Affordable Care Act

“Big news yesterday as the Supreme Court upheld and passed The Affordable Care Act. A critical step towards improving access to care for children with disabilities.” -Cathleen Collins, CEO United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County

The Supreme Court of the United States issued its ruling on the Affordable Care Act yesterday, upholding the law and ensuring that all Americans can get access to the care they need. While the decision today is a victory, there are two points that you should be aware of: first, the individual mandate was ruled to be constitutional as a tax and secondly, the planned Medicaid expansion will continue as an option, with no penalties for states that choose not to participate.

This decision will impact the disability community in a variety of ways, and below are some suggestedtalking points for UCP affiliates when speaking to the media about the Supreme Court’s decision:

How this affects YOU: 

  • The Affordable Care Act has already made a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans, including those living with disabilities.
  • Thursday’s decision is a clear victory for Americans living with disabilities.
  •  One of the most critical points the decision upholds is that all Americans, including thosewith pre-existing conditions and chronic illnesses, will have access to the coverage they need.
  •  For the disability community, this ruling affirms the definition of equality as setforth in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  •  Specifically, for Americans living with disabilities, the ruling upholds several criticalparts of the law:
    • Expanded access to affordable, quality health care regardless of age, income, or pre-existing condition. This means that all Americans, including those living with a disability, will be able to obtain access to care.
    • Shifting our health care system towards an emphasis on prevention and near-universal coverage, which will help Americans lead healthier lives and reduce health care costs.
    • Funding to establish preventive health programs and create and operate the Health Benefit Exchange. Theses Exchanges will help connect Americans to the health care coverage that is best for them. 
    • Expanded coverage to children with preexisting medical conditions, meaning that no child can be denied health care coverage because of illness, injury, or disability.           
    • Protected coverage for dependents up to 26 years of age on their parents insurance, helping young adults who are struggling in this difficult economy.
    • Eliminating lifetime dollar limits on benefits, helping people living with disabilities to get the care they need without an insurance company dictating their health care. 
    • Maintaining the CLASS Act infrastructure for the development of a long-term services and supports program.
    • Keeping the option to offer Medicaid eligibility to additional populations.

Kristy’s Video Debut

Recently we shared a video on our Facebook page (  that features on of our talented therapists in her dancing debut! Kristy wanted to make sure that NO ONE missed our fundraising sign in our lobby.

We had so many parents tell us how much they enjoyed the video and got a good laugh from it, that we felt in needed to be shared here!

More UCP-OC Info:

We have 9 days left to reach our fundraising goal!  To help us reach our goal the OM Foundation has stepped forward with a challenge to match every gift dollar for dollar, until June 30th We know that with you and the OM Foundation we can reach our goal!

You give. They thrive. Together, we can make a Life Without Limits!

My Child Without Limits: June Newsletter

Fathers: A Subject Area Often Overlooked 

In honor of Father’s Day, My Child Without Limits would like to call attention to an often overlooked subject- the needs and feelings of fathers of children with disabilities. The way in which fathers deal with a disability diagnosis is typically quite different than the way a mother copes.  A father’s approach tends to be more instrumental with a focus on future planning. Recognizing the differences between a mother’s and father’s reaction is important to both the family and to the way services should be provided. The Center for Inclusive Child Care created a PowerPoint Presentation that goes into more detail on the following topics-     

  • Tips for fathers of children with special needs
  • General observations about fathers’ parenting styles
  • Research on fathers of children with special needs
  • Suggestions for helping new fathers 

Click here for the PowerPoint presentation

You can also find more information and resources on this topic at The Father’s Network. The Network advocates for fathers of children with special health needs through support and mentoring programs, conferences and training seminars, a newsletter, a Web page, development of curriculum, and ongoing work with professionals to enhance service delivery for all family members.

Want to read personal stories from fathers of child with special needs? The National Center for Fathering has put together a list of books for sale on fathering a child with special needs written by dads, for dads.

New Autism Report Shows Late Diagnosis of Children with Autism

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that one-half of school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) were aged 5 years and older when they were first identified as having ASD. This is problematic since these children might miss out on early intervention services, which take place during ages 0-5. This is a vital time because this is when a child learns and develops at the fastest rate. Learn more about the importance of early intervention and find services in your community on the My Child Without Limits website.

Tips for Summer Trips in the Car

It’s summer time and many families will be hitting the road in search of fun and adventure. If you are traveling with a child with special needs, there are some important safety precautions to consider. Your child might require a specialized car seat or vehicle modifications to ensure safe transportation. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some Tips on Transporting a Child with Special Needs.

The National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Health Care Needs at the Riley Hospital for Children provides a wealth of information on safe care travel including recommended types of safety restraints and safe positioning by specific condition, behavioral modifications to ensure children remain safely seated, and much more. Check the website for more information. Safe travels!

Expanding the MCWL Experience 

For more than three years, families have relied on for information, resources and support to nurture and care for their children living with a spectrum of disabilities. We rely on generous support from people like you to continue offering this valuable resource for parents and caregivers. Your contributions help us provide welcome packs to new parents, populate the web site with up-to-date and relevant tools and resources, and provide a place where more than 1,300 parents connect with each other. In the coming months, we hope to expand the resources of My Child Without Limits even more by adding a dedicated “Medical Director” to the website to provide regular updates and interactive Q&A sessions with you!

UCP-OC | End of Year Update

Greetings Bloggers!

Well, the end of our fiscal year is coming up quickly! (June 30th, 2012) This means a few things to me (Elizabeth):

  1. A new year is beginning! – New ideas, new events, new budgets, ENDLESS possibilities!
  2. I have almost reached my annual giving goal, and UCP-OC has almost reached our organization wide goal. – Annual Giving is composed of donations from our families along with individuals in the community, and there is a mere $2,000 left to reach our goal! As an organization we have $100,000 left to raise in the next month, so if you have been saving your donation $$ for a special time..I think this just may be it! (See below for my reasoning. )
  3.  This marks my 1 year anniversary of working at UCP-OC. – Please no cards 🙂 Let me be the first to say what an incredible blessing it has been too! Not only have my eyes been opened to the world of fundraising and working at a non-profit, but I so treasure the families I have met in this past year. I marvel at the incredible moms and dads that constantly love on their children and strive to make a better life for their children so that they may experience a life that is not restricted by their disability. A life without limits!

I have so many ideas for next year, and I am excited to share them with all of you! (Be patient I have to finish out this year first.) I will give you a hint though: I truly long for, and my heart lies within: community. This year I want to create a community within UCP-OC that is invested in learning from each other through our blog, Facebook, Twitter and even our website.

First, I NEED to reach our fundraising goals!! I am proud to share that we are on target to raise a record $1.2 million this year thanks to families and donors like you. Through the month of June, every dollar that you give will be doubled thanks to a generous matching challenge from the OM Foundation. We have $100,000 left to raise, and we know that with you and the OM Foundation we can reach our goal! So as I said above, now is the time to donate because your gift will be matched!

If you would like to make a gift you can do so at or mail it to United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County, 980 Roosevelt Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92620.

Many thanks for reading this and supporting UCP-OC this past year. Our gratitude can not be expressed enough.

-Elizabeth Wylie, Marketing & Development Coordinator

Child of the Month – June 2012


The party was a dream come true. I never thought this day would come… UCP-OC empowered me to experience a birthday party I thought might not be possible for my son.
– Verna Espinoza 

Steven Espinoza is an 11 year-old with a sincere spirit that continually touches the lives of those around him. Steven has been diagnosed with highly-functioning autism. His mother, like many mothers, is an active advocate in the community to ensure Steven receives all that he needs to live a life without limits. This led the Espinoza family to United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County.

UCP-OC provides an inclusion facilitator that supports Steven in his after school program.  With this support, Steven has experienced and participated in many new activities, interacting and communicating with his peers at a whole new level.  Through these experiences he has developed many new interests and acquired skills that have helped him gain a higher level of independence.  Throughout the past 2 1/2 years, Steven has also grown more con­fident in a social sense and has begun building friendships.

This year, for the ­first time, Steven had names of friends that he wanted to invite to his birthday party. He wanted to ask friends from his after school program; friends he made on his own with the support of his UCP-OC inclusion facilitator. They sent out ­five invitations, and all fi­ve came back. Verna said, “The party was a dream come true.  I never thought this day would come; Steven horsing around with his buddies having a great time.  It was so natural and so genuine. UCP-OC empowered me to experience this birthday party that I thought might not be possible for my son.”

Steven plays on an AYSO VIP soccer team, coached by his father Pete.  Pete has seen changes in Steven’s understanding and ability as a team player.  Instead of getting the ball and trying to make a goal every time, Steven has begun to recognize the value of passing the ball to a teammate.  Pete said, “Steven’s inclusion facilitator recognized Steven’s athletic interests and abilities, she supported his participation in a variety of team sports opportunities in his after school program.  I was uncertain how he would do or even fi­t in on typical sports teams but I was excited and thankful once I saw how it benefi­ted him in so many ways.”  UCP-OC empowered Pete to experience his son’s success and growth in trying and/or joining new activities.

Through the support of his inclusion facilitator Steven continues to discover new interests and abilities, build friendships and create more “birthday party” memories for Verna and Pete.

If you would like to make a gift to support the services that are helping Steven and his family please click here or contact Elizabeth Wylie at for more information.