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Secret of the Wild Child   -  Discontinued

Secret of the Wild Child

Item Number:
60 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
In 1970, social workers in Los Angeles discovered a modern-day "wild child," a 13-year-old girl who had been locked in a room in social isolation for most of her life. She had been forced to sit alone, day after day, strapped to a potty chair, with little more than bare walls to look at. She was severely under-developed, unable to talk and barely able to walk. Rescued from her living nightmare, the girl known as "Genie" captured the attention of the media and the hearts of her doctors. At the time of her discovery, a debate raged over an hypothesis describing a "critical period" of language acquisition. Because no one would ever intentionally deprive a child of language for science, it seemed an impossible theory to prove–a "forbidden experiment." Genie provided a rare opportunity to test this hypothesis, though the methods and intentions of the members of Genie's medical team have now been called into question. Drawing on several hundred hours of never-before-seen footage documenting the controversial research methods used in Genie's case, as well as the research conducted in a similar case in 19th century rural France, NOVA probes her strange and riveting story as doctors tried to unravel this linguistic riddle. On one DVD-5 disc. Special DVD features include downloadable materials for educators, scene selection, and closed captions.

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