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Feral Children
Steinberg & Sciarini Chapter 4
Sook Whan Cho
Victor: the wild boy of Aveyron
Victor (pp. 91-93),
11-12 years of age
• Captured by hunters in the woods in Aveyron
district of France in 1800.
• Speech training proed to be very frustrating;
repetition of some words and sounds
• Aware of the world around him and the
awareness had a dramatic positive effect.
• A little bit of letter recognition, progress in
reading, associatiation of words with objects,
overgeneralizations like normal childre.
• Senses, memory, and attention were intact,
ablity to compare, judge, read and write
• Itard has taught Victor French for five years.
Genie, 13 years of age
• Found in 1971.
• Brutally abused and mistreated, being locked in a smll rom
in her house by her father for the preceding 12 years.
• Given no toys to play except for some empty containers,
empty thread spools, and occasional magazine, nothing
much to look at (small windes being covered by curtains),
little to touch, little to do.
• During her training at the hospital, Genie displayed some
ability to understand and to imitate (poorly, though).
• Except for some words (mother, red, bunny), she had little;
some limited comprehension.
• Cognitive/linguistic abilities: little more than those of a 2;0.
• After a training for 8 years, and she made little progress in
producing language although her ability to understand
improved quite rapidly.
(pp. 93-95(
confinement with a mute mother (pp. 95-96)
Found in 1938
Her mother had sustained a brain injury at 2;0 and
could not develop speech, communicating by
means of crude gestures of her own origination.
Isabelle and her mother had been locked in a room
during the mother’s pregnancy and Isabelle’s
childhood of 6 and a half years.
Isabelle started to produce speech a week after she
and her mother were found (Mason visited them
After only 20 months, Isabelle has progressed from
her first spoken word to full length sentences;
intellligent ability was observed; very differently
from the outcomes with Victor and Genie.
began to learn language at age 32
Misdiagnosed as regarded, not deaf.
Began to learn at the age of 32.
Thought that she born deaf.
Developed an extensive vocabulary.
Unlike Genie, though, Chelsea lacked in
word order in her sentences (“Banana the eat,”
“Combing hair the boy,” etc.)
Hellen Keller,
the renowed deaf and blind girl
• Was born normal and, due to illness, Keller became
deaf and blind at 19 months of age.
• She was developing language before she got sick.
• Anne Sullivan Macy came to teach her language (Macy
partly blind).
• Macy taught Keller through the sense of touch and
Keller learned to speak although she could not hear.
• Keller was able to think and write clearly about her life.
• Graduated from Radcliffe (Harvard U, currently) with
• It took Keller a long time to learn her first word ‘water,’
this fact suggesting that her pre-illiness exposure to
language was of minimal benefit.
(pp. 98-99)
Oxana and Edik
-Her parents were alcoholics.
-at 3;0 Oxana was left alone outside, crawling into a
dog house, and a dog helped her to survive.
-behaved like a dog on all fours, mostly barking,
hardly able to speak.
-At 19 years of age, she could talk in simple
sentences, yet having difficulties relating to people.
-Like Genie and Victor, Oxana’s develoment seemed
to come to a limit without progressing any further.
(pp. 99)
• Found at 4;0 in a deserted apartment.
• His mother was an alcoholic, without caring
for Edik since he was 2;0.
• Turned to stray dogs for survival.
• Language skills and grammar improved, but
• At 6;0, his speech was like that of 3;0.
• His social skills were likely to remain

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