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Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

The permanent betterment of the crippled child : an essay on the operation of the nonresidential system of education and care; the social principles involved, and the restoration of crippled children to places as useful members of the community. An account of the work of the Association for the aid online

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Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe permanent betterment of the crippled child : an essay on the operation of the nonresidential system of education and care; the social principles involved, and the restoration of crippled children to places as useful members of the community. An account of the work of the Association for the aid → online text (page 1 of 1)
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rriE rnKMANENT BETTER-
MENT OF THE CRIPPLED
CHILD



BY

DOUGLAS C. McMURTRIE



PD 70I



±122



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The Permanent Betterment
of the Crippled Child

An essay on the operation of the non-
residential system of education and care,
the social principles involved, and the
restoration of crippled children to places
as useful members of the community.
An account of the work of the Associ-
ation for the Aid of Crippled Children.

By
DOUGLAS C. McMURTRIE



New York
1911






Author G.

MAY 3 11 912

Copyright, 1911, by
Douglas C. McMurtreb






DOOCLAS C. MCMUSTBIS
NKW TOHK ClTT



THE PERMANENT BETTERMENT OF
THE CRIPPLED CHILD

The best type of modern philanthropy and
the wisest supporters of charitable work are
more and more insistently demanding per-
manent results in place of temporary allevi-
ation. The real value of any work may,
therefore, be well measured by the final results
it accomplishes. The relative emphasis placed
on the various phases of work is also of the
highest importance.

What are the essential needs of the crippled
child can best be judged by his average cir-
cumstances. In most instances when crippled
children first come under care they have been
largely neglected. Even if wilhng their fam-
ihes have probably been unable properly to
care for them. In some instances they may
have had a certain degree of medical care, but
even in such cases the social and educational
considerations will have been almost wholly
neglected.

As a person's point of view is to a great
extent conditioned by his en^^ronment, so
the attitude of the crippled child is determined



by his erperience. Shut-in., neglected, de-
prived of any educational advantages, unable
to eura^e in a::y form of acti^'ity and enduring
an existence devoid of any fun or play — the
crippled child's attitude may well be one of
hopelessness and discouragement. And this
point of view seems to be \-eri-6ed repeatedly.
He sees his sister start daily for the public
school, he sees his brother play in the street
during the afternoon and the other members
of the family all d-iinz their part in the house-
hold duties. Ana all these are things which
the crippled child cannot do and sees no hope
of Q.jing.

This attitude is a diSicuIt one to overcome
and there is but one way to do it. That is by
piers'jnal infuenoe and sympathy — by intimate
wr,rl^ of the hnest sort. By patient effort of
this kind, however, it is possible to restore
the child's self-respect and to recreate within
him, at it were, a hopeful spirit of self-con-
fidence. By proper training more and more
of his abihties are revealed to him and there is
aroused ambition which is, after all, the main-
spring ofj and incentive to, all effective en-
deavor.



After this metamorpliosi.s is effected — and
it can be effected by tbe right kind of effort —
it is amazing what the crippled child can
accomphsh. He is far from the complete
wreck we may have thought him. In the
first place, we find he has an active mentahty
fully as Adgorous as in a child whose limbs are
straight and strong. His progress in school,
when he is pro%dded with educational facilities,
is astonishingly rapid, for, being free from most
of the diverting distractions of childhood, the
appHcation to his one acti\'ity is all the more
intense.

In many other ways the cripple who is
started in the right direction CAdnces unexpected
abilities. Several institutions have basebaU
teams which put up an excellent game, another
has a brass band, others have organized drill,
and in almost all classes and homes the chil-
dren engage in regular play and games.

The eventual aim, however, must always
be to render the crippled child seK-supporting.
As the deformity is only local in one part of the
body, lea^dng the remaining members and
faculties active, with properly selected trade



instruction the cripple can be rendered inde-
pendent.

Consider the transformation — turning a
hopeless, discouraged cripple into a hopeful,
ambitious and self-respecting citizen. Could
any change be more complete and more highly
to be desired. Yet this result is being accom-
phshed again and again.

Such a change may be pointed to as an exam-
ple of real and permanent betterment.

And all that needs to be done is to assist the
child in overcoming the special handicaps
imposed by his deformity and make avail-
able to him the ad^'antages which every child
in right and justice should have.

In many cases, by proper methods of medical
and surgical care, a complete cure can be
effected thus disposing of the entire problem.
In practically every case definite improvement
can be effected and further harm forestalled.
In cases requiring constant treatment and
nursing, care in a resident hospital or home
is demanded. But there is a great class of
crippled children whose deformity is less acute
and who need less frequent attention. The
members of this class do not and will not



receive hospital treatment in the present
state of provision for such requirements. The
result is that such children remain at home
without advantages of any kind and are, of
course, unable to attend school. Briefly
stated, these children can be excellently pro-
vided for by a comprehensif^e system of \'is-
iting nursing, by transporting the children
back and forth from their homes to the special
classes which are pro\4ded for them by the
public school system, and by surgical care at
the clinics and dispensaries.

It is this sort of work that is being carried
on by the Association for the Aid of Crippled
Children, which in this way is caring for over
a hundred deformed children. With these
principles, the nurses are able to perform seem-
ing miracles, for the hopeless, discouraged
little mites of humanity are changed into
bright ambitious boys and girls, looking for-
ward to the day when they can learn a useful
trade and occupy a definite niche in the com-
munity.

The nurses ride with the children to and
from school each day and \'isit them in their
homes. The home work, however, is always



8



with the view of supplementing rather than
supplanting care from the parents. They
first endeavor to enlist the mother's interest
in sending her crippled child to school and
they then try to fortify this interest by intelli-
gent direction and sympathetic encouragement.
Oftentimes the mother has been doing very
little for the child, but this is more frequently
due to ignorance and inability rather than to
intentional neglect. Conditions have often
rendered the situation very difficult and the
burden of the small cripple in the family has
seemed the additional straw which was fatal
to the back of the proverbial camel.

When the nurse, however, shows the mother
what can be done and demonstrates by prac-
tical example that it is as easy to give the
child proper, as it is to give improper, care,
conditions are materially altered.

The effort is always to have normal needs
supphed through the medium of the family,
so that the home ties may be preserved un-
broken and the child's respect for his parents
may remain unimpaired. When the mother
is absolutely unable to supply the needs of
the child, the nurse is ready with the required



assistance; but it is always given where possi-
ble through the medium of the family, so that
the child may not come to look for the simplest
elements of existence from outsiders. Nothing
is more cruel than the situation of a child who
has lost respect for his own father and mother.

There is a great deal of influence which the
nurse can exert directly upon their little crip-
pled charges. In riding to and from school
with the children in the omnibuses each day,
the nurse is able to inculcate principles of
politeness, honesty and cleanliness. The trans-
formation which can be accomplished in a few
weeks with a bus load of children is astonishing.

The general aim of the work is to make the
position of the child just as normal as possible.
This attitude is further emphasized by the
fact that the children attend regular public
schools just as do their healthier brothers and
sisters. This attendance often marks the
realization of a long-cherished dream.

In keeping with this general idea of healthy
activity, the Association believes that clinical
work and nursing should be excluded from the
schools in which the children spend the major-
ity of their time, and as the children belong



10



to the class which needs only clinical treatment,
it is felt that this may as well be given in a
hospital. With most of children, however,
the necessity for such attention is fairly in-
frequent.

In a general analysis of the work of the
Association it will be seen that the children
are really doled out very little charity in the
old sense of "almsgiving." As members of
the community they are entitled to their
education as a right and not as a charity, and
the aim of the Association has been to stimu-
late the provision of such education by the
proper authorities, and then to make it possible
for the children to avail themselves of their
natural birthright.

The children have been receiving support
and some type of care at home. The Associa-
tion merely endeavors to supplement and
improve this care by intelUgent instruction
and sympathetic influence. In short, it enables
the children to avail themselves of opportu-
nities which are at hand but which are just
beyond their unaided reach.

Such work is free from the charge of being
temporary relief only. The instruction of the



11



families in the elements of proper care and the
influence exerted upon the mothers accomphsh
permanent results — results which are effective
long after the child passes from the care of the
Association. Starting the child on its educa-
tional career accomphshes results which are
cumulative in their effect as he progresses.
The crippled child has great possibilities; for,
with but a little intelligently directed assistance
to overcome the special handicaps imposed
up)on him by his deformity, he can be given
the chance to succeed through his own efforts.
What the Association does want to do is to
guarantee to crippled children the chance to
make good themselves and to give to them the
square deal of equal opportunity.



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Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe permanent betterment of the crippled child : an essay on the operation of the nonresidential system of education and care; the social principles involved, and the restoration of crippled children to places as useful members of the community. An account of the work of the Association for the aid → online text (page 1 of 1)