Genie’s father Clark Wiley reportedly left the world with one final remark, scribbled on a piece of paper before he ended his own life: “The world will never understand.” The horrible part is that he was right, and that the world never did end up fully understanding Genie or why this “Forbidden Experiment” had to be performed. Scientists could never pinpoint if Gente was retarded from birth or if it was developed through her beatings and isolation, and this created a large barrier between them and a clear solution.
They didn’t even know if she was capable of picking up language or civilization at all after puberty or “the critical period” of learning. Despite all their efforts and the thousands of dallarsthac went inta her research, it was human nature that resulted in yet another failure in the forbidden experiment, Scientists realized they couldn’t act as parents and therapists for Genie at the same time, and struggled to juggle these roles.
Eventually, someone cracked and “fumbled! the ball” (said James Kent to ABCNEWS.com) so to speak. That was al i¢ took to reset years of teaching and research, reverting Genie to her silent beginnings. A combination of incapable scientists, poor environmental conditions, and misinterpretation of thе “critical period” theory resulted in yet another destroyed human life.
When Genie was discovered siting on her potty-chair by social services, everyone inthe Los Angeles area was imbued with a sense of determination to turn her into a normal chil. They new it would take the right people andthe right teaching —but this case was one of few.
The only other documented “wild child,” Victor of Aveyron, had poor results due to Jean Mare Gaspard Ita not following through on his teaching. Hard was disappointed that even after years of teaching, Victor still couldn’t grasp true grammatical thought. Genie’s therapists struggled to give her the correct combination of treatment and love, mostly due to the fact that no one wanted to get too attached. They knew that Genie had a way of captivating people, and scientists struggled to balance their relationship and their research. Experiments quickly strayed off course, and although she seemed to be making strides in her vocabulary and word association, she struggled to put together cognitive sentences. The true difference between “nature” and “nurture”were beginning to make an impact on the way the case was being handled. Genie’s mental retardation could have easily been the result of her isolation and punishment for expressing needs. The human needs and wants is most definitely in the category of murturing, but itis up to the nature of the human doing so to decide if they will receive that necessary attention. If the child believes that they aren’t deserving ofthat attention—like Genie—they will reject it in thе future, just like how she went mute again after being punished for vomiting, Fven at 51 years old today, she won’t speak a word that her therapist “family” taught her: wasn’t only the environment she was raised in that had an impact on her capacity to eam, The environment the scientists and researchers of the children’s hospital fabricated for her was such a drastic change that it seemed to throw her off course. This attention that she began to
receive and the people she was allowed to converse with allowed her a new sense of self-worth. AL first, it was a very good thing. She spake her first words, just as any infant would, and scientists seemed to hope they could teach her as one. Ifthe so-called “critical period” didn’t exist, then she could just carry on with her life, 13 years behind everyone else. If only that was the case. Genie was intellectually disabled (in my personal opinion) because of the environment in which she was raised. I feel the same way about some children who are declared mentally retarded, and I can sometimes see in their upbringing that certain brain deficiencies were the cause of excessive separation from others (a.k.a. the special education program). From what I’ve read and researched, it seemed as ifthe scientists didn’t want her interacting with other children, and raised her in many different houses with many people. They said she made connections and formed relationships, but they were always eventually disbanded, The scientists knew there was much hope, and some almost threw their professional careers (such as the Rigler’s) away in order to help her achieve some sort of basis to be educated.
The final assumption that strayed Genie’s case so off-course was the critical period. This theory is to this day unproven, mostly due to the fact thatthe only subjects were Victor and Genie (among few others) who were isolated at a young age. Many of those involved in Genie’s research and development as a child lost hope due to her never being taught anything at a young, age. The Critical Period Hypothesis, propased by Wilder Penfield, a neurologist, is simply a hypothesis. With such litle knowledge of the human brain, there is no way one can make the conclusion that there are limitations to when we are the best at learning. I have a 65 year old grandparent who grew up on English, became a French teacher, and now is teaching himself fluent Spanish, The limitations are not of the brain, but of the way they are taught. It is my belief that at an age where language should have been introduced, it should be taught not in a vocabulary-oriented style, but in a more advanced sentence-forming way from the beginning, If hor brain was atthe stage where a typical person would leam advanced sentence structure in middle school, why not start there? The other sue was her withdrawal from society, even after she was discovered and brought to the children’s hospital, The houses and rooms she was in seemed like test environments, and when she was outside she was observed, not played with. The critical period hypothesis caused doctors and therapists to contemplate the options, not take action.
Genie Wiley is now 51 and lives with her sixth faster parent. Her teachings have basically come to a halt, and she has been mute since the vomiting incident. Her living conditions, thе people who taught her, and the introduction of the critical period hypothesis into their research brought yet another forbidden experiment to another sad ending, God forbid something like this happens again, but i it does, surely there must be a better way to treat individuals such as her.