Celebrating our seventy years of service as Cerebral Palsy Midlands this year, I have been researching through our rich archives and history to find our early beginning's and how we come to be set up offering day care services to adults with cerebral palsy and relating conditions. Today I found a yearbook, celebrating fifty years of Midlands People with Cerebral Palsy (MSA) now Cerebral Palsy Midlands (CPM) and inside the yearbook, a poem written by one of our long term clients, Margaret Green, caught my eye.  
Count your blessings by Margaret Green 
All of us have problems 
Which makes us gripe and groan 
So that feel hard done by 
And gives us cause to moan 
 
But when I look around at life 
And see how it can be 
I see many other folk 
Much worse off than me 
 
It makes me stop and wonder 
How awful it would be 
If I were suddenly struck blind 
With eyes that could not see 
 
And loving music as I do 
My feelings are so strong 
For all the deaf who cannot hear 
The sound of birds in song. 

Margaret Green, here singing at our CPM Factor talent competition in 2016. Singer and Poet here at CPM 

 
Dr Carlson was born in Minneapolis on 25th March 1897. He had a difficult birth and in his own words was "a victim of spastic and athetoid paralysis". He recalled how his neighbours looked pityingly on him, wanting to know what was wrong with him. His mother used a stock reply, saying that he was "just born that way". This is the title of his autobiography. Earl Carlson, Born That Way, (Evesham: Arthur James, 1952). 
 
Education was an important part of Dr Carlson’s life and his mother fought to get him into a school rather than an institution. He started school at eight years of age and although he faced many difficulties throughout his life he overcame these. He graduated from Yale Medical School and became a Doctor with an international reputation. 
 
As well as a great love of reading Earl Carlson had an interest in science and ‘secretly dreamed of becoming an engineer or an inventor’. His heroes were famous inventors and engineers Thomas Edison and Charles Proteus Steinmetz. He wrote to them about his ambitions and received replies which inspired him. He was particularly inspired by Steinmetz, who was disabled, and reasoned that if someone like Steinmetz ‘could win recognition as an electrical wizard’ then there was hope for him to realise his dreams. 
 
It was when Earl Carlson was employed in Princeton University that he took an interest in biology and decided on a career in medicine. A fall on the ice and subsequent ‘rescue’ by Bud Stillman was to have far reaching consequences for Carlson. 
 

Dr Earl Carlson (Source: Cerebral Palsy Midlands) 

Towards the end of the Second World War there was significant social change which led to reforms in legislation relating to health and education. The 1944 Education Act was at the heart of this change and was seen by many as a turning point in the delivery of education. The Act provided a structure for free education for children from nursery level upwards and introduced the tripartite system of education consisting of grammar schools, secondary modern and secondary technical schools. Local authorities became responsible for providing education and one of the aims of this new system was to give more equality of opportunity to children. 
My name is Teresa Hillier and I am based at Swansea University where I am working towards a PhD. My research is focused on how organisations such as Cerebral Palsy Midlands (CPM) became established in the middle of the twentieth century. 
 
I first became aware of CP Midlands when researching a similar organisation which was based in Swansea. That organisation was known as Swansea and District Spastic Association when it was established in 1952. It later became known as Longfields Association. On reading the minutes of Longfields there were references to Carlson House School and how staff members from Longfields visited Carlson House School for training purposes.