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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 the first time in a decade, the classic children's television show Sesame Street will introduce a new Muppet on the air.

Jean Dalmath/Damath Associates / Special Olympics

The Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics honored seven healthcare organizations and professionals this weekend. The Golisano Global Health Leadership Awards were created  to recognize the progress being made around the world to increase access to essential health care for people with intellectual disabilities. It is Special Olympics’ highest honor for health partners.

The first-ever awards were presented Sunday in Austria. They were given to:

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.

Matt Ryan New York Now

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the agency that investigates mistreatment of disabled people in state care refused to hand over thousands of records needed to complete a state audit.

DiNapoli on Monday called the decision by the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs "troubling" and said it raises questions about its performance.

DiNapoli's office released a copy of the audit to The Associated Press a day before it is to be released publicly.

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:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State is paying $3 million to the family of a developmentally disabled boy repeatedly molested by a staffer at a state-run group home who later wrote that lax supervision at the facility made it "a predator's dream."

The former staffer, Stephen DeProspero, is now imprisoned in the Attica Correctional Facility. He was incriminated by videos and photographs he took of the molestation, which occurred from 2005 to 2008 at the facility located in central New York.

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