Inclusion Desk

An organization that helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities says progress is  being made in helping reduced the local unemployment rate for the types of people they are trying to help.

That according to Andrew Sewnauth, a vice president with CDS Monarch. He says recent statistics from the federal government show that the jobless rate for people with disabilities dropped about two percent, to just over 10 percent in July.  Sewnauth says his organization has helped find jobs for 35 people with those types of disabilities.

A photographer hopes to change the way people view intellectual disabilities with an exhibit coming to the George Eastman House.

In a previous life, Rick Guidotti was a fashion photographer. But he eventually got sick of being told what was beautiful and important.

"And as an artist, I never saw beauty just on the covers of magazines. I see it everywhere. So I started Positive Exposure to give us all an opportunity to see beyond those covers of magazines to see beauty in human diversity."

Veronica Volk | WXXI News

For blind and visually impaired lovers of baseball – playing the game was an impossibility more than 50 years ago. But in 1964 that changed. A baseball was invented that made a beeping sound. And with it a new sport was eventually born. Beep Baseball is an adaptation of classic American baseball, played with a pitcher, catcher, batters, and fielders.

Recently on WXXI, Special Olympic athlete and ambassador Cori Piels and Onolee Stephan, director of community health programs for Special Olympics, discussed the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The event brings together more than 6,500 athletes from 165 countries, including more than 300 athletes from New York State. 

You can also watch a video about Cori's experience as a college student on The Institute for Innovative Transition website.

Hélène Biandudi Hofer | WXXI News

Is so-called “helicopter parenting” ruining youth sports? On this edition of Need to Know, we examine how some say the joy for the game is being impacted by parent outbursts and how this issue is resulting in some kids dropping out of sports altogether.

Also on the show, we get an inside look at a sport that makes it possible for blind and visually impaired fans of baseball to become players. It is unique and you have a chance to check out the world series of this sport right now in Rochester.

And the latest installment in our American Graduate Champions series. Meet the young founders of a summer academy for boys. The mission: to help students create their own economy through reading and writing.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

It's the 39th annual Beep Baseball World Series, but this is Rochester's first year with a team.

In an Upstate versus Downstate match against the Long Island Bombers, you can feel the new team's growing pains. It isn't until the top of the fourth that the Rochester Red Wings get their first out in the field, but the payoff is worth the wait.

Bombers Batter Nick "Pizza Slice" Pasquale hits one to left field.  Red Wings Outfielder Jessica Smith lunges toward the beeping ball, clasps it, and holds it high over her head.


Both benches erupt in applause.

Prepping Those with Disabilities for Competitive Jobs

Jul 28, 2015

The Arc of Monroe, in conjunction with several other partners, is providing new employment opportunities for those with developmental disabilities.

Through Project SEARCH, nine people are now unpaid interns at area hotels.

But Arc of Monroe CEO Barbara Wale says the goal of the program is to train and educate people with disabilities for competitive employment.

"We're really very excited to be able to work with our partners and excited for people with developmental disabilities to truly show the community they have skills, talent and abilities."


Special Olympics announced Saturday that it has received its largest single private gift in the organization's 47-year history from the Golisano Foundation.


The Golisano Foundation will be on hand for the start of the  Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games on Saturday, with the focus on the health of those with intellectual disabilities.

Ann Costello is Director of the Foundation.

She says  they'll be focusing on delivering health care screenings for thousands of athletes, many of them from developing countries who are seeing a medical professional for the first time.

Costello says others who have conditions that need to be treated will receive the care that they need.


A new study suggests that the increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism is due, in least in part, to the way that diagnosis is defined. 

The number of U.S. children enrolled in special education programs due to an autism diagnosis more than tripled between 2000 and 2010. 

A new study from Penn State University says that may be because educators traded one diagnosis for another. 

Dr. Susan Hyman, an autism expert at UR Medicine, says this is not a matter of semantics. The right diagnosis means a child will get the best treatment and services.