining forces to provide support for families of individuals with autism or other developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The two organizations are launching a service to connect families with the support and services they will need following a diagnosis.

Malinda Ruit/WXXI News

People like Jonathan Jackson tend to have an entourage. An entourage can consist of professionals and family members who support someone with disabilities in all kinds of ways.

Often, family members do the bulk of caregiving, and as children grow up, questions arise: What will adulthood look like for them? Who will lead their future entourage? 

We’re following the adventures of composer Glenn McClure, who journeyed to Antarctica in late 2016. During an epic journey funded by the National Science Foundation, the SUNY Geneseo and Eastman professor lived in a tent on an ice shelf and worked with scientists to collect data. He is now using that data as inspiration for new music.

Take a listen:

The composer writes:

Veronica Volk/WXXI News

When Akin Johnson was nearing the end of high school, he was clear about what he wanted to do next. He wanted to get a job.

In recent years, there has been a push to get people with disabilities into the general workforce. But despite these initiatives, some students like Akin who aspire to work are running into a problem. They’re being told they’re not independent enough to make it in a work environment.

School dances, football games, scouts, and gymnastics. These are just a few noteworthy childhood memories for many. They’re also the types of activities that are more enjoyable with a friend by your side. That’s where Rochester’s Starbridge comes in.

The organization offers varied activities in school districts throughout the Rochester region through its TIES program (Together Including Every Student). TIES pairs students with developmental disabilities with peer volunteers who learn how to support participants and positively impact the lives of others. On this edition of Need to Know we learn what makes the program work from the participants themselves.

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