In 1947, the words “disabled” or “handicapped” were seldom used in reference to people and would have been considered extremely peculiar. The amputee, the stroke victim, or the polio patient was considered “crippled”.
It was in this era, sixty three years ago, in a small California farm town, that a small group of people wanted to help the “crippled”. They saw people suffering with the after-effects of polio and other disabling conditions, many of whom could not afford all of the medical care that might improve their condition. With humble beginnings they set out to provide medical equipment, physical therapy, doctors consultations and eventually even vocational rehabilitation. At that time there were no federal health plans and no notable government programs to meet these needs. That is why caring local citizens took action.
That small farm town was Modesto and that little local organization was the Society for Crippled Children and Adults. In 1965, Medicare was established providing medical care for persons with disabilities, so the society adapted our programs to cover the gaps in the Medicare system, that is our Special Need and Loan Closet programs.
The Society has gone through several name revisions, and except for a brief affiliation as a local chapter of the Easter Seal Society, we have remained an independent, locally supported organization.
Although more than seventy years have passed, the mission and vision of the Society for disABILITIES has not changed. We are still dedicated to improving the quality of life and self-sufficiency for children and adults in Stanislaus County.
Today, the Society operates the largest loan closet of adaptive equipment in Stanislaus County, provides educational programs, workforce development job training services, recreational programs, our long standing special needs program, and resource and referral services to the community. We serve over 34,000 individuals between all programs and services combined.