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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.

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Starting last summer, law enforcement officers across Monroe County received special training to improve their communication and interactions with individuals who are on the autism spectrum.

Now, the Monroe County Association of Chiefs of Police is asking the public to help in this effort by making it easier for police to identify people who have autism.

Individuals with autism and families who have a member on the autism spectrum are asked to put an autism awareness magnet on the left rear side of their vehicle.

Alex Crichton

A new facility will soon be open to serve children and families dealing with autism spectrum disorder.

The ribbon was cut today on UR Medicine's Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center on East River Road.

Dr. Nina Schor is Pediatrician-in-Chief at Golisano Children's Hospital.

She says the center will serve as an outpatient facility.

Advocates from the Center for Disability Rights and other organizations are calling on local Republican congressional members to preserve critical components of the Affordable Care Act that would affect disabled populations.

Damita Peace works with the Regional Center for Independent Living and said most importantly, they’re asking for the continued right that people with disabilities can live and receive necessary care in their homes, rather than institutions.

Sesame Street Workshop

Sesame Street is introducing a new Muppet to its cast, and she is unlike any Muppet they have had before.

Her name is Julia, and she has autism.

The character was introduced online in 2015, but will now become a regular on the television show.

Rachel Rosner, the director of education and support services at Rochester-based Autism Up, said introducing a character with autism is a huge step forward for the show — and for raising awareness.

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.

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