Wild Child This paper is about the two abandoned children Genie and Victor

Essay by DanielHeath526College, Undergraduate February 2005

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How would children act if they were not talked to for the first thirteen years of their life? Two case studies in the past showed how children would act with no interaction from other people. One child was a boy named Victor and the other was a girl named Genie. Both of the children did have similarities, but they also had many differences.

These two children had many similarities. In each case each one was referred to as a wild child. Neither of the children were found until after they had hit puberty, which is suppose to be the cut off for learning to speak. When they both were first found they had animal tendencies. To explore things they would sniff and touch them. In both cases the children were taught to speak, but they could not fully comprehend how. However, they did learn to say words of things they saw.

Since they couldn't learn to speak they were taught sign language. Also neither one of them could tell the difference between hot and cold. Although one was given up on faster then the other they were both given up on in the end.

Victor was found in 1800 in South France. When he was first discovered he was found naked wondering around. He had long fingernails and tried to bite people like an animal would. When people tried to talk to him he did not respond by speaking. This made some people think he was retarded from birth, while others thought he was that way because he had never been taught. So a psychologist named Itard decided he would take on the task of trying to teach him. Itard tried to teach Victor to talk, but he could not so instead he started teaching him sign language.

Genie was found at the age of thirteen in Los Angeles in 1970. She was locked in a room by herself in complete isolation for ten years. She was found tied to a potty chair and still wearing diapers. When she was fist let outside she walk like a bunny and clawed at things. Unlike Victor who had one teacher Genie had a whole team of people working with her. She did learn how to talk but could not say complete sentences; although, people could generally understand what she meant. But, since she could not fully speak sentences they taught her sign language. Also she learned to get attached to people that she spent a lot of time with. While being taken care of there was a sleep test done her which showed that her brain waves were like someone who is handicapped. One of the teachers learned that she hoarded things she was given such as water. Some people tried to exploit her by taking her in as a daughter and not letting anyone see her for a long period of time. In the fall of seventy-four the funds for the grant to study her were cut and she was given up on. Later there was a law suit saying that the team of doctors and teachers just wanted to study her and not teach her.

Some people think that a child that is not taught to speak before puberty will never learn how to talk. Because there have only been two cases, it cannot be proven true.