An analysis of the children who have been wandered off and survived on their own

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An analysis of the children who have been wandered off and survived on their own

Orphans Researchers and social policy makers have long been interested in the developmental impact of institutionalization.

An analysis of the children who have been wandered off and survived on their own

Are young children who have experienced extreme deprivation in the first year or two of their lives ever able to overcome such poor developmental beginnings? Children in orphanages have been studied in many parts of the world e. The early work on institutionalization demonstrated that deprivation resulted in developmental insult but made no attempt to establish what it was about deprivation that caused such deficits.

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Intellectual assessments were often used as outcome measures and social emotional variables were used to explain these outcomes. In the late twentieth century, researchers examined larger samples of orphanage children using standardized developmental assessments and measures of all aspects of development i.

This entry presents a review of both the early literature and late-twentieth-century research on institutionalized children. In most studies children with orphanage experience are compared to children reared in foster careadopted children, or children who were home-reared from birth.

Typically orphanage children fare less well on most measures than children in these other groups. Early Literature on Institutionalization Research interest in the developmental consequences of extreme deprivation in infancy began in the early s and s with the work of researchers such as Rene Spitz a; bWilliam Goldfarb ;and John Bowlby Researchers became interested in this topic as a result of the high infant mortality rate in institutions from no known physical cause Spitz a; b.

Rene Spitz coined the term hospitalism to describe the physical and psychological characteristics of infants housed in institutions.

He described conditions in the institution as dire. Spitz concluded from his study that the damage inflicted on children during their first year of life was irreparable. William Goldfarb studied fifteen children who had been reared in an institutions for the first three years of their lives and were subsequently placed in foster care.

He compared these children to a group of children who had been in foster care since early infancy. Goldfarb found that the institution group, even in adolescence, were delayed intellectually relative to the foster care group, displayed significantly greater problem behaviors, were socially less mature and appeared emotionally removed in terms of their capacity to form relationships.

Goldfarb claimed that early institutional rearing resulted in developmental deficits that were not overcome once children were placed in more stimulating and loving environments.

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He clearly stated that, given his findings, "babies should be kept out of institutions" Goldfarbp. Clearly, this early work suggested that institutionalized children would be irreparably damaged as a result of such experience. This work has been criticized, however, largely because of methodological limitations Longstreth ; Pinneau Critics reported that much of this early literature provided scant details regarding not only conditions in orphanages but also the assessments used to evaluate children.

The number of children who were tested, the ages at which they were tested, and how often assessments were carried out was often unclear. These limitations made it difficult for later researchers to have strong confidence in the early data on institutionalized children. Not all early studies, however, predicted such dire outcomes for institutionalized children.

In many parts of the world researchers conducted intervention studies attempting to ascertain the kinds of interventions that might prevent poor developmental outcomes. Researchers began demonstrating that many of the cognitive and social deficits among these children were ameliorated after improvements in their environment Broussard and DeCarie ; Dennis ; Hunt et al.

Such interventions included placing infants as houseguests with older children Skodak and Skeels, improving child-to-caregiver ratios Hunt et al.

An analysis of the children who have been wandered off and survived on their own

All of these studies showed that simple changes, even within the orphanage environment e. More importantly, this research showed that the effects of deprivation were not irreparable, although the length of institutionalization could make a difference in developmental outcomes.

Further support for the idea that institutionalized children were not destined for developmental compromise came from the work of Barbara Tizard and her colleagues with children who had spent the first two years of their lives in high-quality institutions in the United Kingdom Tizard In these institutions child-to-caregivers ratios were 3: The caregivers, however, were discouraged from forming intimate relationships with the children.

Tizard first assessed these children at two years of age and compared them to a sample of home-reared children from a working-class background. Tizard followed her sample of children up to sixteen years of age and found that the majority of parents claimed their children had developed a deep attachment toward them.

Later Deprivation Studies It was not until late and early that researchers once again could address the impact of extreme deprivation on young children, when the Ceausescu regime in Romania was overthrown.

At this time the outside world became aware of thousands of children who had been housed in Romanian state-run orphanages. The conditions in Romanian orphanages were similar to or worse than the conditions described by Goldfarb Ames ; Groze and Ileana Children spent from twenty to twenty-four hours a day in their cribs, with little visual or auditory stimulation Ames, and child-to-caregiver ratios ranged from Therefore researchers were once again permitted the opportunity to evaluate the developmental impact of extreme deprivation.

Sandra Kaler and Betty Jo Freeman examined the cognitive and social-emotional developmental status of children within an orphanage in Romania and found that the majority of orphanage children were severely analysis of the sex topic for the teenagers irresistible fragments, his rationalization however.

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Impact of the Holocaust