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The Story of Genie

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THE STORY OF GENIE
Genie is the name used for a feral child discovered by a social worker in Los Angeles, California. From the age of twenty months Genie’s father chained her to a potty-chair and isolated her in a room. When she was found, she was severely malnourished and almost mute. When her case brought some interest to scientists, she became the focus of an investigation to discover if there was a critical age for the development of language in children. Since then Genie has been staying in an adult foster home. Genie’s story has given a rude awakening to everyone who hears it and is inspiring to anyone who supports child abuse. Genie is a modern-day “wild child.”

At the age of twenty months Genie was just learning how to speak when her doctor told her parents that she appeared to be slightly retarded. Genie’s father took his advice to the extreme, believing she was retarded. He then chained her to a potty-chair twenty-four hours a day. At night, if he would remember, he restricted her to a sleeping bag that was kept in an oversized crib with a cover made of metal. If she ever tried to speak her father would beat her. Her mother or her older brother was also restricted to the house; for fear that they would tell someone what he was doing to Genie. Her mother went to a social worker on November 4, 1970 with her mother and Genie. She wanted to know what the benefits were for being almost blind, but the only thing the social worker was concerned with was Genie. The social worker thought she was only eight by just looking at her size, but in reality she was thirteen and very malnourished. She held her front arms up like paws and would walk like a rabbit. She couldn’t see twelve feet in front of her, couldn’t eat hard food, and was almost mute. She was then rescued and put into a children’s hospital.

When Genie’s story started to get some publicity, scientists became interested in experimenting with her. Their main goal was to find out if...