WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

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.

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:

freeimages.com/Jean Scheijen

A growing number of students at RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf are entering careers in science and medicine.

But the deaf and hard of hearing population remains one of the most underrepresented groups in the biomedical fields.

There's a new program in the Rochester area designed to create new opportunities for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

It's called "Best Buddies" and it's run by a global, non-profit organization.

Local program manager Lindsay Jewett says this program was established in a number of area schools in the last several months, and it pairs up students who have intellectual or development disabilities with their peers who don't have those same disabilities.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

With 10 minutes left to go in his private session at CP Rochester, a little boy took the hand of physical therapist, Karen Terp, and led her to the hallway for an afternoon stroll.

“You want to walk? Ok,” Terp said.

Have you heard the term, “inspiration porn?” A recent episode of the sitcom Speechless on ABC explored the subject. It refers to when able-bodied people characterize people with disabilities as objects of inspiration or one-dimensional saints because they live with physical or developmental differences.

People with disabilities and disability rights activists say the term can be harmful and insulting because examples of “inspiration porn” are usually meant to benefit able-bodied people. They point to memes like the one featuring a swimmer with one leg and the phrase, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Critics also say the term shifts focus away from challenges faced by people with disabilities – accessibility, high unemployment rates, and more.

We explore different perspectives on the issue, and discuss how to create more inclusive environments. Our guests:

  • Brendan O’Riordan, communications officer for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office who was born with cerebral palsy
  • Dresden Engle, PR professional, actress, and mother of a 5th grader with cerebral palsy
  • Dr. Cyndi Kerber-Gowan, faculty member in the School of Education at Nazareth College, and faculty liaison for the LifePrep@Naz program
  • Bob Ike, superintendent of Palmyra-Macedon School District

This program is presented as part of Dialogue on Disability Week – a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies – in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series. Dialogue on Disability is supported in part by The Golisano Foundation with additional support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

What would change if you found out, overnight, that your life expectancy had doubled? Maybe a lot. Maybe nothing. But for Gabe Weil, it changed everything: he had muscular dystrophy, and understood what that meant. A film called Gabe tells his remarkable story -- a story of confronting actual life-and-death choices on a daily basis. For Gabe, that meant deciding whether to eat real food or get a G-tube. It meant travel and risks that could end his life.

Our Dialogue on Disability series continues with a preview of the film, which is showing this week at the Little Theatre, and a conversation with Jonathan Piacentino, who is navigating life with his own challenges and difficult decisions. Our guests:

  • Jonathan Piacentino, graduate of Nazareth College, and muscular dystrophy awareness advocate
  • Heidi Schuster, supervisor of the adult day habilitation program at CP Rochester

This program is presented as part of Dialogue on Disability Week – a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies – in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series. Dialogue on Disability is supported in part by The Golisano Foundation with additional support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

Transporting those with special needs

Jan 24, 2017
alsigl.org

Medical Motor Service is marking over 90 years of meeting the transportation needs of seniors and people with special needs, and is on its way to logging another four million miles this year.

That's according to Executive Director Damon Mustaca, who says they play an important role in the everyday lives of many people in Monroe County.

"Fifteen thousand people used us and 4.4 million miles traveled last year, to provide almost 600 thousand one-way trips to the community," he said.

Mustaca says they provide access to vital services to the community.

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