Spotlight: Nathan’s Life Without Limits with Respite from UCP-OC

At United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP-OC), our vision of a Life Without Limits for children with disabilities is central to all that we do. In addition to providing the therapies and resources children with special needs require to achieve their full potential, UCP-OC seeks to improve the quality of life for families like Nathan’s. This is Nathan’s story.

Nathan at 18 months old.

As an infant, Nathan was delayed on all developmental milestones. Shortly before his 2nd birthday, he was diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy. At 6 years old, non-verbal and exhibiting self-stimulatory behaviors such as staring intently at the ceiling fan, Nathan was also diagnosed with autism.

Nathan and his parents, Derrick and Julie, have found a great support system in family, friends, and their local community. One thing Julie was missing, though, was time to herself. She felt strongly that since she works full-time as a teacher, she needed to spend all of her free time with Nathan.

Then, when Nathan was 15, Julie was introduced to UCP-OC’s Respite and Childcare programs, which provide childcare support and  temporary relief to those caring for people with special needs. Yvette Staggs, UCP-OC’s Director of Respite & Childcare, helped Julie to realize that the entire family’s quality of life could be improved with the support of UCP-OC’s skilled, compassionate respite workers. She also pushed Julie to encourage Nathan’s independence.

 “Nathan is a remarkable young man with an endless amount of opportunity. His fun-loving personality makes Nathan a joy to be around.  Nathan’s drive to know more, his desire to increase his independence, and the endless support that surrounds him serve as a reminder of what a Life Without Limits truly means.” – Yvette Staggs, Director of Respite & Childcare

Nathan with his respite worker.
Nathan with his respite worker.

While Julie gets to enjoy musicals like Jersey Boys with her friends and paddle boarding with Derrick, Nathan spends quality time with his current respite worker, Christy. Christy and Nathan go out to lunch or visit the pier. Christy always encourages Nathan to be independent – to feed himself and use the Proloquo app on his iPad to communicate. Julie never has to worry about Nathan, because he always comes home with a smile on his face.

“UCP has given us a great quality of life. From knowing that Yvette is always there to provide support and advice, to the comradery and confidence Nathan gets from time with his respite worker, and the motivation to encourage Nathan’s independence, UCP-OC has made a big impact on our lives.” – Julie

This focus on his independence helped Nathan secure one of 24 coveted spots in a local Independent Living Skills program. Julie and Derrick are grateful to UCP-OC for helping them to realize Nathan’s potential and always pushing them to encourage his independence. UCP-OC is proud of all of Nathan’s accomplishments and to play a significant role in his Life Without Limits.

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