Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Anyone read 'Send in the Idiots'? Idea that changlings or children raised by wolves actually had SN

(9 Posts)
BatFoxHippo Sat 18-Jul-15 18:14:24

Not sure I explained it very well but for anyone who hasn't read the book, there is a theory that children who were said to have been snatched by fairies and replaced by an imposter child actually had SN and their parents/society were trying to explain their differences however they could.

Similarly children raised by wild animals were not how they were because of being raised without human contact but they were abandoned because parents could not cope with them. I studied child development and they used these rare cases of children recovered from the wild as proof of how important human interaction was. I remember wondering how the heck you accidently lose a baby and it crawls off to join a wolf pack.

NatGeo Sat 18-Jul-15 20:15:28

So your theory in a nutshell is that the mental condition of these discovered children is nothing to do with the years/months of being raised by and living amongst animals but everything to do with Special Needs they had been born with?

And that this SN was the cause of their abandonment by their parents the first place? It had nothing to do with lack of human contact shock

And this is your counter argument to what the Child Development studies claim? This is your finding? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Corrimony Sat 18-Jul-15 22:17:27

I've come across lots of changeling stories in folklore and I did wonder if their origin was as you say. Interesting, but very sad as I think some of the changeling folklore must have served to help poor families come to terms with their rejection of disabled children they had no means of supporting. Other changeling stories were probably imaginative ways of explaining difference. I haven't read Send in the Idiots though.

BatFoxHippo Sat 18-Jul-15 23:55:09

NatGeo its not my theory, its an idea discussed in a book written by an autistic person about his experience in a special school. He meets up with his former teachers as an adult and one of them tells him about these theories. Its a good book, funny and full of interesting ideas about politics and relationships and all sorts.

I thought it was interesting because realistically how would an a child, NT or otherwise, end up living in the wild? If it was a regular practise (deeply unpleasant as we find it now) to abandon children who weren't developing typically, it would explain why a few children ended up being being adopted by animals. How would they get there otherwise?

Corrimony I think it would also let the parents have the fantasy that their perfect child, the one they should have had, is living and being looked after (as I understand it the human child is taken to live with the fairies or imps or whatever?)

PolterGoose Sun 19-Jul-15 11:06:12

There's been lots written about the changeling myth and folklore, I can see how autistic regression could be imagined in such a way. We all seek narratives to explain the unknown and unexpected, it's human to form stories, and those stories will be based within our cultures.

Corrimony Sun 19-Jul-15 20:03:59

Yes, BatFoxHippo, the human child is taken to live in fairyland and I think you're right about the fantasy of the perfect child. I wondered about postnatal depression/psychosis when I read some changeling stories too. I agree with you Polter, and I love to learn about people from the stories we tell ourselves.

Anomia10 Sun 26-Jul-15 12:01:12

I've never read it, but when I started meeting children with autism (dd's friends from school), it occurred to me quite independently, that people would explain the unusual behaviours and failure to conform to social norms in children with autism, as "changelings"!

zzzzz Sun 26-Jul-15 13:02:26

It's quite a well discussed idea. I'm not sure why you find it so offensive nat. I think "changeling" stories definitely fit very neatly with autistic regression. "Exposing" disabled children (ie leaving them out to die) was/is common practice in many (most?) cultures. Realistically unless he was locked up I doubt my son would have survived in a less developed environment.

In many cultures one twin was routinely exposed as they were often sickly (prem) and difficult to manage with less of modern day support.

It's important to know where we come from on our journey and WHY things were done the way they were. Unless you understand that our children where culled, then imprisoned, and only now are traveling through integration to inclusion how can you see why/how/what we should do next?

"Send In The Idiots" is IMO one of the best books written about autism. It has informed and seeded many of the ideas I have about not just disability but life and parenting. I certainly would be a poorer person if I had not read it.

BatFoxHippo Mon 27-Jul-15 23:35:45

Yes zzzzz it really is worth reading, even for people without a special interest in autism.

Just googling 'exposure' now. I never realised it was so widespread.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now