UCP Launches New Resource for People with Disabilities

ORyan Case

O’Ryan Case

O’Ryan Case is the Director of Membership and Public Education for United Cerebral Palsy’s national office. He grew up in Maryland and lives there now, the proud dad of a three-year-old son. As a person with CP and the director of several of UCP’s programs, he has a very personal connection to UCP’s newest initiative, My Life Without Limits, which he writes about here. 

Introducing My Life Without Limits

All of us at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) are excited to see the launch of My Life Without Limits (www.MyLifeWithoutLimits.org). Connecting with others who have a disability is something that I never really did until I started working at UCP. Until then, I must have known less than a handful of others. My visits to the Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, or “The duPont Institute,” as I remember it were big deals– not just because I was meeting with doctors and nurses who understood my cerebral palsy (CP), but because I would see other kids and teens who had visible disabilities. Though I had the best family and friends and great times in and outside of school growing up, the visits brought a feeling of comfort– there, I felt “normal.”

When I joined UCP, my life changed. I began to understand how there are so many other people with disabilities (one billion worldwide). It was interesting how there are so many, yet I hardly knew of any others. Immediately, our stories were shared– those related to growing up and our relationships, jobs, goals and more. This connection is one that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Social media has been wonderful by allowing people with disabilities to connect. I’ve met great friends through Facebook groups and Twitter chats and certainly plan and hope to continue doing so.

CP Hand

“CP Hand”

Though these connections through social media have been great, I can’t put into words how excited I am for our new My Life Without Limits (and mobile-friendly!) website. UCP gets it– how it’s so important for people with disabilities to be able to communicate, bounce ideas, exchange advice and vent about latest stories, hot topics, edgy subjects and whatever else is on our minds. For example, have you ever heard of the “CP hand?” Of course, this isn’t a medical term but after chatting with others who “have it,” it seems about as good of a term as any other. I’m sure many people reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, it’s basically a resting position of the hand that, apparently, seems common among people with CP. I used to see it and wonder why I kept doing this weird thing with my hand but after discovering others doing it (and sharing some good laughs about it), I know it’s just another part of my disability.

MyLifeScreenShotMy Life Without Limits will be community-driven, allowing people with disabilities to join and receive the latest news and other benefits from being a member, write guest blogs, comment on blog posts and resource pages and participate in polls and surveys. Soon, the site will have its own forum, where members can stir up conversations and ask for advice. Information and resources pertaining to education, entertainment and lifestyle, health and wellness, travel, relationships and more will be available and updated, with guidance from members themselves. People can share new resources or upcoming events that others should know about. They can use the #MyLifeWithoutLimits hashtag on social media to connect with us and highlight a day-in-the-life of someone with a disability. Whether it’s a photo of a broken escalator (oh boy) or graduation or marriage pic (whoop!), we’re excited to see it. There’s a good chance others can relate and will appreciate seeing someone else going through the same experiences. And our “What’s Hot” button is a good daily dose of entertainment, news, stories and more that is trending in the world of having a disability.

Remember, just like UCP, My Life Without Limits serves people with a range of disabilities– those with CP, spina bifida, autism, multiple sclerosis, amputation, traumatic brain injury and more. It’s a resource for all disabilities and I’m certainly excited to be able to connect with so many others (including those with CP, of course) who have gone through alike experiences or are looking ahead to similar goals and challenges– and I’m excited for others everywhere to be able to do the same things. I’ve had some of the best conversations (at the office, during a road trip, over a drink, through a chat on social media) with others who have disabilities about topics that, at one time, I never would have imagined being able to discuss– the stagefright at graduation, getting into that first relationship, not being allowed in a bar because the bouncer thinks I’m ridiculously drunk– I’ll stop there but the list goes on and on. My Life Without Limits will allow these conversations to happen even more and reach a much wider audience.

If you have a disability, we hope you’ll check out this new resource. If you don’t have a disability but know somoeone who might be interested, please let them know. And, if you have a child or a loved one with a disability, we have a resource just for you, too. Check out UCP’s My Child Without Limits program which serves as the go-to resource for the parents and families of people with disabilities. This is an exciting start to 2015 and we hope to get to know you soon!My Life Without Limits
Have a Happy New Year from all of us at UCP!

United Cerebral Palsy Presents Online Resource for Parents of Young Children with Developmental Delays

MyChildWithoutLimits.org Helps Families Plan, Understand & Act

 

Washington, D.C. (September 23, 2009) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) today announced the launch of My Child Without Limits (MyChildWithoutLimits.org), UCP’s pioneering initiative that provides parents of children with disabilities an online resource with critical information that also connects parents to a vital social network of parents of newly diagnosed children ages 0 to 5.

The first realization that your child may face the many challenges and obstacles encountered by those who live with a disability can be a lonely, frightening and confusing time. Many parents who have been assisted by UCP have reported that finding the organization and receiving the information and advice our affiliates provide has been a very significant turning point for them.

My Child Without Limits is a place for parents worried that their child is not developing like other children, to find answers to their questions. It is a place where parents know they are not alone after their child has been diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability. The authoritative site and online community are designed to be resources for families and their caregivers and professionals.

The Web site provides access to accurate, user-friendly and relevant disability-related information, resource guides, and experts on early intervention and family support in three basic areas:

  • Understand – Help families answer the questions: What are Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome?
  • Plan – Provide guidance about where to go for early intervention services, treatments and therapies, assistive technologies, and expert direction and advice.
  • Act – Direct parents and caregivers to where they can explore issues surrounding disability awareness, advocacy and lifespan planning.

The community section of My Child Without Limits also offers a venue for parents to communicate with each other, ask questions of professionals and service providers, and receive support through the critical period of initial diagnosis.

“I can’t think of a better way to reach parents of children with disabilities who are so desperately seeking credible information they can trust,” said Stephen Bennett, former President & CEO, United Cerebral Palsy, Inc. “My Child Without Limits will be the one-stop shop for parents and professionals, and help children with disabilities start achieving a life without limits at an early age.”

For more information, please visit www.MyChildWithoutLimits.org today.

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) was founded over 60 years ago by parents of children with cerebral palsy. Today UCP is a leading service provider for adults and children with disabilities. UCP’s services reach over 176,000 adults and children every day through a network of over 100 affiliates in the United States, Canada, Scotland and Australia. The UCP National office, located in Washington DC, provides assistance to affiliates through marketing and communication services, programmatic support and an annual conference. UCP National also serves people with disabilities and their families through public policy and advocacy, the development of forward-thinking programs and the Life Without Limits initiative.

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