For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, (585) 258-0253


Rochester, New York (January 8, 2007) – WXXI and Al Sigl Center host a weeklong programming initiative to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives of people with disabilities. Now in its 5th year, Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series features a week of special programming on WXXI-TV and AM 1370 beginning January 16.

1370 Connection’s
Bob Smith kicks off the week on Tuesday, January 16 at 12 noon on AM 1370 when he’s joined by representatives of Al Sigl Center’s partner agencies to discuss issues surrounding disability, employment opportunity and the workplace. Smith will have special guests throughout the week to discuss disability issues including director of the documentary Different & Normal, Richard Colosi on Wednesday, January 17 at 12 noon. Colosi will talk with Smith about his film, which highlights the life of a young man with Asperger Syndrome, and makes its television debut on WXXI-TV on Thursday, January 18 at 10 p.m. (See details below.)

Tuesday (1/16) evening at 8, AM 1370 will broadcast Humankind
. In the first half of the hour, the radio program profiles Mattie Stepanek, astoundingly positive in spite of his grave affliction with muscular dystrophy, who became a “poet hero” to children who've read his best-selling Heartsongs poetry series. In the second half of the hour, Humankind presents a biography of Helen Keller, who surmounted both deafness and blindness by learning to communicate with great eloquence, and became an advocate for the disabled.

On Wednesday, January 17 at 5:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11), Homework Hotline
takes a look at European Pediatric Therapy, an enormously successful intensive therapy program developed for children with cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders. The therapy regimen was developed, in part, from treatment used by the Russian space program, to counteract the adverse effects of prolonged weightlessness. The segment will also be part of Assignment: The World’s program on Friday, January 19 at 6 a.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11).

On Thursday, January 18 at 9 p.m. WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) presents What Does Normal Mean?,
a compelling documentary film about the “inclusion” of children with disabilities in public schools. The film follows seven children— elementary to high-schoolers— with a broad range of disabilities, over an academic year. Produced by multiple Emmy award-winning filmmakers, the children’s struggles and triumphs give dramatically clear testimony to the value of equal educational opportunities for all. Following What Does Normal Mean?, at 10 p.m., is a local production, Different and Normal: My Life with Asperger Syndrome.Directed by Canandaigua teacher Richard Colosi, the film chronicles the personal growth of a 16-year-old boy living with Asperger Syndrome. Adrian Esposito, who lives in Brighton with his mother, challenges the boundaries of his disability with the help of his educators. Adrian’s mother, fiercest advocate, helps him navigates life inside the classroom and beyond – a life that is both different and normal.

On Healthy Friday
, airing Friday, January 19 at 12 noon on AM 1370, host Elissa Orlando talks with the Epilepsy Foundation about the neurological condition that affects more than 2.7 million Americans.

The week concludes with a special segment on Need to Know, Friday, January 19 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11).Celebrating Al Sigl Center’s 45th anniversary, Need to Know host Julie Philipp looks at the life of the Center’s founder, the late Al Sigl.
Al Sigl Center is a resource organization that provides shared and dedicated facilities, business services, and enhanced awareness and financial support for a partnership of independent human service agencies, to help them achieve their goals and foster the goals of people with disabilities whom they serve. Dialogue on Disability is made possible thanks to support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. To learn more, visit


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

# # #

Press Release Index