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Placing The Physically Handicapped In The Ranks
Forward throughout the World" for six million Tiny Tims is the slogan of the international Society. Those words startle, they challenge. they inspire, they probe into the heart and intellect of the economist as well as the lover of little children.
In so gigantic a program as this every possible working force must be utilized. Let us for the moment turn our attention to the Tiny Tims grown-up, the Tiny Tim who can no longer smile down from the safe nook of his father's shoulder and say, "God bless us everyone." This Tiny Tim grown-up is the prototype of the "six million" of tomorrow,
What part will the Grown-up Tims play in the International Society for Crippled Children? That is the question that whirled through my brain like a nagging buzz-saw all through the Convention days in Washington. That is the question that set my thoughts fashioning dreams of the grown-up crippled children, known as the physically handicapped, working forward with the International in a spirit so fine, in such cooperation and with such success that the stigma of of street corner beggars, of pathetic Pollyanna invalids and ugly physical differences would be blotted from the hated word, "cripple."
I studied the directory of delegates from Canada to Australia plus twenty-eight of the forty-eight states. Out of those 270 fine men and women, who have done their part in bringing the International to its present status, there were only five of the Grown-up Tims -- plus three doctors, definitely affiliated with the program. Five out of two hundred and seventy! A rather small percentage.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, it is the thought of those physically whole to save, to shield, to help in every way possible those less strong. It is the Christ-like spirit of those who work to make "His Kingdom Come." It is natural that they should not draw upon the physically handicapped as a working force in this "Forward Throughout the World."
Secondly, tile physically different have more than physical handicaps to fight. We might divide the crippled adult into two distinct groups. One, those who are wholly or partially bound by their own four walls both physically and in spirit. These have a tendency to favor their own clique, gathering to themselves those who are in a similar position. The curious eyes of the world penetrate with irritating force.
The Other group includes those who have climbed up and onward through sheer perseverance plus luck and many friendly hands. They come to hate every symbol of charity and to have a desire to forget physical differences by mingling only with those whose strength and vigor lend them energy and the normal life.
It is because of this that so few of the Grown-up Tims are a part of the International and that only five were among the 1935 delegates, inspired to be a part of the great movement, "Forward Throughout the World."
We need to arouse within our schools for cripples for crippled children and within the adult, both of the independent class and the shut-in, the great need for giving their interest, their enthusiasm and their talents, marching shoulder to shoulder with the International and other organizations, "Forward Throughout the World.
As editor of the "Round Robin News," the childrens supplement of "The Crippled Child," I have contacted a number of the smaller organizations built up by the physically handicapped. Although none are as yet strong enough to accomplish great things, they show an awakening desire to have a part in helping the six million crippled children.
There is the "Wayside Gang," organized by a charioteer down in South Carolina, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt joined when he was governor of New York; the Midwest Polio Association, founded in St. Louis by Francis Dunford as a swimming club, which works with the aim of establishing a midwest Warm Springs so greatly needed by the adult polio; the Chair Warmers' club of Michigan launched by a group of short wave radio enthusiasts, who are establishing the "Crutch and Cane" magazine upon a sound financial basis; the Real Courage Association of Battle Creek, Michigan; a little Pen-Pal club out in California; "The Agendum," an annual put out by a charioteer in a Philadelphia Home for Incurables and others too small and too numerous to mention.
Within the last year Vernon K. Banta of Minneapolis, Minnesota, deeply interested in the work of the National Rehabilitation Association for the physically handicapped and himself of the handicapped, has had a large part in uniting under the head of an Affiliated Council branch chapters organized and carried on by the rehabilitated of the NRA. There are now thirty of these chapters within the Council. In October when the annual NRA convention is held in Washington, D. C., there will be more than five of the Grown-up Tims as delegates.
A slow beginning is being made and the adult cripple is awakening to the vision of this "Forward Throughout the World" and their own part in fighting side by side, shoulder to shoulder with the fine men and women of the International Society for Crippled Children, the National Rehabilitation Association, the National Shut-in Society and all who are working in this movement for the prevention of crippling, physical rehabilitation, the education of the crippled child and their mental, social and economic adjustment.