Rosemary Kennedy from 0 to 86 years old

Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy (September 13, 1918 – January 7, 2005) was the third child and first daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. She was a sister of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. and Ted Kennedy.
During her birth, the doctor was not immediately and the nurse ordered Rose Kennedy to keep her legs closed, forcing the baby’s head to stay in the birth canal for two hours. The action resulted in a harmful loss of oxygen. As Rosemary began to grow, her parents noticed she was not reaching the basic developmental steps a human normally reaches at a certain month or year. At two years old, she had a hard time sitting up, crawling, and learning to walk.
At age 15, Rosemary was sent to the Sacred Heart Convent in Elmhurst, Providence, Rhode Island, where she was educated separately from the other students. Two nuns and a special teacher, Miss Newton, worked with her all day in a separate classroom. The Kennedys gave the school a new tennis court for their efforts. Her reading, writing, spelling, and counting skills were reported to be at a fourth-grade level.
In her early young adult years, Rosemary experienced seizures and violent mood swings. Her occasionally erratic behavior frustrated her parents; her father was especially worried that Rosemary’s behavior would shame and embarrass the family and damage his and his children’s political careers. In response to these issues, he arranged a prefrontal lobotomy for her in 1941 when she was just 23 years old, but the disastrous procedure left her permanently incapacitated and rendered her unable to speak intelligibly. Her mental capacity diminished to that of a two-year-old child. She could not walk and was incontinent.
After the lobotomy, Rosemary was immediately institutionalized. She initially lived for several years at Craig House, a private psychiatric hospital 90 minutes north of New York City. In 1949, she was relocated to Jefferson, Wisconsin, where she lived for the rest of her life on the grounds of the St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children.
In response to her condition, Rosemary’s parents separated her from her family. The truth about her situation and whereabouts was kept secret for decades.
Following Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. death in 1969, the Kennedys gradually involved Rosemary in family life again. She was occasionally taken to visit relatives in Florida and Washington, D.C., and to her childhood home on Cape Cod. By that time, she had learned to walk again, but did so with a limp. She never regained the ability to speak clearly, and her arm was palsied.
She died from natural causes on January 7, 2005, with her siblings by her side. She was 86 years old.
Her condition was the inspiration for her sister Eunice to found the Special Olympics.

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