Mark’s Blog – Posting 2

REPOST – Original Post on Feb 14, 2013

(Mark Shaffer, the Executive Director of UCP of SLO County will be doing an intermittent blog to talk about some of the history of UCP, his history with UCP and various other aspects of his last 25 years working with people with disabilities in SLO County. Come back here to find more blogs by various UCP employees, C.I.P. Tour summaries, Leisure Club happenings and more.)

The Roots of United Cerebral Palsy

The name of our organization, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), is somewhat deceptive because we serve children and adults with all types of developmental disabilities. About 12% of the people we serve are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We are part of a national organization began in New York City in 1940 as the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes. Leonard and Isabelle Goldenson were parents of a child with cerebral palsy and they were placed on the Board of Directors. In 1945, they placed an ad in the New York Times seeking other parents with children with cerebral palsy. They received 350 responses and National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy was formed.

In 1948, 12,000 people attended the first Cerebral Palsy Conference. In 1949, the organization’s name was changed to United Cerebral Palsy and affiliates were formed across the United States. In 1955, Isabelle Goldenson convinces researchers to form a research team to look at prevention of cerebral palsy. In 1969, research funded by United Cerebral palsy isolates the virus for German Measles, which leads to a vaccine. In 1982, Tom Ritter hosted the first telethon for UCP.

United Cerebral Palsy has continued to advocate for full inclusion for people with disabilities. We currently have 98 affiliates in the United States, including 13 affiliates in California. UCP is now working to promote full participation for people with disabilities around the world. We are establishing partner organizations in Australia, Canada, Europe and Singapore. We look forward to establishing a “World without Limits”.