"Girl in the Window" Reflects Light on Child Development

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 13, 2008)  Lane DeGregory’s incredible story, "The Girl in the Window," has kicked off an international wave of concern. The story, published in the St. Petersburg Times on Aug. 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, 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.

 "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." The full story of Danielle, now 9 and adopted by a new family, can be found in the St. Petersburg Times here: http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/article750838.ece

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  It is one of Florida's top three research universities.  USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine.  The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland.  USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

– USF –