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Rosemary Kennedy

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Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy (September 13, 1918 – January 7, 2005) was the third child and first daughter of Rose Elizabeth Kennedy née Fitzgerald and Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., born little more than a year after her brother, future U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Rose sent Rosemary to the Sacred Heart Convent in Elmhurst, Providence, Rhode Island at age 15, 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. By Massachusetts state law the Binet intelligence test was given to her before first grade as she twice failed to advance from kindergarten on schedule. She was labeled an individual with IQ between 60 and 70.

Her parents told Woman's Day that Rosemary was "studying to be a kindergarten teacher", and Parents was told she had "an interest in social welfare work, she is said to harbor a secret longing to go on the stage". Rosemary, at age 21, had indeed been sent by her parents to a convent school in England that trained Montessori teachers. Her companion Dorothy Gibbs remembers a promise from Rosemary to not be "fierce" with her students because it is "not 'Montessori'".

Placid and easygoing as a child and teenager, the maturing Kennedy became increasingly assertive in her personality. She was reportedly subject to violent mood swings. Some observers have since attributed this behavior to her difficulties in keeping up with siblings who were expected to perform to high standards, as well as the hormonal surges associated with puberty. In any case, the family had difficulty dealing with the often-stormy Rosemary, who had begun to sneak out at night from the convent where she was educated and cared for. In 1941, when Rosemary was 23, doctors told her father that a new neurosurgical procedure, lobotomy, would help calm her mood swings and sometimes-violent outbursts. At the time, relatively few lobotomies had been performed; James W. Watts and Walter Freeman carried out the procedure. Researchers disagree over Rosemary's preoperative condition. According to biographer Laurence Leamer, Rosemary was "probably the first person with mental retardation in America to receive a prefrontal lobotomy"; but biographer Ronald Kessler, author of The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded, quotes Dr. Bertram S. Brown, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, who said, "Even in [Dr. Watts'] day, performing a lobotomy on someone who was mentally retarded would have been medical malpractice."

After the procedure, Rosemary lived for several years at Craig House, a private psychiatric hospital an hour north of New York City. In 1949, she moved to a house in Jefferson, Wisconsin where she lived for the rest of her life on the grounds of the St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children (formerly known as "St. Coletta Institute for Backward Youth"). Because of the severity of her condition, Rosemary became largely detached from her family, but was visited regularly by her mother and by her sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. did not visit Rosemary at the institution.[31] Occasionally, Rosemary was taken to visit relatives in Florida and Washington, D.C., and to her childhood home on Cape Cod.

Publicly, Rosemary was declared to be mentally handicapped. "Only a few doctors who worked for the Kennedys knew the truth about Rosemary's condition, as did the FBI," because of a background check of Joe. Joe's attorney told them she had a "mental illness".[33] Perhaps because of the episode, Eunice later founded the Special Olympics, and Joe founded and endowed philanthropies for people with developmental disabilities.

Rosemary's rage disappeared over the years. Borsari thought that she may have mellowed with age or that she found other ways to get people's attention. Rosemary died from natural causes on January 7, 2005, at the Fort Atkinson Memorial Hospital in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, at the age of 86, with her sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, and her brother U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy by her side. She was the fifth of the Kennedy children to die, but the first to die from natural causes.


-Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Kennedy

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