United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of services to children and adults with cerebral palsy. It’s currently an advocacy organization for those afflicted with cerebral palsy and their families.
UCP was founded in 1949 after a man named Leonard Goldenson and his wife decided to create a way to provide resources and services for people with cerebral palsy and their families. During the 1940s, resources were limited for people with disabilities, but Goldenson wanted to give people from low-income families, people afraid of their child’s disabilities, or people who needed help understanding cerebral palsy a place to go to find help.
Golden, who was once president of United Paramount Theaters and ABC Television, went into a business venture with other professionals, all of whom had children with cerebral palsy, in order to improve their lives as well as all other children with the disorder.
Over the course of subsequent years, thousands of families and many advocates joined UCP, leading the organization to the success it has today.
What Does UCP Do?
Through more than 80 affiliates nationwide, and in Canada and Australia, UCP provides a myriad of services to children and adults with cerebral palsy, including:
- Health and wellness awareness
- Support groups and training for parents
- Summer activities and other recreational activities
- Assistance with traveling
- Public advocacy and education regarding cerebral palsy
- Financial resources
- Assistive Technology
The UCP Elsie S. Bellows Fund
UCP offers the UCP Elsie S. Bellows fund, a national program offering grants to help people buy Assistive Technology equipment. Assistive technology (AT) is comprised of equipment and products that help disabled children improve their functional capabilities and independence. AT can be anything from communication devices, van lifts, to small products such as Velcro-attached grips so children can hold eating utensils, pens, and pencils more easily.
There is an array of AT that can benefit children with cerebral palsy. Examples of AT products and equipment allowed under the grant program include (but are not limited to):
- Van lifts
- Hearing aids
- Electric wheelchairs
- Manual wheelchairs
- Computer equipment
UCP Life Labs
UCP’s grassroots program, entitled Life Labs, helps develop, support, and identify different ways to help people with cerebral palsy to be more productive and improve their quality of life. The program receives help from various businesses, other grassroots organizations, networkers, investors, corporations, and more, in an attempt to bring innovative ideas that help people with cerebral palsy.
World CP Day
UCP is also part of World CP Day, which generally takes place in October of each year. World CP Day is a global project in which education and awareness regarding cerebral palsy is spread throughout the world.
In addition to UCP, World CP Day is led by nonprofit charities in over 30 countries.
My Child Has Severe Cerebral Palsy. Can UCP Still Help?
UCP provides help and resources for children with all types of cerebral palsy, ranging from mild to severe.
How Can I Join UCP and Get Help for My Child?
The best way to get help for your child is to join a UCP affiliate in your area. Each UCP affiliate provides an array of different services, including charities and events. Use the official UCP resource page to find an affiliate in your area.
UCP and Respite Care
UCP has joined with affiliates to support caregivers with a variety of respite care services and other support organizations.
According to the official UCP website, the following organizations can provide families with more information on caregiving support services.
Caregiver Action Network
Caregiver Action Network is an organization that advocates and provides education for people who care for someone with disabilities, old age, or with a chronic illness.
National Alliance for Caregiving
The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit informational agency for caregivers that provides an extensive database of searchable articles as well as free access to research studies.