Crippled was a term commonly used until around the 1970s to describe people with conditions including muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, paraplegia and poliomyelitis. It was also common to refer to a person with a physical disability as a 'cripple'. In Australia, from around the 1930s, the term crippled was taken up by a range of organisations and institutions for people with disabilities. The polio epidemics in Australia during the 1930s may have been a factor in the emergence of Societies for Crippled Children and Homes for Crippled Children during this period. As the twentieth century progressed, the term became less common, and even pejorative. By the 1970s crippled was replaced by other terms such as handicapped or disabled.
Sources used to compile this entry: Evans, Beth, Rocky Bay: a short history, 1938-2000, Rocky Bay Inc, 2000-03, 177 pp.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 21 August 2013, Last modified: 5 March 2015