Cerebral Palsy (CP) Kids & Families was founded in 1951 by a group of parents, each of whom was dealing with similar, yet somewhat varied disabilities of their children and had not yet received a specific diagnosis. Several years later with advances in science and medicine, Canadian doctors were finally capable of recognizing the defining traits of cerebral palsy, enabling them to provide diagnoses to concerned parents. Shortly after, CP Kids & Families saw the need to start a treatment and support program for individuals and families affected by cerebral palsy.
Over the past 70 years as an organization, we have become specialists in helping families navigate the vast array of services available for their children living with a physical disability. What makes us unique to this day is that we are still driven by parents with shared experiences of the challenges of raising children with physical disabilities.
Our extensive experience affords us a deep understanding of the scope of diverse challenges that families are faced with when their child receives a physical disability diagnosis. We approach every family’s journey from a place of empathy to give them the tools they need to not just survive, but thrive throughout their lives.
CP Kids & Families is more than an organization – we are a community, an extended family, and a lifeline to families in need. We share in the experience of having children living with a physical disability, and provide not only hope, but the potential for children to be something more than the label of their disability.
Our work is expansive and includes family support programs, parent networks, an adapted bike and equipment program, and so much more. We are here to establish connections, understand challenges, and provide a place to belong when there is nowhere else to go. CP Kids & Families recognizes that every child is unique and we are deeply driven to ensure that every child experiences an inclusive, abundant, and happy life.
CP Kids & Families truly embodies our namesake, providing support to all infants, children, teenagers, adults and their families who are living with a physical disability diagnosis including cerebral palsy in Calgary and the surrounding area. We recognize that no one desires to be different or defined by a label beyond their control, and so we focus on individuality and the unique life experiences of every child.
Although we provide services directly to children and families with physical disabilities, our work encompasses so much more and reaches an extensive group of stakeholders. Through community education and outreach programs we aim to inform the general public about what life looks like living with a physical disability and the kind of support required to make that life fulfilling.
We regularly connect with a diverse group of professionals including social workers, physicians, physiotherapists, educators, occupational therapists and many more, both providing education and engaging their various services. Establishing an extensive network of interdisciplinary professionals allows us to connect children and families with the specialists, groups, or services they need at any time.
CP Kids & Families’ work aims to decrease the marginalization often experienced by not only those individuals living with a physical disability, but also other historically marginalized groups such as new Canadians or indigenous peoples. We pride ourselves on inclusivity, reclaiming purpose, and establishing identity beyond the immediately visible aspects of an individual.
We recognize that everyone needs help in a different way. Maybe it’s a new adapted bicycle, a kind ear to listen to a struggle, a weekly virtual dance party, or an annual visit with Santa. No matter the ask, we are dedicated and committed to working tirelessly in providing help to anyone in need.
CP Kids & Families offers a wide selection of programming for children and families living with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
Family Support Program: This program assists families in all stages of their diagnosis. Working to develop a safe environment for parents and families to join us, our office serves as a family support resource centre. Providing one-on-one family support and direct access to a registered social worker, families can utilize our services for assistance with funding, program inquiries, and any other questions or concerns they may have regarding their life circumstances. Through this program, our organization provides individualized support, advice, encouragement, and hope for families. Additional services offered by this program include opportunities for families to explore accessible transportation and home events, equipment loan programs, coffee socials, and more!
Adapted Bike Program: Our flagship Adapted Bike Program is the only one of its kind in all of North America. This program serves to empower youth and children living with a physical disability by providing them with an adapted bike that meets their individual needs. Our team works to customize bikes in creative and innovative ways that provide the opportunity for each and every child to experience the simple joy of riding a bike. Overcoming barriers and providing a sense of normality, our adapted bikes let our kids be kids! In 2021, CP Kids and families loaned adapted bikes to 250 children, and are adding more bikes to our growing inventory regularly. We are looking forward to hosting in-person bike clinics in the spring of 2022 and expanding our program to include a wider range of adapted equipment that can be used for outdoor activities throughout all of Calgary’s diverse seasons.
Recreation and Social Programs: Our recreation and social programs provide the opportunity for families in our membership to participate in fun, exciting and inclusive activities. Additionally, these events serve as a community support opportunity for parents and family members to socialize and network with other individuals living with a physical disability. Programs are available for all different ages and abilities including music and movement therapy, young adult meetups, virtual programs and more.
Summer Kids Camp: Our Summer Kids Camp program is designed for children living with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy. With activities targeted towards and adapted to the children attending, we are able to deliver a camp experience that enables every child to actively participate, and more importantly, have fun! With a dedicated one-on-one staff ratio, our goal is for each child’s summer camp experience be safe, inclusive, exciting, and enjoyable.
Funding Programs: Our funding request program provides support, information, and assistance regarding funding opportunities for families in our membership. Funding requests may relate to recreational programs, adapted equipment, home renovations, or other items to enhance/aid day-to-day living such as touch screen computers, commodes, etc. We also support adapted recreational activities with subsidies, and offer funding for families in crisis.
With your support, no matter how big or small, you can help us Light Up A Child’s Life. The work that CP Kids & Families undertakes day in and day out truly changes lives and creates a deep and lasting impact. Support comes in many forms and we welcome it all! Monetary donations fund our operations and allow us to continue providing crucial services to our members throughout the year. Every dollar donated has a direct impact on children and families living with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy.
Ways to give include: