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National Language Study

UCP National engaged Malansky and Partners to guide the National office and its nationwide affiliates in a language study. Malansky and Partners is a research driven strategist firm that helps people and organizations learn the right language so people hear what we are trying to say. Their motto is “it is not what you say that matters; it’s what they hear.” 

Certain messages do not resonate with the people that we talk to. A common message we as advocates, supporters, and providers often display for instance is the following message“we have come a long way in this country but we have a long way to go.” Yes, this message does resonate, and it is easy for our listeners to agree with that concept.

Attitudes started to shift with messages that did not readily resonate; a good example is when we start to talk to people about social stigma issues. The researchers found that when speaking about social stigmas, people responded “yes that may be true but that’s not me, I don’t do that”. Messages like this put people on the defense so we have to be careful in how we engage people.

People immediately start to feel attacked and feel that they are doing something wrong. This is where they stop listening to what we are saying. This is where we have to work to keep people’s attention so that they will listen to what we are saying when we talk about issues surrounding people with disabilities.

Some people come to the table with pre-conceived notions so we have to tweak the way we try to convey the message. When we go out and talk about issues referencing disabilities in a civil rights manner we often loose people because the message starts to sound like the “us against them mentality” and that’s what we don’t want to convey.

When talking with people about needs in the community and challenges, people responded by saying “yes I have challenges, we all have challenges”. This is why it important that we find ways to bridge the gap in the message that we want people to hear and not just what we say. 

A lot of these messages and disconnects hinder us from being successful in making the “asks” that we need to make for the people we serve. It’s not what we are saying but what they are hearing. We need to move from a place of making people feel secluded but start to convey more of a unified message. 

How? 

The research tested language study unpacked a lot of principles that will help us get people to listen and hear what we have to say. We want to talk about principles that are universal. For instance we want to get away from talking about people in the disabilities community but the study suggests that we need to talk about people with disabilities and their friends and families.

This makes the conversation more universal because there is a great chance that the listener knows either a friend or family member of someone with a disability. This message resonates. This conversation is much more humanizing and identifiable. People feel that real change for people with disabilities is not just about helping people with disabilities but helping the individuals and their families. 

Malansky and Partners did an awesome job with the National language study. The evidence based results will help us here at UCPWA look at the way we talk to people about the people we support. Stay tuned for more from the National Language study in the next issue of our newsletter.

Ride No Limits


Our new transportation program is now in full-swing. This service is completely free to approved applicants. A dedicated route will be provided for transport to People First meetings, which are held on every fourth Thursday at AIDB. Applications are available at the UCPWA Center. Call 205-345-3031 for more information. Operation hours are:
  • Monday 5 - 9 pm
  • Wednesday 5 - 9 pm
  • Friday 5 - 9 pm
  • Saturday 9 am - 9 pm (every other weekend)
  • Sunday 9 am - 6 pm (every other weekend)

West Alabama State Fair

It's that time of year again! We've already started making preparations for this year's fair. We hope to improve and build upon the fair each year, and it's our desire to make this year's the best yet.

We've brought on two new members to our fair planning team - Nathan Craft and Kristin Goulart. Both are upcoming seniors at the University of Alabama, and they are eager to provide the community with the best and most fun-filled fair yet.

This year's fair will be held at Sokol Park on August 19-24. As the dates get closer, look to our website for the latest information: www.westalabamastatefair.com. We hope you'll make plans to see us there!

New Milestones Program

United Cerebral Palsy of West AL, Inc. is proud to announce its upcoming partnership with Alabama Department of Rehab Services to participate in the Milestones program. The Employment Program will enable UCP of West AL to assist people with a variety of disabilities in locating, obtaining and maintaining gainful employment in the community. 

The beauty of the program is that it will allow people with disabilities an opportunity that they deserve; a chance to participate in real and meaningful life experiences while earning pay for their labor.

The program is funded by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS), and it follows the state’s “MILESTONES” system. The referrals will come from ADRS. ADRS will also be the entity that determines if an individual qualifies for the employment program as outlined by federal regulations. 

All interested persons should call the Tuscaloosa ADRS office at 205-554-1300and ask to speak with a 

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The Counselor will assist in guiding the enrollment process. Stay tuned for more information in the fall newsletter or call the UCP office at 205-345-3031.

Welcome to United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama (UCPWA), an affiliate of United Cerebral Palsy.  We are dedicated to creating a Life Without Limits for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

LIVE Life without Limits.  Learn more about the daily programs and services that UCPWA offers.

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