WXXI AM News

Inclusion Desk

The barriers are immense when it comes to individuals with disabilities seeking employment. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17% of people with a disability were employed in 2014. That’s compared to nearly 65% of individuals without a disability. One of those barriers to the labor force is a lack of certain educational skills. Tied to that, for some, is a lack of literacy training. But a Monroe County book club connected to a national book club movement, is not only tearing down some of these barriers, but also breaking stereotypes and building a sense of community for adults with developmental disabilities.

harveyandellenweisenberg.com

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An ex-lawmaker has established a foundation building a software application for families and caregivers with information about rights and resources for developmentally disabled New Yorkers.

Retired Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, whose disabled son Ricky lives in a state-supported residence, says he still hears from people seeking information.

The nonprofit Harvey and Ellen Weisenberg Special Needs Resource Corp. is accepting tax-deductible donations to build it.

If you use hearing aids or have cochlear implants equipped with what's called a "T" coil, you can now use them at Wegmans.

Induction hearing loops have been in performance halls, churches and movie theatres for years, but Wegmans spokesperson Jo Natale told WXXI they haven't been used much in stores yet.

"You have hearing loss, and you're wearing a hearing aid that has a tele-coil, you can hear the cashier speaking to you much more clearly, if there's a hearing induction loop installed at that location,” said Natale.

coachJimJohnson.com

If you remember J-Mac's big basketball game at Greece Athena, do you realize it's been ten years?

"I've gone from somebody that's an ordinary autistic kid to somebody who's inspired others."

On Tuesday, Jason MacElwain and his coach Jim Johnson announced a February 11 fundraiser for the growing local support group Autism Up.

"It's just been a wonderful, wonderful ten years and it's just unbelievable," said MacElwain.

The Al Sigl Community of Agencies is going to receive a $3 million gift from local philanthropist and entrepreneur Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation. That is the largest gift Al Sigl has ever received from a living donor.

Al Sigl is a network of organizations that serves more than 55,000 children and adults with special needs. Officials say that $3 million commitment will fund improvements to the Al Sigl campus on Elmwood Avenue.

YOUMAGINE.COM

Jon Schull is transforming lives for young people in need of limbs. The RIT research scientist is the founder of e-NABLE, an organization that uses 3-D printing to create limbs for children at no cost. While kids would outgrow traditional prosthetic arms that cost around $40,000, e-NABLE can make them for less than $20 each. Watch Schull’s Innovation Trail story from PBS NewsHour.

(Video after the jump)

opwdd.ny.gov

ALBANY (AP) Several New York state lawmakers raised concerns Tuesday about federal and state policies to move more disabled people from institutions to community residences and managed care for medical treatment.

The state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities currently supports 38,000 New Yorkers in residences and 80,000 with day services. It has about 400 people in institutional settings, a total the agency plans to reduce to 150, Deputy Commissioner Helen DeSanto told lawmakers.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state Assembly plans to hold a public hearing to examine the adequacy of support and services for disabled New Yorkers.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who chairs the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, says they'll take testimony Tuesday on how effective New York's efforts have been at ensuring people with disabilities are effectively integrated into society and their needs met.

In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision called for integration appropriate with individual needs, followed by New York's implementation plan.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Jerremy Lorch was flying to Vancouver to present a paper at a conference. When he was turned away from his flight, he called his wife to come pick him up.

"When I got to the airport, and he got to the car, he explained that, there was no problem with the planes, they just wouldn't let me on the plane. And I went through a mix of emotions, first, my heart just broke for him."

Lorch is a wheelchair user, and his lawyer says when he told the staff he would need assistance boarding the plane, they did not know how to accommodate him.

The Golisano Foundation

The Golisano Foundation Thursday night presented its first-ever Move to Include Awards at the George Eastman Museum.

It's appropriate the awards handed out to six people happened at that venue, because that is where a new exhibit by photographer Rick Guidotti is going on right now. It's called Positive Exposure, and it features portraits of people with intellectual disabilities.

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