Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY (UCP) Strong History, Powerful Future

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY (UCP) Strong History, Powerful Future

Article excerpt

Understanding Disabilities Creating Opportunities

As the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act approaches and the world begins life in the twenty-first century, now is a good time to reflect on the powerful, positive changes that have occurred in the world of disability. These fundamental changes and advances in such areas as technology, barrier-free architecture, employment, and education have contributed to the goal of full inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of the community. Over the years, one organization that has been a tireless advocate, innovative service provider, and powerful visionary in their quest to fulfill their mission of advancing the independence, productivity, and full citizenship of people with disabilities is the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).

A proud history

The group was founded in 1949, when a group of parents of children with cerebral palsy banded together in New York City to find ways to provide a better life for their children.

This small group of parents, headed by Leonard Goldenson, founder of the American Broadcasting Company, and his wife, Isabelle, Jack Hausman and his wife, Ethel, and Nina Eaton, has grown into a powerful national organization. Today, UCP is a nationwide network of more than 140 state and local voluntary agencies (UCP affiliates) which provides programs and services and conducts public and professional education programs relevant to children and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. "We started out just wanting a better life and chance for our children. It is amazing to see how far our effort has come. In those days, we were the only voice for our children and it is incredible now to see children with disabilities develop their own voice" says Nina Eaton, UCP co-founder and current national board member.

What UCP can do

Direct services provided by UCP affiliates include:

* physical and occupational therapy;

* assistive technology;

* information and referral;

* early intervention;

* employment skills training;

* individual and family support;

* social and recreation programs;

* community inclusion and independent living;

* advocacy and community education.

These programs and services support people with disabilities as they strive to reach their full potential and become full, productive members in their local communities.

Looking ahead

In April, UCP began a year-long, fiftieth anniversary commemoration which celebrates the rich history of the organization with an eye toward further growth and success in the future. …

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