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Feral Children

Intro to Anthro Seminar

Kylie Young

on 14 January 2013

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Transcript of Feral Children

What is a Feral Child? Feral children are children who have lived the early stages of life with little or no human contact and interaction. The Critical Period Feral Children By: Kylie Young They have no skills of social norms, or behaviour Children are considered "feral" in one of two ways #1. Living in the wild alone, or sometimes being "adopted" by the animals of that area. #2. They are confined or isolation due to the abuse or neglect of their parents #2. Being confined or isolated due to the neglect and abuse of their parents or guardians. Feral children can generally be taught the basics of human contact and interaction. Depending on the age that the children are rescued, they can sometimes be taught some form of language (verbal or symbols), but it is almost impossible for them to learn and pick up on proper grammar and pronunciations. Nature Vs. Nurture Sensory-Motor Stage: 0-2 years old. Infant begins to respond to the world. Pre-Operational Stage: 2-6 years old. Child begins to understand things, learn language, and the thinking ability develops. Child also starts to develop a personality. Concrete-Operations Stage: Age 6. Children start to understand how things work. Their mind is somewhat developed at this point, and they rely less on adult care. When children are abandoned in nature or isolated from others at the critical age of child development, they will have long-term damage as they grow up. These children will often remain mute, never learn how to form even simple sentences, and will struggle behaving in a socially acceptable way. These children have little to no experience of humanity, and will often not know how to care, love, socialize or even talk. This is because they were never taught these things. The debate of genetic inheritance versus environmental factors to human development. Philosophers such as Plato suggest that certain things are "inborn", or that they simply occur naturally. Others such as John Locke argue that the mind begins as a blank slate. What do You Think? From your own life experience, and what you have learned so far about feral children...
Do you believe that Nature or Nurture has a bigger effect on the development of a child? Are we a product of our genes, or a product of our experience? -Bruce. D Perry "If children spend their formative years with animals, they have been known to act like the animals who helped "raise them". They walk on all fours, make similiar noises, and can be aggressive and hostile" (Ward, 2008). Do you think that feral children support the Nature or Nurture side of the debate? Studies have proven that most feral children raised by animals have a better chance of learning to talk and socialize than those who were completely isolated and alone. They exhibit character traits of the animals they were around. This supports the nurture side of the debate as the children are nurtured by the animals they live with and learn how to do things from the animals. The children that were alone, unfortunately did not just know or teach themselves. "Humans are only what they have been made to be. Any human being has to learn his or her habits, needs, ideas, and does so by imitating others under the influence of society." -Jean Itard (Physician) "Humans are only what they have been made to be. Any human being has to learn his or her habits, needs, and ideas, and does so by imitating others under the influence of society" -Jean Itard Children who interact with their parents and others, begin to pick up language, habits, reactions and social norms that they learn through the socialization with people in their lives. When those people are absent in the child's life, there is no one for them to copy and learn from. Isolating a child at a young age can impact their whole future tremendously, changing the way they act, talk, and socialize. The best way to prove this is to examine the feral children cases. When children are isolated from others at a critical age in child development, they will suffer from serious long term damage due to the absence of social interaction and lack of nurture and care from a parent or guardian. Case Studies Genie Found in 1970, at age 13, Genie was tied to a potty chair and locked in a dark room by her parents, hidden for the majority of her life. She was barely ever fed, and her father beat her whenever she made a sound. When found, Genie knew only few words such as stop it, and be quiet. She was not potty trained, and although she was thirteen years old she had not yet hit puberty and was extremely malnourished. Genie had a weird bunny like hop, and always held her hands perched out in front if her. She also masturbated constantly when she was first discovered. She could not stand up straight, jump, or run. Genie's parents were charged with willful abuse, but neither went to jail. Her 70-year old father committed suicide shortly after he was charged and the mother's charges were dropped because she was "suffering under her husband's abuse". Height: 54 inches
Unable to chew, can barely swallow
Unable to focus eyes beyond 12 feet
Unable to cry
Could not fully extend limbs
Very silent, understood only 20 words
Could not tell the difference between hot and cold After being in a hospital for 12 months Genie...
-Walked normal, but unsteadily
-Became somewhat toilet trained
-Strung together simple sentences
-Never learned grammar
-Learned some sign language

*Genie still lives in a mental hospital today. Oxana Malaya "Dog Girl" Oxana was a Ukrainian girl raised by dogs for 6 years. When found, she acted and behaved like a dog, walking on all fours barking, and lapping with her tongue. Oxana was moved to a mental clinic, and learned how to speak, which is rare among feral children. Researchers believe this is because she had interaction with the dogs, rather than being completely alone. Feral children provide great examples from studies and research of the long term effects that isolation has on a child. Both Genie and Oxana suffered through the long term effects of isolation during the critical stage of child development. Although their stories are very different, both girls were not toilet trained, lacked social skills, behaved in an inhumane manor, and shared many other similarities. These were only two of the many stories of Feral children. But they provide great insight as to how isolation affects children. In conclusion, Feral children are victim's of abuse and confinement. Being isolated at a young age poses severe damage on the brain, making it hard to ever learn language or social norms. This is due to the lack of nurture and love of a parent, also to the fact that they have no example to learn necessary social skills from. This leaves these children acting inhumane, due to their parents neglect or torture. ? ? ? ? ? ?
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