CP Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cerebral Palsy?
What causes Cerebral Palsy?
What does the VCP do?
What’s it like to live with CP?

What does the VCP do?

The VCP's office acts as a meeting place where people with CP gather to exchange ideas and thoughts and express their needs. In this "think-tank" environment people with CP are encouraged: to learn to take a leadership role; to make decisions; to articulate and exchange ideas, philosophies, and goals; to function within a structure; to develop political understanding; and to advocate on their own behalf. Through the exchange of ideas and the expression of needs the following programs have been developed and proven to be useful to the Cerebral Palsied community.

1. Computer Services Program.

This program creates an opportunity for Cerebral Palsied adults to use computers. It allows the users to interact with other computer users to share their knowledge and expertise in the computer field. It provides them with an opportunity to try a variety of computer hardware and software they would not normally have access to. Developing computer skills not only gives people with CP marketable job skills, it also facilitates creative expression through computer animation, music and word processing. In addition, in some cases, people with CP who are non-verbal rely on computers as a communication tool. The program must stay current in both hardware and software in order to be a resource which will enable Cerebral Palsied adults to modify and acquire systems that are suitable to their physical and financial needs.

2. Newsletter Program.

The newsletter, "TONE OF VOICE", is published four times a year. It is the vehicle used to communicate with the adult Cerebral Palsied community on issues affecting their daily lives. In turn, it provides a forum for the expression of their ideas and opinions. It has published items ranging from articles on current events to original stories and poetry, to recipes and original art. For a community of people who are often isolated, and in many cases have severe speech difficulties, this newsletter is their only means of expression.

3. Registry Program.

This program was created in response to numerous inquiries regarding the adult Cerebral Palsied community, and other organizations for people with CP. Thus the VCP needed to create our own database containing statistical and demographic information. Information such as: how many CP adults live in BC and where; male and female ratio; age range; source of income; type of CP; level of education; and the rate of unemployment is needed to gain a basic overview of the community.

4. Outreach Program.

Cerebral Palsied adults are encouraged to become active in the VCP and its programs as volunteers who have skills and experiences to contribute to our organization. Membership in other organizations is encouraged as a way of contacting other CP adults and showing society that we contribute to a global society. Currently, members of the VCP are involved with and/or sit on the Directorship of Theater Terrific Society, B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities, Vancouver Region Custom Transit Advisory Committee, Indoor Sports Club, CP Association of B.C., Guardianship Committee of the Legal Services Society of B.C., the International Society of the Handicapped and the False Creek Residence Society.

5. Job Development Program.

The VCP creates jobs which are suited to each individual person's unique physical and mental capabilities. The VCP is a strong proponent of job moulding or sculpting and job sharing. For example, one person's skills may be combined with those of one, two, or three others to accomplish a particular task. This program provides a place and environment where adults with Cerebral Palsy can gain insight and experience in the working world.

It should be noted that despite its limited resources, the VCP has created more job placements for people with disabilities, and those with CP in particular, than many other organizations in BC. We hope that these organizations, especially those which profess to work with or for people with disabilities, follow our lead and set examples for the rest of the public, private and non-profit sectors to emulate.

Any organization or business seeking advice on how to make their workplace more accessible and/or suitable to the needs of a disabled employee is welcome to call the VCP. The VCP provides consultative services in the areas of architectural design and renovations and acquiring aids and equipment which will improve the disabled employee(s) efficiency and ability to function.

6. Project Development Program.

The Project Development Program is related to, but separate from, the Job Development Program. This program gives the participants opportunities to generate ideas that are then developed into projects. These projects can range from designing and developing aids and equipment which are not on the market to creating projects which employ people with disabilities.

7. Housing Development Program.

The mandate of the Housing Development Program is to develop accessible, affordable and appropriate housing for people with CP and other disabilities within a mixed housing environment. The VCP is working with government and the private sector to create innovative ways to develop and build this urgently needed housing. Now that the federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has shifted the responsibility for building social housing to the provinces and the BC Housing Management Commission has not increased the number of units it builds to correspond both with its added responsibility and the growth of BC's population, it is more incumbent than ever on the VCP to step into this vacuum.

8. Other.

In addition to the above mentioned programs, the VCP also does peer counseling and advocacy work. The VCP offers peer counseling to clients needing more individualized attention to deal with personal problems. The VCP is involved in advocating for greater accessibility to housing, education, transportation, recreation, and homemaker/attendant care. The VCP is seeking reforms to both the Guaranteed Available Income for Need (GAIN) Act and the guardianship laws as well as advocating for greater employment of disabled people, particularly those with CP, in the non-profit, public and private sectors.