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FAQs

Cerebral Palsy: What is it?
Cerebral Palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. It is not a disease. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development, before, during, or shortly after birth, or during infancy.

Are there many types of CP?
Doctors classify Cerebral Palsy into three principal categories according to the type of movement disturbance. Spastic Cerebral Palsy is characterized by muscle stiffness and permanent contractions. Athetoid, or dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy is characterized by uncontrolled, slow, writhing movements, usually affecting the hands, feet, arms, or legs and, in some cases, the muscles of the face and tongue. Persons affected may also have problems coordinating the muscle movements needed for speech, a condition known as dysarthria. Ataxic Cerebral Palsy affects balance and depth perception resulting in poor coordination, an unsteady gait, and difficulty when attempting quick or precise movements. It is not unusual to have symptoms of more than one of the three forms.

What causes CP?
Congenital Cerebral Palsy results from brain injury during pregnancy, labor, or birth. Among the causes is an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching the fetal or newborn brain. Some risk factors may be associated with premature birth, low birth weight, blood type incompatibility between mother and infant, and infections of the mother early in pregnancy. Cerebral Palsy is generally present at birth, although may not be detected for months. Head injury is the most frequent cause of what is known as acquired Cerebral Palsy, usually the result of trauma to the brain, motor vehicle accidents, falls, or child abuse.

What are the effects of CP?
Depending on which areas of the brain have been damaged, one or more of the following may occur: muscle tightness or spasticity, involuntary movement, disturbance in gait or mobility, difficulty in swallowing, problems with speech, abnormal sensation and perception, impairment of sight, hearing or speech, seizures, and/or mental retardation. Other problems that may arise are difficulties in feeding, bladder and bowel control, problems with breathing because of postural difficulties, skin disorders because of pressure sores, and learning disabilities.

How many people have Cerebral Palsy in the US?
It is estimated that between 1.5 to 2.0 million children and adults have Cerebral Palsy in the United States. Each year, 10,000 infants and babies are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. An additional 1,200 to 1,500 preschool age children are recognized to have Cerebral Palsy each year.

Does UCP only serve individuals with Cerebral Palsy?
UCP provides programs and services to people with a wide variety of physical, developmental, acquired disabilities or any physical condition that severely limits an individual's independence.

How many people do you serve?
UCP of Long Island provides a range of programs and services to adults and children with disabilities each year and also serves as a resource to individuals and their families so they can obtain the services they need.

What services are available?
Services include physical, speech, and occupational therapies; early intervention; preschool and school age education; community residential and respite care programs; advocacy; information and referral; medical, dental and mental health; vocational evaluation and training; job placement and support; socialization programs; daily adult programs and services.

Who pays for these services?
Government agencies provide the bulk of UCP of Long Island's income. The state of New York provides funds through the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The remainder of UCP's income is earned through special events, private grants, and local and national donations from individuals, foundations and corporations.

How much of my donation will be used to fund programs?
UCP of Long Island is one of the most financially responsible organizations in the nation. Over 91 cents of every dollar is spent directly on programs and services for our participant population.

Isn't United Cerebral Palsy a national organization?
Yes. As one of the largest health charities in America, United Cerebral Palsy works to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network. UCP of Long Island is one of 100 national and international affiliates, but we receive NO funding from the national association which focuses on advocacy, research and program development.

Request for Service: How can I get help from UCP of Long Island?
You can call 631-232-0011 or send a letter (see Contact Us). It is determined on a case by case basis whether our programs and services are right for you.