USF Pediatric Psychology & "Girl in the Window" Report

Dr. Kathleen Armstrong, Director, USF Health Pediatric Psychology Program

Dr. Kathleen Armstrong, Director, USF Health Pediatric Psychology Program

“Girl in the Window” Reflects Light on Child Development

Publication date: August 1, 2008
Article entitled: “The Girl in the Window”
Publication: St. Petersburg Times

Times’ reporter Lane DeGregory’s, “The Girl in the Window,” has kicked off an international wave of concern. The story, published in the St. Petersburg Times on August 1, tells the story of Dani, a girl who grew to the age of six with such deprivation that she was essentially a feral child.

In the article, DeGregory quotes a USF Health pediatric psychologist, the first to evaluate Dani, and the first to grasp what years of deprivation had done to her.

“My hope is that this raises people’s awareness of the needs of children to social and emotional attachments, and to early experiences,” said Kathleen Armstrong, PhD, the director of USF Health’s pediatric psychology program.

In the article, Dr. Armstrong talks about the development of the brain in the first five years, and the permanent loss that can occur then. “This was an extreme case, but it shows how much a child can be hurt.”

“I’m getting calls from around the world, but I want to note that in this case, it took a lot of people in our pediatrics department to help” said Armstrong. “It took a team effort to find this child the help and support she deserves – and that every child deserves. Even now the outcome remains guarded.”

For full story of Danielle, now 9 and adopted by a new family, click here: St. Petersburg Times Article.