Make Insurance Cover Autism

We received this e-mail and thought we would pass it along to our readers 🙂

Your advocacy is needed to help protect the services our children are currently entitled to under California’s Lanterman Act. Please see below as to what action steps are requested.




Help Save the Lanterman Act!

Help Save Lanterman Act Services!

Take Action!

Make Insurance Cover Autism

Dear Friends,

2012 is going to be another brutal budget year for the developmental services that our entire community depends on. As with every year since 2009, we’ll have to fight hard to save the Lanterman Act.

But we don’t have to wait. Please take 45 seconds TODAY to send an email to Assembly Speaker John Perez. Ask him to allow passage of the bill to make insurers covers behavioral therapy for autism spectrum disorders, saving the state millions of dollars and thus helping avert more damaging service cuts next year. 

I wrote you about the bill last week. The response was fantastic, especially from the autism segment of the developmental disability community. Now we need more response from everyone.

Just click on “Take Action” (upper right). That will take you to an Arc page where you’ll see the same Action Alert you’re reading right now. Scroll down to the bottom of that page and fill in the information to send Speaker Perez the simple email.

A lot of you have asked what’s happened since the Action Alert last week. The insurance industry, which is fighting us tooth and nail, won what we hope will be a temporary victory when the bill didn’t advance from the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

But Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, the bill’s author, has made this his highest personal priority for the last week and a half of the legislative session. He’s negotiating now with Speaker Perez – the one person with the power to let the bill move forward.

If Senator Steinberg, who doesn’t even have any family members with developmental disabilities, can put hours into this, surely more us can take 45 seconds to send an email. And also forward this Action Alert to anyone you know who might be willing to help. 

Thank you for your advocacy.



Greg deGiere

Public Policy Director

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California

1225 – 8th Street, Suite 350

Sacramento, CA 95814

916-552-6619 x16 (office)

916-223-7319 (mobile)

916-441-3494 (fax)

916-441-3494 (fax)

A September of Firsts

Happy September! Today is the first day of September and it couldn’t be a more beautiful day.

September is a month of firsts.

School starts soon meaning the first day of Kindergarten, first time riding the bus, first time dropping off your baby at school, first day of High School or even college. I have seen mothers take these days in strides, documenting the whole experience by taking pictures. We would love to see those pictures so please post them on our Facebook page

Another thing that comes with school is requirements for baking…whether that be for your child’s birthday, class or just as an afternoon snack. Recently, I have taken up baking (very out of character for me) and I wanted to share an easy recipe that may remedy these upcoming baking needs.

For this cupcake I simply used the funfetti cake mix, made some chocolate butter  cream frosting and adorned the top with a rice crispy treat.

So first make the cupcake by following the instructions on the box.
Frosting: it may be easier to just buy frosting but here is a recipe for the icing.

6 tbsp. butter

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tbsp. cocoa

2 to 3 tbs. milk

*I would add a teaspoon of Vanilla extract for flavor

  1. Cream butter
  2. Combine sugar and cocoa
  3. Add sugar and cocoa mixture to butter
  4. Add milk to mixture. Start with 2 tbsp of milk and if it’s too think add another tbsp. of milk

To finish the cupcakes I had the rainbow chip rice crispy treats and cut them into strips and placed them on top.

Voila! You have 24 cupcakes for whatever need may come up.





Babysitting Bridget

Being a fifteen year old girl, there are many things you can expect me to say about myself. I am a dedicated student and a competitive athlete. I love to spend time with my friends and family, I am super involved in my church’s high school youth group. I babysit on the weekends for money and blog for UCP to earn volunteer hours. Often when people ask further about my work here at UCP, they question how I became involved. And that is a story all its own.       -Ellie

I started babysitting for Caroline and Bridget Candy (pictured above) when I was in sixth grade. Normally when I babysit for them, Caroline, who is best friends with my younger sister Markie, ends up hanging out at my house, while I watch Bridget at their house. It may seem easy, but it is no simple task. See, Bridget Candy, the daughter of UCP-OC CEO Cathy Collins, has cerebral palsy, as well as autism. Being a sixth grader when I started with Bridget, I didn’t really know what I was doing or whether I was doing anything right. Bridget would cry when she saw me walk through the door because she knew that meant mommy was leaving. The only remedy to cease her tears was…Barney. Who would have known that a purple dinosaur would become a sixth grader’s dream come true!? Bridget and I would sit on the floor clapping and singing along to Barney songs. Other times when I would watch her, she would be in a great mood; we would get along well, read books, laugh at her toys and sing random songs. I would take her on walks around the neighborhood, giving her pieces of grass, flower petals, and leaves for her to carefully examine.

Throughout my adventures with Bridget, I have discovered she is a genius, really. Bridget studied the leaves, flowers and blades of grass with such patience and care that you might just mistake her for a little botanist. After our walks we end up at my house and sit on my bed, bounce up and down, and laugh just for fun. Simply put: She was happy!

Then there were the other times…these times usually came when she was sick or didn’t get much sleep. She would fuss and cry because mommy had to run errands. I’m not going to lie… I would get pretty scared during these times. I remember thinking, ‘I’m not qualified to babysit her… what if I’m doing something wrong! What if I’m messing up her progress in therapy or something?’ But it was during these hard times when I would realize how much I was learning from my experience with Bridget.

First, I realized that I could handle a lot more than I ever thought I could. Secondly, I had a greater understanding of the patience and love that Miss Cathy and so many others constantly give Bridget. From the time I started with Bridget until now, our relationship had changed so much. She greets me By name now when I see her, she gives me hugs without trying to bite me or pinch me, and most encouragingly, she doesn’t cry as much or at all when she sees me. It had been fun for me to watch Bridget grow and improve in her speech and social skills. I cannot wait to see what is to come in the future!

Shop For A Cause!

Shop For A Cause

Saturday, August 27th 2011

Since 2006, Macy’s Shop For A Cause Event has partnered with non-profit organizations nationwide to raise more than $38 million for their ongoing charitable efforts. This is your chance to be part of this monumental event on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Shop For A Cause gives you the opportunity to give back to your community and to help our organization. Purchase a $5 Shopping Pass* for 25% off regular, sale and clearance items and 10% off furniture, mattresses and area rugs in every Macy’s store and online at on Saturday, August 27th, and we keep 100% of the proceeds. Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy’s Gift Card.

 Tickets can be purchased at the UCP-OC Life Without Limits Therapy Center front desk.

For More Info please contact Elizabeth @ 949.333.6412 or

The Friday Night Club for Teens with Special Needs

Looking for an avenue to get your teen involved?

I am thrilled to introduce you all to a new club that has joined forces with UCP-OC; a club that has formed for the sole purpose of creating a place and time for teens with special needs to come together and just hang out! For typical teens this is not a concept that is new to them, but there aren’t many places or avenues for teens with special needs to spend time together.

The Friday Night Club was started by a high school student named Natalie. As the other children in the family left for college, her brother was left without his playmates. Natalie saw a need for her brother to have a time to meet other teens with special needs and get to know them by hanging out. Not only is it a special time for these teens, but typical teens volunteer at the event and really create a connection with these teens. The club meets twice a month, one time at their home and the other time is at UCP-OC from 7-10pm for teens ages 13-18.

I had the privilege of going to one of the Friday Night clubs in their home, and it was astounding to see. To begin with there are so many activities for these teens to do; there is ping pong, Uno, Jenga, basketball, pool, video games and food restriction-friendly snacks are brought by families and are provided. Many of the teens just sit and hang out in groups to talk and get to know each other. The generosity of this family is astounding to say the least. Where I would go to retreat from the world after a long week of work, they open up their doors and hearts to these teens. They simply want to create a safe environment for teens to get together for games, movies, conversation and friendship just like typical teens, and get so much joy with the sound of laughter and life these teens create!

This Friday, August 19th, from 7-10pm the teens will be meeting at the UCP-OC facility to watch a movie on the projector and play bingo! 980 Roosevelt, Irvine 92620; Suite 100

Adult supervision is always present, but if your teen needs special care please stay and join your teen in the activities. Currently they are choosing between three movies: 1) Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2) Like Mike 3) Karate Kid.

So as they say, bring a pillow, bean bag, or favorite stuffed animal, and join the fun!

We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information or questions please contact:

• Natalie: 


• Elizabeth:


Mission Possible : Bike Camp 2011

  “I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like”


Take a moment and imagine; an open bike path along the beach, wind in your hair, the sound of the waves breaking next to you and your family or friends riding alongside of you on your new bicycle. Riding a bike is a privilege that many of us take for granted. Most people have vivid memories of riding a bicycle throughout their childhood…and if everyone is like me, a few minor spills along the way!

 Last week, I was able to experience the true gift of being able to master the art of riding a bike at Bike Camp 2011. The camp is put on by Lose the Training Wheels instructors, Nikki & Corey,  and hosted by UCP-OC as well as the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County at the beautiful Soka University in Aliso Viejo. We want to thank Easton-Bell Sports, for generously donating bicycle helmets to each of the participants to keep them safe as the rode around on their bikes!

 The camp starts out in the gym where the children are given a bike adapted to teach children with special needs to ride a bike gradually. Each child has a volunteer stay with them through the week and work alongside of them, and by the end of the week the volunteers are running after the children so that they can keep up! Monday- Wednesday the campers ride around the gym getting used to the bikes and constant pedaling. Thursday the campers were able to go outside and try riding a bike with two wheels! The parking lot was the perfect setting for the campers to hit the asphalt and show off their skills. The parents were overwhelmed and emotional at seeing their child riding a bike on their own.

 Many of the parents of these children never thought they would see the day their child would ride a bike. Parents, like Selah’s mother, were told that their child would never walk or talk. This is a testament of what hard work, intervention, and coming alongside a child can do! If it were not for the determination of parents, volunteers and therapists, these children could be in a very different situation.

The children’s determination to ride the bike on their own was simply put; astounding. At UCP-OC we feel so privileged to be a part of these children’s lives and see these steps into Living a Life Without Limits.

Selah was a recipient of a bike from Edwards Lifesciences the week prior so she had been waiting to ride her new bike on her own! By Friday she was cruising around the parking lot on her new bike with her volunteer running behind her. Here is a video her mom made to document her success!


Child of the Month

Here at UCP-OC we treat some incredible children with disabilities ranging from mild to severe. I hear stories all the time about the treatments that children are getting and milestones that are being reached because of UCP-OC. With all of these stories I thought we should have a place to showcase these children and their incredible feats.

Starting with the month of August we will have a Child of the Month so that our community at Life Without Limits Therapy Center at UCP-OC can see what other children are doing! With this page, family and friends can see what the child is achieving , understand more about how special each child is and the services that help get them to the place they are at.

This month we featured a child named Jacob. To read about the Jacob go to the Child of the Month page at the top of menu or follow this link.

The Gift of a Stroller

One of the things we like to do on the blog is to share with you stories that parents have given us about their child whose life has been tangibly influenced by UCP-OC. Here is one of those stories..

What a difference a stroller can make in a person’s life! When Jeremy and his family applied to get a much needed new stroller, Regional Center gave them a wheelchair. A stroller is a collapsible, portable, light weight wheelchair that allows an individual to participate in walks, hikes and even runs! Since, the Bacon family does not own a wheelchair-friendly car they were unable to make use of the chair. A wheelchair is very difficult to transport, especially for an active young man.

Through the aid of the Bellows grant, United Cerebral Palsy was able to provide Jeremy with a brand new stroller. The gift got to the family at the perfect time, the day before Jeremy’s graduation at Orange Coast Community College.  Without the new stroller, Jeremy would have had to roll across the stage in his old stroller, one he had out grown by two feet! Not only did Jeremy use the stroller provided at graduation, but he continues to use it daily. He especially enjoys riding around the pier and the park. Thanks to the help of UCP-OC, Jeremy will be able to use this gift for many years to come!

If you have a story you would like to share please email it to Elizabeth,

Written by: Ellie

What is all the talk about the Debt Ceiling?

I don’t know about you, but this whole budget crisis is difficult to keep track of! I have been trying to remain diligent (as I’m sure you have) on what conversations have been going on and how this remains to be relevant to UCP-OC  and our families here.

That being said, I thought I would give you a break and give you a wealth of information and links to find out all about what is happening. (no pun intended 🙂 )

Lets start with a little background on the issue:

Washington is looking for ways to remedy the cavernous hole that two wars and increased spending has created. They are turning to cuts in Social Security and Medicaid.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the debt ceiling people do not think about disabilities, but rather other more prominent issues such as retirement and veterans. Many special needs families rely on Medicaid to pay for services, prescriptions and other community-based supports. If Medicaid is decreased further it will greatly affect UCP-OC and you.

As an organization we have moved from being dependent on government funding to becoming a government assisted organization. We have already shifted our focus to philanthropy; relying on our families and donors to make up 50% of our funding in order to remain offering the same services.

With Medicaid under fire, and families frightened that their loved one’s livelihood will be stripped away disability advocacy groups moved to Washington to speak with the Obama administration on the issue.

To watch President Obama’s address to the issue follow this link:

UCP’s national affiliate  has stared a campaign to put a face on Medicaid. This has made the issue real and hard hitting to those who are not informed on who Medicaid affects.

To find out more:

As stated above, we rely on your generosity to remain serving you to the best of our ability! Even a gift of $20 goes a long way to help a child live their life without limits!

Donate Now!

Leave us a comment and tell us what you think or how this affects you!

Written by: Elizabeth Wylie

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Summer has officially arrived and things are changing here at UCP-OC! We have two new employees (one being me) and a desire to really get to know you! (our lovely families at UCP-OC)

So as we get to know you, its only fair you learn a little more about me! I wrote a little blurb a few months ago, but my name is Elizabeth and I was the intern here but now I am a full-time employee! I  graduated from Azusa Pacific University and I’m eager to learn about all of you. I love making pizzas from scratch (prosciutto and arugula is my personal favorite), I am a huge cupcake fan and love the fireworks at Disneyland! I am from good ol’ Huntington Beach, but big surprise I have an irrational fear of waves and therefore don’t surf. Last but not least, I LOVE taking pictures on my iPhone and sharing them. Here are just a couple pictures of the things I love (taken on my iPhone of course) :]


My hope is to give you information about things going on inside as well as outside UCP-OC, let you learn a little bit more about the families that come here through focusing on one child a month, as well as just creating conversations. I love the word community; a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. I think we have the potential to create a great community through our passion for children with special needs. I really want this blog to be a place where information is given, but also where questions are answered!!

Here is how we create community!

  • Talk to us on Facebook! Give us ideas of what you want to hear from us, what you love at UCP-OC, something funny your child did that day or how we can serve you better! A good story makes my day so I would love to hear some!
  • Email me at if you would like your child to be our child of the month! It could be a great way to give you family and friends the opportunity to learn what is going on in your child’s life.
  • Send us pictures of your child in action that we can share with everyone else!
  • Comment on a blog post! Maybe you have a personal experience or have tried something we are writing about. Let us know what you think!

Life is meant to be shared and that’s what I want to do! So nice to meet you and I can’t wait to hear from you! I think Mr. Rogers says it perfectly, “Won’t  you be my neighbor?”



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