Our name is a little misleading, but our mission is not:
The mission of United Cerebral Palsy of Huntsville & Tennessee Valley, Inc. (UCP) is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and promote their independence, self-sufficiency and full citizenship in the community.
UCP Huntsville serves not only children with cerebral palsy, but also children and adults who represent 156 additional diagnoses, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, and developmental delays. UCP provides physical, occupational and speech therapies, family counseling, support groups, respite, technology assistance, art and summer camps, and so much more for clients, their families, and the teaching professionals who work alongside them right here in North Alabama.
Thanks to the generous support from our community, especially through fundraising events, UCP provides the following programs and services to more than 1,000 local families annually affected by a disability—most at little or no cost.[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”center” cite=”~ Gina Bender” quotestyle=”style01″]Thank you UCP Huntsville. You welcomed us to Huntsville with open arms this summer during camp and I want to thank you all.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]
UCP’s Early Intervention program focuses on assisting families who have children with developmental delays from birth to three years of age. An individualized plan is developed based on the family’s daily routines and concerns. Appropriate intervention services are provided to fit the family’s needs through parent/caregiver training in the child’s natural environment. Possible Early Intervention team members may include service coordinators, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, special instructors, and others as needed.
This service provides therapeutic evaluations and direct treatment, including physical, occupational and speech therapies, for individuals of all ages and abilities. UCP features the latest in therapeutic equipment for clients. When a physician prescribes outpatient therapy, young children with disabilities may also be provided with splinting and casting services to allow for proper bone growth and development. Computerized gait analysis and neuromuscular electrical stimulation services are also available. Physical Rehabilitation specialist Dr. Charlie Law of Birmingham conducts a bi-monthly clinic through this program.
Children’s Therapy Services
Therapy services are available for typically developing children with short-term injuries due to sports and childhood accidents. Services offered for children age birth to 16 years include pediatric physical, occupational and speech therapies and are available upon physician referral.
This program provides training for parent groups with a developmental specialist, family events for networking and support, seasonal activities for children, resource information and referrals.
Equipping Families for Success
A licensed counselor is available for individual and/or group counseling for families affected by a disability. A parent support group meets weekly.
UCP offers weekly playgroups for children ages 1-4 to provide children with enjoyable learning experiences and the socialization skills needed to transition later to a traditional classroom setting.
CCEP (Childcare Enhancement with a Purpose)
UCP offers free training to childcare providers statewide to help create an inclusive environment for children with special needs. The CCEP program provides onsite training, consultation and technical assistance to preschools, daycares and other childcare providers. More than 10,000 North Alabama children and childcare providers benefit annually from this basic child development and inclusion education and training. As a direct result of CCEP training last year, 135 children were identified with developmental delays and are now receiving services from Early Intervention, the school system, and/or private therapy.
Respite is temporary relief for family caregivers who are caring for individuals of any age who have disabilities, chronic or terminal illnesses. The Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network® (Alabama Respite) is a statewide program working to make respite readily available and easily accessible for all caregivers. Services include information and referral, public awareness and advocacy, voucher respite programs, and technical assistance to start new or expand existing respite options for family caregivers. Alabama Respite’s Sharing the Care initiatives offer support for communities and faith-based organizations that wish to develop their own respite resources. Visit www.alabamarespite.org.
H.E.A.R.T.S. (Help Emergency and Respite Treatment Service)
The H.E.A.R.T.S. program is designed to provide respite care for families of children with special needs up to age 19. A voucher system allows parents to secure a caregiver of their choosing with payment by voucher. H.E.A.R.T.S. also offers parent trainings on various topics, including first aid and CPR.
Camp I Can, Fun Fridays, Tech for Teens, and various family activities at UCP feature theme-based language, motor and sensory activities through arts and crafts, games, movement, music, snacks and computer time. The events are staffed by physical, occupational and speech/language therapists, special educators, and qualified volunteers. Community visitors also share their talents with the children to provide music, movement and art experiences.
Equipment loan and recycling programs
The Waste Not and SHARE (Special Help with Adaptive Resources & Equipment) programs allow UCP to assess, demonstrate and loan durable medical and mobility equipment to individuals with disabilities. Equipment donations, including wheelchairs, walkers and lifts, are gladly accepted, refurbished, and quickly redistributed within the community. Visit www.al.at4all.com.
T.A.S.C. (Technology Assistance for Special Consumers)
T.A.S.C. helps individuals with disabilities obtain and use technology to improve their independence at home, school, work and in the community. T.A.S.C. offers a fully accessible computer and training lab, state-of-the-art technology and equipment loans through the Carlene Hall Lending Library, professional training, online training, community-based demonstrations, adaptive technology evaluations, and community outreach. Visit www.startraining.org.[sws_pullquote_right]”Before this group (Young Adult Connections) the only contact I had with other people with disabilities was when I was in high school. That was seven years ago. I still live at home and my only other real community had been my church. Now, I am happy to have a place where I can interact with people in the same boat as me and that group has given me something to look forward to.” – Nicholas Williams [/sws_pullquote_right]
Young Adult Connections
Young Adult Connections is a monthly peer support group for young adults with disabilities. The group meets at the UCP Technology & Training Center and presents speakers from the community, as well as provides a forum to discuss a variety of social, emotional and job readiness topics with a licensed counselor. The group has embarked on a campaign to promote inclusiveness at local schools, as well as other health and human service agencies and civic/community organizations, called “I Am Norm.” To schedule an “I Am Norm” presentation for your school or organization, contact Marilyn Lands at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about all UCP programs, services and events, visit us at our centers or online at www.ucphuntsville.org and facebook.com/ucp.huntsville, or by calling the UCP Therapy Center at 256-852-5600 and the UCP Technology & Training Center at 256-859-4900.
Tracy Cieniewicz and her husband, John, are parents to an amazing little girl, Delaney. Tracy is a Madison County native, Hazel Green High School and University of North Alabama alum, and former newspaper journalist. She has worked in fundraising and event management at UCP of Huntsville since 2007. She loves the beach, stormy nights, fresh fruit, warm towels, fall weather, and the UA fight song.