More than 764,000 Americans have some form of cerebral palsy, whether it's spastic cerebral palsy with quadriplegia or a disturbed sense of balance with ataxic one. One cerebral palsy child may be intellectually impaired, while another has full mental faculties but suffers musculoskeletal impairment. Some children with CP have frequent, serious seizures, while others may just have mild tremors or moments of sudden confusion. Adjusting to life caring for a special needs individual can be challenging, which is why organizations like United Cerebral Palsy exist.
United Cerebral Palsy was founded in 1949 to "advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network." Their Washington D.C. headquarters concentrates on fundraising, marketing, policy recommendations and offering support for families. In the forties, there weren't many available resources to help children with cerebral palsy.
Leonard Goldenson, president of United Paramount Theaters/ABC Television and his wife Isabelle collaborated with Jack and Ethel Hausman to find people interested in helping them expand the network of support services for their disabled children. Together, they placed an ad in the New York Times to recruit others interested in helping expand the services offered. Soon they expanded, with the help of generous partnerships and donors, opening offices all around the country. Today, UCP is one of the largest health charities in America.
At the United Cerebral Palsy website, parents can learn a lot about technological devices. Often times, these technologically advanced pieces of equipment can enable disabled individuals the ability to walk, talk or express themselves easier. Wheelchairs, scooters and hand controls can increase mobility and improve the happiness of the CP child.
Easels and exercise machines can also improve the quality of life for these children, allowing them to explore their interests. Products and services are available to greatly assist caregivers as well. Whether it's an automatic lift for the bathtub, grab bars for toilet time or computer software than aids communication, technology is changing the way parents and children interact in wonderful ways.
United Cerebral Palsy also encompasses a research foundation which seeks new treatment options for this disability and preventative methods. For more than 50 years, the foundation has examined how German measles and maternal-child blood type incompatibility have contributed to this disability. Currently, they're researching the role that low birth weight, premature birth and maternal infections affect the developing brain. Through scientific research, they hope to discover ways to replace lost brain cells in fetuses and enable normal development through early treatment.