Today’s Agenda Reading @ Fletcher’s Letter Writing Ferals & Isolates
Letter Writing Assignment • Find something from your life that you feel that could be accused of negatively nurturing a child or adolescent in one or more of the following areas: Body Image Lifestyle Gender Roles Sexualisation Violence Skills or Attitudes • You can choose an item that is mass produced (toys) or an item from the media (video game, music video, TV show)
The Letter • Write a letter to that item or media source to let it know the impact it has had on the lives of children/youth/adolescents • You can choose to defend or accuse the item/media • If you choose to defend the item you will be build a case for why the item is harmless and does not negatively nurture a child/adolescence self concept • If you choose to accuse you will build a case that attempts to prove the item does have a negative effect on the nurture of a child/ adolescent.
Letter Requirements/Format • Intro, 3 paragraphs providing evidence, Concluding statement • Should be less than 2 pages types • Need to provide specific examples, as well as long and short term effects on the age group
Read the Story • As a group read the story provided • Answer the following questions: a) Why was the child abandoned? b) What raised the child? c) What were the living conditions like for the child? d) How well did the child “develop” with the animals? e) Did the child show increased development once they begin to live with humans again?
Ferals Continued • Get into a group of 3 (one person from each story) • Share your answers • Answer the following: 1. What do all 3 children have in common? 2. Why do you think their development was different than that of children raised with people?
“…And when he came to the place where the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said “BE STILL!” and tamed them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all and made him king of all wild things.” ~Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Feral Children • Feral children are human children who have lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and have no experience of human care, loving, social behaviour, and of human language • Can you think of any examples of feral children in popular culture?
The Jungle Book • This 1942 Disney film tells the story of Mowgli who lives as part of the wolf pack before his path crosses that of humans again • He goes back and forth between the village and the jungle before renouncing the depravity of human nature and returns to his jungle home for good
Tarzan • The infant son of a pair of marooned English nobles is adopted by a mother ape upon their deaths in a distant jungle
Feral Children • Stories of feral children pop up every now and again in the media, but most stories are uncorroborated and many are pure fantasy • However, there are a few cases which did occur in history which were the subject of intense scientific scruntiny
The Indian Wolf Girls • Godamuri, India, 1920 • Two girls were discovered under the care of a she-wolf • The girls behaved exactly like wild animals • They slept during the day and woke by night • They remained on all-fours, enjoyed raw meat, and were given to biting and attackingif provoked • They could smell raw meat from a distance and had an acute sense of hearing
The Indian Wolf Girls • The youngest child, Amala, died one year after capture • Kamala, the surviving sister, lived for 9 years in an orphanage until she died of illness at the age of 17 • Kamala did acquire a small vocabulary but she remained very different and estranged from the other children until the time of her death
Read Aloud • Dani’s Story: The Girl In The Window • PLANT CITY — The family had lived in the rundown rental house for almost three years when someone first saw a child's face in the window. • A little girl, pale, with dark eyes, lifted a dirty blanket above the broken glass and peered out, one neighbor remembered. • Everyone knew a woman lived in the house with her boyfriend and two adult sons. But they had never seen a child there, had never noticed anyone playing in the overgrown yard. • The girl looked young, 5 or 6, and thin. Too thin. Her cheeks seemed sunken; her eyes were lost. • The child stared into the square of sunlight, then slipped away. • Months went by. The face never reappeared.
Plant City Detective Mark Holste had been on the force for 18 years when he and his young partner were sent to the house on Old Sydney Road to stand by during a child abuse investigation. Someone had finally called the police. • They found a car parked outside. The driver's door was open and a woman was slumped over in her seat, sobbing. She was an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families. • "Unbelievable," she told Holste. "The worst I've ever seen." • The police officers walked through the front door, into a cramped living room.
While Holste looked around, a stout woman in a faded housecoat demanded to know what was going on. Yes, she lived there. Yes, those were her two sons in the living room. Her daughter? Well, yes, she had a daughter . . . • The detective strode past her, down a narrow hall. He turned the handle on a door, which opened into a space the size of a walk-in closet. He squinted in the dark. • At his feet, something stirred.
First he saw the girl's eyes: dark and wide, unfocused, unblinking. She wasn't looking at him so much as through him. • She lay on a torn, moldy mattress on the floor. She was curled on her side, long legs tucked into her emaciated chest. Her ribs and collarbone jutted out; one skinny arm was slung over her face; her black hair was matted, crawling with lice. Insect bites, rashes and sores pocked her skin. Though she looked old enough to be in school, she was naked — except for a swollen diaper. • "The pile of dirty diapers in that room must have been 4 feet high," the detective said. "The glass in the window had been broken, and that child was just lying there, surrounded by her own excrement and bugs." • When he bent to lift her, she yelped like a lamb. "It felt like I was picking up a baby," Holste said. "I put her over my shoulder, and that diaper started leaking down my leg." • The girl didn't struggle. Holste asked, What's your name, honey? The girl didn't seem to hear.
He searched for clothes to dress her, but found only balled-up laundry, flecked with feces. He looked for a toy, a doll, a stuffed animal. "But the only ones I found were covered in maggots and roaches." • Choking back rage, he approached the mother. How could you let this happen? • "The mother's statement was: 'I'm doing the best I can,' " the detective said. "I told her, 'The best you can sucks!' " • He wanted to arrest the woman right then, but when he called his boss he was told to let DCF do its own investigation. • So the detective carried the girl down the dim hall, past her brothers, past her mother in the doorway, who was shrieking, "Don't take my baby!" He buckled the child into the state investigator's car. The investigator agreed: They had to get the girl out of there.
Her name, her mother had said, was Danielle. She was almost 7 years old. • She weighed 46 pounds. She was malnourished and anemic. In the pediatric intensive care unit they tried to feed the girl, but she couldn't chew or swallow solid food. So they put her on an IV and let her drink from a bottle. • Aides bathed her, scrubbed the sores on her face, trimmed her torn fingernails. They had to cut her tangled hair before they could comb out the lice. • Her caseworker determined that she had never been to school, never seen a doctor. She didn't know how to hold a doll, didn't understand peek-a-boo. "Due to the severe neglect," a doctor would write, "the child will be disabled for the rest of her life." • Hunched in an oversized crib, Danielle curled in on herself like a potato bug, then writhed angrily, kicking and thrashing. To calm herself, she batted at her toes and sucked her fists. "Like an infant," one doctor wrote.
She wouldn't make eye contact. She didn't react to heat or cold — or pain. The insertion of an IV needle elicited no reaction. She never cried. With a nurse holding her hands, she could stand and walk sideways on her toes, like a crab. She couldn't talk, didn't know how to nod yes or no. Once in a while she grunted. • The doctors and social workers had no way of knowing all that had happened to Danielle. But the scene at the house, along with Danielle's almost comatose condition, led them to believe she had never been cared for beyond basic sustenance. Hard as it was to imagine, they doubted she had ever been taken out in the sun, sung to sleep, even hugged or held. She was fragile and beautiful, but whatever makes a person human seemed somehow missing. • Armstrong called the girl's condition "environmental autism." Danielle had been deprived of interaction for so long, the doctor believed, that she had withdrawn into herself. • The most extraordinary thing about Danielle, Armstrong said, was her lack of engagement with people, with anything. "There was no light in her eye, no response or recognition. . . . We saw a little girl who didn't even respond to hugs or affection. Even a child with the most severe autism responds to those." • Danielle's was "the most outrageous case of neglect I've ever seen."
Isolates • Children who have been raised in human households, but were severely neglected physically, socially, and emotionally during their early years • Children may be kept in confined spaces (closets, cages) or areas with little or no contact with others (sheds, garages, basements)
Genie’s Story • Genie was raised in near isolation for the first 12 years of her life • Her father was a violent man who hated children; he was believed to have murdered two of Genie’s siblings • She was often strapped to a child’s potty or confined to a sleeping bag • Genie was completely unsocialized – she could not chew her food, speak, stand upright, or fully extend her limbs
Isolates • Severe social isolation contributes to poor social development • Depending on the age at which they are removed from human contact and the age at which they are retrieved, isolates may never be able to develop normal communication patterns
Deprivation Effects • Small physical size from being confined • Fear of speaking • Hoarding • Stunted brain development
Institutionalized Children • In 1945, Rene Spitz followed the social development of babies who, for various reasons, were removed from their mothers early in life • Some children were placed with foster families while others were raised in institutions • The institution babies had no family-like environment • The babies raised in the nursing home environment suffered seriously – more than a third died; most those surviving after 40 years were physically, mentally, and socially delayed
The Harlow Study • The importance of the social environment is demonstrated by Harry Harlow • Harlow removed baby monkeys from their mothers at birth • The babies were provided with all the necessities of life such as food and warmth but the babies had no contact with other monkeys
The Harlow Study • The Harlow’s concluded that social isolation caused the monkeys raised in isolation to develop abnormally
Nature vs Nurture • Revolves around the origins of a particular behaviour, talent or personality trait (e.g., aggression, intelligence, musical ability, sociability, etc.). NATURE BIOLOGY, INNATENESS, HEREDITY, BRAIN • NURTURE SOCIETY, LEARNING, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT • Modern psychologists consider the nature-nurture issue to be a relic of the past.
Feral Children as “Nature” • Language deficient • Untidiness • Animal-like sounds • Insensitivity to temperature • Un-attachment to other humans • Inability to walk upright • More apt to be abandoned
Nurture • Seems improbable that chance would lead to so many cases • Children who are mentally challenged would have a very difficult time surviving in the woods
Significance of Feral Children • Entertainment • Development of Behaviorism and Behavior Modification • Conclusions about sensitive periods • Provide for an experiment that can never be ethically planned or conducted by scientists