Kathleen is described as broadminded and cheerful.
From someone who met Kathleen in 2010: Kathleen is a very loving and social little girl who loves getting attention from adults. Whenever I was in her group, she was always right beside me, participating in whatever I was doing and engaging me in her own favorite activities. Kathleen has kept that silly, playfulness that most institutionalized children seem to lose. She was definitely a little mischievous getting into everything, but was also very quick to follow direction and obviously eager to please. I truly believe she would thrive in a family where she was showered with all the attention she deserves and allowed to simply be the fun-loving, silly little girl God created her to be.
From someone who met Kathleen in 2012: Kathleen is a happy little girl who would love to be able to communicate, but cannot because of an unrepaired cleft palate. She makes noises to communicate to the best of her ability. She is a very sweet little girl, and loves to play outside. Many missionaries who have met her loved her and spoke highly of her!
Update September 2015: Kathleen was moved into an all girls facility in 2012. The staff say she has adapted well to the routine and has a group of friends. However there is no opportunity for education or therapy where she currently is. The staff say their goals are focused physical activity and teaching the girls self care rather than on education. The facility is in a very rural village and there is no school nearby.
Kathleen was evaluated by a doctor who said that she is moderately mentally disabled. There is a high likelihood that she has some form of a congenital syndrome that she was born with. She has an unrepaired cleft palate, mitral valve prolapse, as well as some abnormality of her elbow joints. She is also very thin, it’s unclear if this is related to her syndrome since the other girls at her facility were not under weight like she is. We observed her eating several times, the palate does not seem to slow her down, but she does have to clear her nose frequently because there is no barrier between her mouth and her nasal cavity. It was originally thought that her speech challenges were due to the unrepaired palate, but the doctor says this is not likely since she is not just delayed in speech, but rather is completely nonverbal. He believes that she will remain nonverbal, but then again there is no speech therapy offered where she is, so we doubt that!
Kathleen understands and is able to follow basic instructions, and is able to perform self care with supervision (self feeds, toilets, dresses independently, etc). We were able to get her to play briefly kicking around a ball, and she liked to watch us color. We were unable to get her to use the crayons herself to see what her fine motor skills are like. She likes to take pictures but refuses to look at the pictures on the phone! She seems really averse to iphones, ipad, etc, when we tried to show her pictures and videos. She would hold our hands and lead us around where she wanted to go, and enjoys skipping! The staff have a nickname for her that basically means “energizer,” because she is always active and on the go!
Kathleen is a beautiful girl who is not able to reach her God given potential where she currently is. The doctor was not hopeful that she would “ever progress,” but we know that with the love/dedication of a family, and medical care/therapy that she needs, that she can prove him wrong!