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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.

The New York State Senate and Assembly have recently passed a bill that creates a tax credit for people who want to live in visitable homes.

A universally visitable house has at least one no-step entrance and accesible bathroom on the same floor, as well as 32 inch doorways -- the size of a standard wheel chair. People can apply for up to $2750 to modify a house or purchase a new house with these specifications.

Stephanie Woodward is the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights. She says this credit can be used to create more integrated communities.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Among the other events going on at this week's Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, is a place where you can do a little performing of your own. In the merchandise tent on “Jazz” (Gibbs) Street, is something called the Lip Sync Challenge, to benefit the organization AutismUp.

Katrina Busch is a spokesperson for the event, and she says it allows anyone to go before a video camera, and lip sync to one of the available songs.

 "We videotape it, we upload it to the Autism Up YouTube channel and then we ask people to go there and share it with their friends , and Twitter or Facebook , anywhere that they want, to really increase the exposure and get other people out here to do the challenge."

Connections: Innovation Friday - Autism and Jobs

May 22, 2015

We’re talking about neurodiversity in the workplace. Between 60 and 70 percent of people living with autism in America are unemployed. We’ll touch base with families who are working to support people with autism and look at local programs aimed at getting people on the spectrum into meaningful employment. We’ll also speak with a former director of the California State Labor Department  about the Autism Job Club and six strategies that could reshape employment for adults with autism.  

  • Michael S. Bernick, Co-Author of The Autism Job Club
  • Zakarya Banks, guest living with Asperger syndrome
  • Evelyn Evans, Zakarya’s aunt
  • Anne Harvey, Dazzle School president  

Sasha-Ann Simons/Innovation Trail

Between 60 – 70 percent of people living with autism in America are unemployed, And we’ll touch base with families who are working to support people with autism and look at local programs aimed at getting people on the spectrum into meaningful employment. We’ll also speak with a former director of the California State Labor Department, Michael Bernick about the Autism Job Club and six strategies that could reshape employment for adults with autism.  

(WATCH: Innovation Trail report below)

Healing of Magic

One man is on a mission to heal, and he’s doing it by empowering physical therapists with the unique tool of magic.

After a serious car crash years ago, illusionist Kevin Spencer ended up in neurological intensive care with brain and spinal cord injuries. He spent nearly a year in physical therapy and grew tired of the repetitive process that wasn’t working quickly enough. It was then that Spencer realized the movements required to do the simple magic tricks he learned as a child, were the same kinds of movements that he was doing in traditional forms of therapy. He soon after developed the Healing of Magic program, and has been teaching the skills to occupational therapists across the globe.

Authors Judy Jonas and Marla Berkowitz share what they call pioneering work with Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer. Their book, Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation, researches the unique dynamic between adult deaf and hearing siblings. This segment is the conclusion of a two-part interview on Need to Know. Jonas and Berkowitz explain how blending deaf culture and the hearing world takes an entire family unit – as does a commitment by all family members to learn how to sign.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Many families with children with autism describe leaving high school as a ‘falling off a cliff’ - because of the lack of services when they become adults. Add to that, a complicated and intimidating job hunt. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, a new, dedicated job fair in Rochester, New York may be the first step to help that community find employment.

We're talking about The Opportunity Project, a documentary film series that focuses on inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. The films will screen on this coming Monday, May 4, at The Little Theatre. Our guests:

  • Martha Mock, director of the Institute for Innovative Transition and associate professor at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education
  • Cori Piels, a Monroe Community College (MCC) alumna and a subject of The Opportunity Project
  • Meg Grigal, co-director of Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston

Unified Basketball in Greece

Apr 30, 2015

Unified Sports is in Monroe County, and Thursday the Greece Unified Basketball team plays its first game against Churchville-Chili

The co-ed team is comprised of students from Greece Athena and Olympia with and without intellectual disabilities.

Coach Sara Murphy says it's set up just like any other JV or varsity game, and it's a very positive experience for the kids involved.

Richard Knox/NPR

A promising new study, conducted partly in Rochester, may give hope to the parents of autistic children.

The research looked at ways a training program could help parents and other caregivers reduce problem behaviors in kids on the autism spectrum.

Local lead researcher Tristam Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester says the 24-week course resulted in a more than 47-percent reduction in tantrums, aggression and self-injury in children between the ages of 3 and 6.

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