Kennedy was intellectually disabled and was educated separately from other students. In her early young adult years, she experienced seizures and violent mood swings. In response to these and other difficulties, Kennedy's father arranged a prefrontal lobotomy for Kennedy when she was 23 years of age. The procedure failed, leaving Kennedy permanently incapacitated and rendering her unable to speak intelligibly. Kennedy spent most of the rest of her life being cared for in an institution in Jefferson, Wisconsin. While she was initially isolated from her relatives following her lobotomy, Kennedy visited with her family during her later life.