Everyone knows to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, but those affected by cerebral palsy will also be wearing green and raising awareness on March 25 for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.
Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive disorder of the motor control areas of the developing brain. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain. About 764,000 children and adults currently have cerebral palsy, and about 10,000 babies born each year will develop cerebral palsy.
United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska (UCP) is one of the 19 Community Health Charities of Nebraska (CHC-NE) member charities, and it educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people of all ages with a broad range of disabilities and their families. UCP of Nebraska serves individuals with a spectrum of disabilities, not just cerebral palsy.
One of the ways UCP serves families in Nebraska is through the Tech Tots/Tech Tools Technology Lending Libraries, located statewide. These libraries provide adapted toys and devices to children with developmental and physical disabilities, at no cost to families.
“I’ve checked out the toys to families in the past and it was so wonderful to see the smiles on their faces,” said Carole Urbom, Marketing Coordinator at Grand Island Physical Therapy. “Some families would come in and they’d want to purchase a toy for Christmas or a birthday but those toys are so expensive, so if they didn’t know if they liked them or enjoyed playing with them, it was really an investment. So they got to try it out and see if their child liked it and then they could purchase the toy.”
Tech Tots services the youngest children developmentally, and Tech Tools offers more sophisticated adaptations. Parents, professionals and other care providers can become a member of Tech Tots/Tech Tools by visiting one of six locations throughout Nebraska:
• Children’s Rehab Center in Grand Island
• Faith Regional Health Service Rehab Services in Norfolk
• Children’s Respite Care Center (Southwest location in Omaha)
• Children’s Respite Care Center (Northwest location in Omaha)
• Tree Top Pediatric Therapy in Gretna
• Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln
UCP also hosts Family Focus events throughout the year—these are designed for the entire family unit and bring families facing similar challenges together to provide the opportunity to draw strength and knowledge as well as relax and socialize. These events take place in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island and Norfolk.
Finally, UCP provides Client Assistance Grants to qualified families and individuals with disabilities to promote independence and encourage empowerment. Some of the items funded include: adaptive tricycles, wheelchairs, vehicle modification, bathroom modification, entrance modification, ceiling lifts, footsplints, shower chairs, ramps, stair glides/chairs, scooters, specialized car seats, scooter batteries and aqua therapy. UCP of Nebraska funded 37 grants in 2016.