Dani, a feral child

The idea of a child who has grown largely without human contact or care is of interest to academics for a variety of reasons, whether the interest stems from questions about child development, or the nature/nurture problem. But I agree with jj in this post from Feminist Philosophers that the reality of “the feral child” is far from being the distant object of theoretical curiosity that it is often speculated as in classroom discussion.

Dani with her new family

Dani with her new family

This journalistic report on the story on Dani, a child who went largely without human contact until she was seven, does a remarkably good job of treating her as a person, rather than an object of medical intrigue. Dani was diagnosed with a kind of environmental autism due to this neglect. Included is an audio version of the story and a slide show, as well as links to other stories on Dani and a place for feedback.

3 thoughts on “Dani, a feral child

  1. This is a very well-written and well-balanced article worth reading! Thank you for putting the link up.

    I am stunned that this story was kept out of the media until now. How in the world did they manage it I wonder? Seems like a successful DCFS coverup.

    That this could have happened in the 21st century to any child is very horrifying. What is frightening, is that if it has happened before, Could it be happening right now to another child?

    The sweet family who has chosen to adopt such a severely handicapped child and give her so much love and peace and hope is a beautiful consolation in this story. Miracles are real, and love is replacing the misery.

    As for the biological mother, as much as we hate to see someone not receive more punishment for doing something so horrifying, perhaps God sent some mercy her way as well. The story gives some good insight into her side.

    Well worth reading! Gives many things to ponder.

  2. This is a terribly hard story to read. It also brings to mind a very hard question, which relates to this blog’s raison d’etre: what sorts of parents should there be? The bio-mom here is clearly not playing with anything remotely resembling a full deck, and doesn’t seem to grasp the enormity of what she did (or didn’t do) to her child (the video interview makes this as clearer as the written reports). The chances that she would ever be able to raise a child without almost destroying him/her in the process are very slim. In the bad old days of negative-eugenics-as-public-policy, she might well have come to the attention of something like Alberta’s former Sexual Sterilization Committee, not necessarily because she’s a neglectful mother but because of her economic status (marginal) and reported psychometric results (low).

  3. Pingback: Bookmarks about Child

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