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


Rochester, New York (January 9, 2009) – WXXI and Al Sigl Center invite Rochesterians to see life through the eyes of people with disabilities, and marvel in their amazing abilities. It’s all part of the two organizations’ annual outreach effort, Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, which runs January 11 through 17. The week-long programming initiative presents a variety of radio and television broadcasts that delve into the lives of people with disabilities.

The centerpiece of the week is the premiere of Including Samuel, a documentary by Dan Habib who candidly chronicles his family's efforts to include his son Samuel, who has cerebral palsy, in every facet of their lives. The film examines the educational and social inclusion of youth with disabilities as a civil rights issue. It features four other families with varied inclusion experiences, plus interviews with dozens of teachers, young people, parents and disability rights experts. Including Samuel airs Thursday, January 15 at 9 p.m.on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (DT21.1/cable 1011).

That same evening WXXI-TV/WXXI-HD also presents Andrea Bocelli: A Child Destined to Sing at 8 p.m., which reveals Bocelli’s musical and personal journey, and at 10 p.m.  Olympic champion Bruce Jenner explores the challenges of living and learning with dyslexia in Demystifying Dyslexia. On Friday, January 16 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (DT21.1/cable 1011), WXXI’s signature news and public affairs program Need to Know will look at how the economy is impacting employment and service opportunities for disabled workers in a roundtable discussion with Al Sigl Center executives, which includes Brian Klafehn, President of CP Rochester and Cynthia Huether, President of Rochester Rehabilitation Center Inc. A segment with Bryan Fromm, the Epilepsy Foundation’s School to Work Assistant, will also be part of this Need to Know broadcast. The Need to Know segment will reair on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2 on Saturday, January 17 at 6:30 p.m., and on WXXI-TV/WXXI-HD Sunday, January 18 at 12:30 p.m.

WXXI-AM 1370/HD91.5-2 will broadcast three national productions during the week. Autism Chronicles, airing Saturday, January 17 at 3 p.m., profiles three families living and coping with autism. The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal, airing Saturday, January 17 at 4 p.m., is based on Jonathan Mooney’s book of the same name. Many kids with learning disabilities are medicated and segregated during schooling. Some are forced to ride the “short bus.” A short bus rider himself, Mooney recently bought a short bus and took it on a 35,000-mile journey across the US to seek out kids who shared this experience. Musical Abilities, airing Saturday, January 17 at 4:30 p.m., features interviews with singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt and Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, who explain how they adapted new techniques and relearned how to play music after accidents left them with a disability.

Bob Smith, host of 1370 Connection heard on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2 weekdays from 12 noon to 2 p.m.,invites Frank Cogliandro, Director of Physical Rehab Services from Rochester Rehabilitation Center Inc. and Peter Boulay, a graduate of Rochester Rehabilitation Center’s Driver Evaluation and Training Program on Monday, January 12 at 12 noon to talk about the only comprehensive driver rehabilitation program of its kind in Upstate New York.  On Wednesday, January 14 at 12 p.m. Ray Justice, community entrepreneur and business-owner will share his story of achievement about his disability, followed by Al Sigl Center executives discussing economy and disabilities issues at 12:30 p.m. On Friday, January 16 at 12 noon on AM 1370/FM-HD 91.5-2, Healthy Fridays hostElissa Orlandowill be joined by Dr. Ramona Stein, Director of Audiology Operations of Rochester Hearing and Speech Center in the first half of the hour, and then Orlando will be joined by Lora Winghart, Director of Out-patient Clinical Services and Leslie Schiff D.D.S. from CP Dental Clinic.

WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (DT21.1/cable 1011) will also broadcast a variety of children’s programs that deal with disability issues. These include:

  • 1/12 at 11 a.m. – Dragon Tales “The Big Race/Bye Bye Baby Birdie”
  • 1/13 at 6 a.m. – Reading Rainbow “Best Friends”
  • 1/13 at 2:30 p.m. – Clifford “Tie-Dye Clifford”
  • 1/14 at 6 a.m. – Reading Rainbow “The Adventure of Taxi Dog”
  • 1/14 at 11 a.m. – Dragon Tales “Have No Fear”
  • 1/15 at 10 a.m. – Sesame Street
  • 1/15 at 2 p.m. – Caillou “All Wet”

Dialogue on Disability is made possible thanks to support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. To learn more, visit
Al Sigl Center provides high quality, cost-effective real estate services, business services and philanthropic support to a growing array of organizations with a focus on serving people with disabilities and special needs. 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.

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