|A community guidance program to meet more fully the needs of crippled youth in the East Harlem area|
Loretta Maude Miller
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Children with disabilities, Education, Educational counseling, New York, New York (State), Rehabilitation
PURPOSES AND METHODS OF THIS STUDY
Origin of the Project
Dr. Leonard Covello, Principal of the Benjamin Franklin High School, is keenly interested in developing a community-centered school. He is sensitive, not only to the immediate vicinity and the students served by the Benjamin Franklin High School, but also to the larger city area with its cultural and educational resources. Realizing that many educational institutions would welcome the opportunity to use the East Harlem area as a laboratory for research and experimentation, Dr. Covello invited a number of schools, including Teachers College, Columbia University, to participate in studies and projects which would enlarge the services of the Benjamin Franklin High School, especially in its relation to community co-operation and integration.
Teachers College, Columbia University, accepted Dr. CovelloĂs invitation, and several departments organized projects to be worked out during the summer of 1942. The Department of the Education of the Exceptional of Teachers College wished to contribute to the general plan, but at the time, the writer was the only doctoral candidate available for the undertaking. The project was, therefore, narrowed in scope and lengthened in time in order to reduce the problem of working limits. From time to time, other persons have contributed to the project, but the responsibility for the undertaking remains the writerĂs.
The Philosophy Underlying the Project
Philanthropic, medical, and educational groups have contributed immeasurably to the physical, educational and social welfare of crippled children. The work accomplished by these organized groups should not be minimized. However, there is room for community co-operation in a program for the crippled. Indeed, the promotion of democratic procedures requires the development of the broadest possible base of knowledge, interest, and constructive activity within the community. Moreover, the work of professional groups will be facilitated, not hindered, by an enlightened community interest.
A community program needs to grow from within, not be imposed from without. Philanthropic and educational groups have been accused of ˘standing on the heads÷ of those whom they were trying to serve. If this reproach is to be avoided, the layman needs to participate actively in the program which is benefiting his community. The Benjamin Franklin High School desires to be of service by helping the community help itself. In order to form a constructive program, facts concerning the crippled in the East Harlem area are needed. The assembling and interpretation of facts concerning the crippled in order to further the integration of school and community in this common interest is the purpose of the proposed project.
General Plan of the Project
The general plan of the project was developed after a preliminary survey of the geographical area, the school situation, various reports concerning crippled children in the City of New York; and after interviews with Dr. Covello, members of his staff, and other persons interested in the welfare of the crippled and in the development of this project. The outline of the plan as developed at that time is presented here.
Outline of Proposed Project
I. Statement of proposal
To develop a plan which the Benjamin Franklin High School and the New York City Board of Education may use as a community guidance program to meet more fully the needs of crippled youth.
A. As far as time will permit, to determine the unmet needs (especially the vocational and social needs) of a selected group of crippled, those fourteen to twenty-one years of age inclusive, who are in special classes or homebound, in the East Harlem area.
B. As far as time will permit, to discover the facilities for the crippled in East Harlem now provided by all public and private agencies and organizations.
C. To set up desirable criteria for formulating a continuous plan for school and community co-operation in meeting the vocational and social needs of crippled youth in the East Harlem area.
D. Finally, to prepare proposals whereby optimum use may be made of all resources ű community, school, and all agencies - in meeting these vocational and social needs.
III. Sources of information
A. The registry of orthopedically handicapped children in the City of New York Department of Health.
B. Interviews with crippled youth, their parents or guardians.
C. Conferences with (1) the principal of the Benjamin Franklin High School and his staff, (2) professional leaders in the field of the orthopedically handicapped and related fields, and (3) administrators and staff of community and other agencies serving the handicapped.
D. Published and unpublished reports - Board of Education, Department of Health, the City Planning Commission, etc.
E. Literature: Racial backgrounds, history of the area, etc.
F. Personal observation and experience while working on the project.
IV. Methods of procedure
A. To find the crippled in the selected age range. This will be done by (1) studying records secured from the Department of Health, the schools and other agencies, and (2) personal calls on the crippled and their parents.
B. To determine the status of these crippled in order to allocate them to the following categories:
1. Cases orthopedically corrected (or with maximal correction) and educationally and/or vocationally adjusted, and therefore not eligible as case studies in this project.
2. Cases which are homebound or which require transportation to school, and therefore are eligible as case studies for this project. (Estimated to be about 100 cases.)
3. Cases which are between these two extremes. (Note: If the number of cases in category 2 should prove to be too few for the purposes of this study, cases in this category may be included.)
C. To prepare, for each case selected, a schedule of the information needed for the study.
D. To determine what the agencies now operating are doing to benefit the crippled, and what other existing agencies could offer under favorable circumstances to meet the needs of the crippled.
E. To assemble and interpret the accumulated facts in a form suitable for presentation to the staff of the Benjamin Franklin High School and the Board of Education of the City of New York.
F. To prepare a flexible plan for the development of a community guidance program to meet the needs of the crippled.
A. An accumulation of material concerning the orthopedically handicapped from 14 to 21 years of age that will be valuable to the schools, the Department of Health, and to social service organizations.
B. An accumulation of material concerning the community which will be valuable to the Benjamin Franklin High School in working out any community enterprise.
C. An organized plan of community and school co-operation to meet to some degree the vocational and social needs of orthopedically handicapped youth in the East Harlem area.
Change in Plan on Basis of Actual Situation
The first objective of the study (IIA in the Outline) - that the selected group of crippled would be those who are in special classes or are homebound - was enlarged to include any boy or girl in the given age range (14-21 years) who indicated in preliminary interviews problems in social or vocational adjustment.
The criteria for judging adjustment is discussed elsewhere. Boys and girls apparently adjusted are considered briefly for purposes of comparison with the selected group. The original form of the objective was developed from an estimate of the distribution of crippled children in East Harlem, based upon a report of the distribution of New York City crippled children into the groups: (a) under 5 years of age, (b) in classes for normal pupils, (c) in special classes, and (d) homebound, According to the estimate made, the anticipated situation in East Harlem would be:
On this basis, the number of pupils in special or homebound classes would be between 83 and 113, in the 14-21 year age group.
The total number in the 14 to 21 years of age group secured from the official registry of crippled in New York City was 320, a number which compared favorably with the estimated 346 (see Table 1). House to house visits soon revealed, however, that the number of homebound and special-class crippled between the ages of 14 and 21 years was far short of the estimated number, since the records had been compiled some four years previous to this study The objective was therefore enlarged in the manner previously explained.
Limitations of the Project
Geographically, the study was limited to the area known as East Harlem, a district which lies north of 96th Street and east of Fifth Avenue and is bounded on the east and northeast by the Harlem and East Rivers. Cases considered were residents of this area. Agencies and facilities for serving the crippled were considered, whether located in East Harlem or elsewhere. This procedure was necessary, since East Harlem benefits by the city and state organizations.
The time limit for the final report of the project was set for July 1, 1943. During the preceding year, two progress reports were submitted, one on September 15, 1942, and the other on February 1, 1943.
The limitations of age and of need have been discussed.
The amount of data to be collected on each case was limited by the incidental nature of the contacts with the subjects of study, and by the material available. An attempt was made to fill out a four-page schedule (see Appendix) which provides for general facts concerning the personal and family situation, for facts concerning medical, physical, functional and psychological status, and for a somewhat more detailed report concerning the educational, vocational and social aspects of the life of the individual. Additional data secured through interviews with the individual or his family, or through contact with the schools, social service, health department or other agencies, was used if pertinent to a well-rounded interpretation of the individual. Data other than vocational and social were used to the extent that they threw light upon and influenced the vocational and social aspects of the picture.
Method of Approach
In this study, the approach cannot be said to be solely sociological, or psychological, or historical, or case study. Psychological problems frequently found among the crippled have been considered; some sociological factors operative in the East Harlem area, especially those which intensify the psychological problems, have been explored; the interview approach has been utilized, since ˘for individual diagnosis, the personal interview is still fundamental as a means of discovering the special conditions under which a person lives.÷ Each of these approaches is essential to an adequate interpretation of the situation; used in isolation, any one of them would give a distorted picture. The accumulated data has served as a background for presenting an overview of the situation of the crippled in East Harlem, for pointing out areas of need, and for indicating possible directions of future planning.
Case sketches have been presented, with emphasis on the social and vocational factors. The sketches are intended to be specific illustrations of unresolved problems, not extensive studies such as a counsellor would need. The implications for a guidance program have been suggested.
Finally, a tentative plan for a community guidance program, has been presented which may serve to alleviate in some measure the apparent maladjustment, and to provide more effective solution of problems of the crippled. The plan is broad, allowing for change and growth, and inclusive, providing for the utilization of all interested community agencies. The plan, moreover, suggests procedures which provide adequate attention to specific individual problems.