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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.

RIT is being credited by the National Organization on Disability as being a good example of a university that has successfully bridged the employment gap for students with disabilities.

The private, non-profit group promotes the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life.  Advocates for people with disabilities say that nationally there is a 46 percent unemployment rate for college grads that have a disability.

New U.S. Labor Department regulations will require federal contractors – of which there are nearly 50,000 companies with approximately 200,000 establishments – to set a target of having 7 percent of their workforce be comprised of employees with disabilities. Colleges and universities are being asked to do more to adequately prepare students with disabilities for the workforce, because current statistics show they are not prepared.  RIT is being cited as a shining example of what one university is doing in this arena. The National Organization on Disability hosted a news conference with RIT, and they join us to talk about how to make a workplace achieve this standard. 

In the first part of the show, we talk to new age recording titan David Lanz, who now makes Rochester his home. He talks about 30 years in the industry, and why he still wants to crank out an album every single year. 

Then, as part of our Move to Include series, we learn all about Camp EAGR. We welcome Mike Radell, Director of the camp, along with Lisa Noonan, a board member of Epilepsy-Pralid, Inc.

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Being allowed to use the old lever voting machines in local elections around New York State is being called a "huge step backwards."

That's according to David Sutliff-Atias, the assistant director of advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester.

Local kids with physical challenges and other special needs will soon have the opportunity to see what it feels like to climb a tree.

"The doors that have opened up for us at the camp are just incredible," says Rotary President, Tracy Armstrong.

The Rochester Rotary is building a wheelchair accessible wooden treehouse at its Sunshine Campus in Rush.

The club house will be approximately 15 feet above ground. It features wide wheelchair accessible ramps, sensory equipment and an enclosed cabin.

(This is Part 2 of a two-part report. Read the full piece here.)

On the surface, the PS 177 Technology Band looks like a typical high school orchestra. But there are two big differences. First, while they use traditional instruments, they also play iPads. And all of the band members have disabilities. Some have autism spectrum disorders.

"I'm Tobi Lakes. I'm 15 years old. I'm in ninth grade. I'm four grades away from college."

There's a steady stream of hype surrounding the pluses and pitfalls of classroom tablet computers. But for a growing number of special education students tablets and their apps are proving transformative. The tablets aren't merely novel and fun. With guidance from creative teachers, they are helping to deepen engagement, communication, and creativity.

Sterz: Sound is always something I’m working with, whether it be a vacuum, or a bird’s nest, or anything like that.

That’s the artist who goes by the name of Sterz, and the reason he’s speaking in this halting way is…

Sterz: In 1998, I had a stroke. And I just didn’t get upset about it. It’s what it is.  And I’ve carried (?) on from there until now.

Since then, Sterz has spent a lot of time getting checkups via Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI. After 15 years of undergoing these very loud tests, he asked to record one:

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