The Children's Aid Society is the pioneer in this much-needed educational work among cripples who are not physically fitted to take their place among the robust children of the public schools, and has provided not only a teacher, but a nurse trained in orthopaedic work, who understands the children and their limitations, and who is fitted to give the daily attention which is absolutely necessary in many cases.
Disabled children, sadly, were often not receiving that "absolutely necessary" attention at home. A report to the New York State Assembly in 1900 noted, "Many of the parents of these crippled children have no thought, nor do they care for the future of these helpless beings; the fact that they will always be dependent on their family is in itself, in many cases, enough to cause indifference as to whether they live or die." For that reason, teaching the disabled a trade, like dressmaking or woodworking, was essential.
The New York Times reported, "Every window in the 'bus was shattered, and while two of the six crippled children managed to cling to the side seats, the rest, together with the teacher, were thrown out into the street." The traces, or poles that connected the horses to the vehicle, broke and the driver, George Wilson, was pulled from his seat and dragged several yards by the panicked horses. The injured were treated on site by an ambulance team from Harlem Hospital, then sent home in a second bus.
An opportunity to become self-supporting is offered to boys over 14 years of age, who have become crippled in the recent epidemic. The jewelry trade is taught in a trade class, held in the Rhinelander School...Seven pupils have recently been placed with manufactories, which leaves vacancies. We feel that the class after eight years, has proven that this is one way of solving the problem of the support of the handicapped.