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


Rochester, New York (January 8, 2010) – Born a congenital amputee, John Robinson has no hands. His arms stop at his elbows. His lower legs are attached to his hips without knees. He is 3’9’’ tall. Yet, through his tenacity, talent and faith, John has succeeded in business, and in building a family in a way that few may have expected from the outset. Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story, airing Wednesday, January 20 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable 11) tells his remarkable story. It also airs on Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m. on City 12. The documentary is part a Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, which is hosted by WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies. Now in its 8th year, this outreach initiative presents a variety of television and radio programs that delve into the lives of people with disabilities, highlighting their amazing abilities. The project is designed to shed light, educate and stimulate community dialogue about the abilities of people with disabilities.

People with disabilities are the nation’s most vulnerable demographic, and the obstacles they face in everyday life can seem overwhelming. Robinson’s inspirational story teaches those of us with and without disabilities that, with the aid of a strong education and a few caring individuals, we can achieve that which may initially seem impossible.
Robinson will also be a guest on 1370 Connection on Monday, January 18 at 12 p.m. on AM 1370. Host Bob Smith will talk with Robinson about growing up as a congenital amputee and his work as an author and motivational speaker. Robinson will also be featured on Need to Know, WXXI’s news and public affairs program, on Friday, January 22 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

In addition to John Robinson’s story, WXXI-TV presents three additional documentaries:

Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy, airing Wednesday, January 20 at 10 p.m. WXXI-TV, chronicles Diana Braun, who has Down syndrome, and Kathy Conour, who has cerebral palsy, ongoing fight to live independently and their joint decision to break the rules requiring them to be homebound.

Living with Fragile X, airingThursday, January 21 at 9:30 p.m. WXXI-TV,takes a rare and intimate look at the lives of several families who live with a member affected by fragile X syndrome, which is the leading cause of inherited mental disability and the leading known cause of autism.

Shaken: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson’s Patient, airing Thursday, January 21 at 10:30 p.m. WXXI-TV, and Tuesday, January 19 at 7 p.m. on City 12, tells the story of Paul Schroder, who graduated at the top of his class in electrical engineering, and then was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

WXXI-AM 1370/HD91.5-2 presents five special programs during the week:

1370 Connection: Rochester Rehabilitation Center’s Frank Coliandro airs Monday, January 18 at 1 p.m. on AM 1370.Mr. Coliandro, Director of Physical Rehab Services from Rochester Rehabilitation Center, talks with host Bob Smith about mobility issues people with disabilities face.

1370 Connection: Rochester Rehabilitation Center’s Cindy Huether and CP of Rochester’s Brian Klafehn airs Tuesday, January 19 at 12 p.m. on AM 1370. Ms. Huether, Rochester Rehabilitation Center President, and Mr. Klafehn, CP of Rochester President & CEO, discuss the possible impact of state budget cuts on services to the disabled.

Lucy airs Tuesday, January 19 at 8 p.m. on AM 1370.In a thought-provoking new play, 13-year-old Lucy, who suffers from autism, moves in with her estranged, misanthropic mother. Having lived her entire life with her father, Lucy struggles with all the difficulties of such an arrangement.

Soundprint: After Graduation: Meeting Special Needs airs Wednesday, January 20 at 8 p.m. on AM 1370. Many learning-disabled students are finding that when they have a variety of technology assistance and human support in their classrooms they’re more successful in their studies. But what happens once they leave school? Whether moving into the workforce, or on to higher education, most high school graduates discover they must adjust to new environments on their own and learn to advocate for themselves. Alyne Ellis takes a look at how some schools and universities are trying to ease the transition of learning disabled students to a life after graduation.

Soundprint: Deaf and Proud airs Wednesday, January 20 at 8:30 p.m. on AM 1370.
This story focuses on people who choose to live inside the very powerful deaf culture and have no desire to be "fixed" so that they can be more like hearing people. It's a world most hearing people are unlikely to ever reach without the bridge of sign language. It might come as a surprise to learn that deaf parents don't grieve, but rather celebrate the birth of a deaf child.

StoryCorp airs Thursday, January 21 at 6:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. on AM 1370 and on WRUR-FM 88.5 Story Corps, a national initiative to document everyday history and the unique stories of Americans, was in Rochester in July 2009. More than 200 stories were collected. In this story, a mother and son share their struggles with their learning disabilities.

1370 Connection: Healthy Friday airsFriday, January 22 at 12 noon on AM 1370.
Host Elissa Orlando invites guests from CP of Rochester and Rochester Sportsnet to discuss sports, recreation, health and wellness.

WXXI-TV will also broadcast a variety of children’s programs that deal with disability issues. These include:

Arthur “Prunella Sees the Light” 1/18 at 7a.m. & 1/23 at 8 a.m.

Dragon Tales “A New Friend” 1/18 at 12:30 p.m.

Barney & Friends “Things I Can Do1/19 at 1:30 p.m.

Dragon Tales “The Balancing Act” 1/20 at 12:30 p.m.

Curious George “Grease Monkeys” 1/19 at 8 a.m. & 1/21 at 2:30 p.m.

Caillou “All Wet” 1/20 at 2 p.m.

Sesame Street “The Amazing Alphabet Race” 1/21 at 10 a.m. & 1/23 at 7 a.m.

Dragon Tales “The Big Race/Bye, Bye Baby” 1/22 at 12:30 p.m.

Clifford the Big Red Dog “Tie-Dye Clifford/Stage Struck” 1/23 at 8:30 a.m.

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.

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