MARCH 6, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—Today I am in New York City to attend one or two meetings.
This is the beginning of the week in which the 4-H Clubs are being honored, and I should like to add my own word of congratulation to the young people in rural areas. The President has written them a letter, but I think everyone should realize the extent of the contribution made by rural boys and girls in the production of food actually used on the farm and in the home community. In addition, they have in many cases furnished much of the work which full-time farm hands accomplished in the past. Two high school boys, for example, work for our farmer in Hyde Park after school and in the holidays. They evidently are happy in doing so, and he is certainly happy to have them.
Readers of my column have probably realized that I am deeply concerned about the lack of provisions, in a great many states, for the treatment and education of spastic children.
I am very happy to hear from the Crippled Children's Commission in the state of New Jersey that since the commission was formed in 1926, all cases of crippled or deformed children must be reported by the doctor. As a result, they now have a complete register not only of children, but also of crippled men and women, and they provide professional treatment and vocational training wherever needed.
Dr. W. M. Phelps of Johns Hopkins, who is regarded as the greatest authority on cerebral paralysis and spastic palsy, holds clinics in New Jersey, and the schools, hospitals and therapists carry out his instructions. New Jersey has pre-school age treatment, clinics and out-treatment. This is certainly encouraging, for when one state goes forward the other states are apt to become conscious of their deficiencies and move forward also.
I have just heard again from Raymond Baird of River Falls, Wis., who is 26 years old and confined to a wheelchair. He wrote me last year about their Easter sale of seals which supports Camp Wawbeek at Wisconsin Dells. For six years Mr. Baird has sat in his chair; but he is the publicity director for this crippled children's camp, a sports writer, and also has a column which is published in several Midwestern weekly papers. Two of his brothers are overseas and he writes to a number of servicemen. With all these activities, he can't have much time for self-pity.
His interest in this camp has made me feel that perhaps similar camps might be valuable in other parts of the country. He tells me that the money from the sale of Easter seals operates the camp, where handicapped children often find they can develop a skill and take part in activities in which they never before imagined they could be interested. The Wisconsin Association for the Disabled uses any additional money to help with the education and vocational training of handicapped people. Afterwards, the association finds them a job and purchases orthopedic appliances, in this way helping them to become self-supporting members of society, instead of remaining as dependents.