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.


Syracuse city councilwoman, Susan Boyle, is questioning the Monroe County District Attorney's office about why there was no arrest in the alleged attack of a non-verbal, autistic teen.

According to his mother and eyewitnesses, 15-year-old Chase Coleman was participating in a cross country run at Cobb's Hill Park on October 14, when a middle-aged, Rochester-area man got out of his car, approached Coleman during the race and shoved him to the ground.

Boyle sent a letter to the DA's office requesting an explanation, after a warrant application for the man's arrest was denied.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An investigation of state employees stealing from developmentally disabled people in their care has prompted a call for better oversight by the agency overseeing group homes for the disabled.

New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott says Thursday that her investigation found a widespread pattern of "preying on a vulnerable population by those charged with their care."

Alex Crichton

Some people who need a service or emotional support animal have been denied housing.

That's according to the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, Helen Diane Foster.

She says such animals are a protected class and denying housing on that basis is discrimination.

State officials joined local advocates at a forum today at the Strong in Rochester.

Foster says in regard to housing, 'no pet' clauses don't pertain to a support animal.

State lawmakers with disabled children, along with people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, rallied Monday at the State Capitol for more money in the budget to pay caregivers a living wage. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour downstate and $12.50 an hour upstate, saying mega-companies like McDonald’s and Burger King can afford to pay their workers more.


A Rochester doctor received the first Golisano Health Leadership Award on Thursday, for his decades-long career helping medically underserved communities.

Dr. Steve Sulkes, a professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital, works with children with developmental and behavioral challenges. Sulkes has also focused extensively on increasing access to healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Unified Sports program is growing in Western New York, but many of us are not familiar with the initiative.

Our guests explain how "unified" means inclusion, and how the program is impacting hundreds of students locally. You can watch a video of the program in action at Gates Chili High School and Spencerport High School. Our guests:

  • Billy Harmon, senior at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Michael Saporito, tenth grader at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Kimberle Ward, superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District
  • Tray Burton, Unified basketball coach at Edison Career and Technology High School in the Rochester City School District
  • Mike Murray, athletic director for Churchville-Chili Central School District
  • Dennis Fries, past president and current liaison to Unified basketball with Section V

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vetoed legislation to require a state study of the high vacancy and turnover rates among caregivers for developmentally disabled New Yorkers and what's needed to fix them.

Nonprofits that care for thousands of disabled people say their chronic understaffing is reaching a crisis, with nearly 10 percent job vacancies last year, nearly 25 percent staff turnover and remaining staff forced to work frequent unscheduled overtime.


The website WalletHub is out with a survey on the best and worst cities in the U.S. for people with disabilities and Rochester doesn't fare very well. The city was listed as the 4th worst among 150 cities, and an analyst for Wallet Hub Jill Gonzalez says that is partly due to a lack of jobs for people with disabilities.


Nazareth College announced today it has received the largest single gift in the school's history, $7.5 million from philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano.

It will go toward the construction of a new athletic training facility that school officials say will bring together the strengths of the college, Special Olympics and the Golisano Foundation.

Nazareth College President Daan Braveman says the Golisano Training Center will serve three purposes: it will provide an indoor track, fields, fitness areas, and training facilities.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's agency responsible for protecting the state's disabled told county prosecutors last fall that it would begin sending referrals of abuse cases to them, a move that came more than two years after it was created to fill a chronic gap in enforcement.

The Justice Center, whose suburban Albany office receives thousands of reports of alleged abuse and neglect, has its own prosecutors who have jurisdiction along with the counties' 62 district attorneys.