Rosemary Kennedy, 1918–2005

Saturday 8 January 2005This is over 18 years old. Be careful.

Rosemary Kennedy, the disabled sister of JFK, and the inspiration for Special Olympics, died yesterday.

This is a remarkable story, for both good and bad. On the bad side, a mildly retarded girl is lobotomized, leaving her profoundly disabled. She’s hidden from view to prevent scandal to an ambitious and powerful family. On the good side, she inspires that family to create Special Olympics, one of the best things to happen for disabled people in the last century.

I don’t know how much Rosemary’s story is unique for that era. There certainly were not the options and understanding that there are now. I’m saddened to think of her plight as an individual, but glad to benefit from the organization and attitudes that she helped, however indirectly, to create.


Wow. I wasn't aware of any of this. Though it doesn't surprise me - what happened to her - the lobotomy. Not when Bruno Bettleheim was allowed to run around and torture autistic children, blame the parents - all in the name of "science."

I, too, am grateful that something positive came from something so horrible.

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