Anyone else have twins - one with special needs (disabilities) and the other without? How do you cope?

Lesa - posted on 02/16/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )

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My twins are fraternal (boy, girl) and now 7 years old. My boy has developmental delays, etc and was recently diagnosed with Borderline Intelligence. He has an IEP, attends special education classes, works with an occupational therapist, and now he's being tested for ADD. It can be difficult at times, having twins who aren't on the same level. He's just now starting to realize he's "different" and sometimes kids will tease him at school which breaks his twin sister's heart. Can anyone relate?

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Jane - posted on 07/03/2012

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My twin sons are 10 yrs old but one of my twins has been diagnosed with Auditory processing disorder which means that 10 is really just the amount of birthdays he has had. I am finding it tough just now cos he has so little understanding of important things that are and are not socially acceptable.Would love to hear from Mums with a child who has same condition. Thanks

Donelle - posted on 02/18/2011

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That is how it was with Brooke one diagnosis after the next. Of course I didn't want her classified with a permanent diagonisis at a younger age because of Insurance reasons. Even if a child is slower in some areas there is always a chance to close the gaps between a child and her peers of the same age and with a permanant diagnosis like asthma for example is hard for insurance companies to cover them because it is considered a pre existing condition so I waited for a permanant diagnosis. Just something to be aware of. Brooke was diganosed with developmental delay for years until she turned 7 then I was told she has learning disabilities and at the age of 9 she was diagnosed with Mild Mental Retardation because her IQ was just below the line. Now she is on SSI disability for children because she can't rationalize, and is immature for her age. I am not a doctor but I also think she has ODD (obediance defiance Disorder as well. Along with depression. I was also told that she will prolly have to have someone with her at all times even when she is ready to live on her own. That really made me sad and to think if something happened to me who would take my place? I have wonderful family and I know that my brothers or sister would but that is a lot of responsibility for someone who hasn't lived in the home with her. My oldest daughter who is going to be 16 next month said that she would stay back and help her but that is not fair for her. I want her to be happy in life as well. Many things to consider in life and many ups and downs. I will never forget the day she took her first steps at the age of 2years and 3months. Sitting up at the age of 8months. Enough of my rambling lol There is going to be many trips to doctors offices and all we can do is help as much as we can to make our children succeed in life. My main point was to be aware of classifications as many of them would be considered pre existing conditions and the insurance companies can have the childs medical expenses not covered. Check with your insurance companies and find out what they consider to be pre existing or even ask your pediatrition they can help as well. Good luck Chelle and Lesa I will watching for updates.

Christine - posted on 02/07/2013

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My 8 yr old fraternal twin boys are night and day. A has Asperger's and was diagnosed at age 7. He was evulated 3 x's before a proper name was given. B has an normal develpment. We used to have alot of playdates, mostly because of B's social ablilty to make friends. A doesn't want to play group sports and B doesn't want to play sports without his brother. Finding something they both enjoy is very hard. Play dates have not exitsted for some time. They are in the same school but different classes. I invited 25+ students to their 8th birthday party. 7 responded yes, 4 showed up. It was heartbreaking watching my sons staring at the door wondering where their "friends" were. Birthday parties I think are the worst. Having one son invited to a birthday party and not the other one is cruel. The other parents know they are twins.

Taryn - posted on 02/20/2011

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i have fraternal twins too, boy&girl. they are 8 years old now. my boy has had alot of developmental problems and was diagnosed with adhd and autism septum, we have had alot of problems with school and the social asspects of his life, it has been alot work, he has been on medication for a year now. his twin sister is deveolpmental normal, with the exception of a typical girl additude, which is alot of worhk too.

Angela - posted on 02/18/2011

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Yes, I have two boys will be 7 in April. One is borderline MR. The boys school has done a tremendous job making sure that he is a "cool" kid. His personality does help, as he's a smiling friendly type of kid. It seems very hard, but I just think to myself that I have a 7 year old and a 3 year old (as that's about where he is mentally) and that usually puts my day into perspective. I even get surprised at how big he is when he actually stands next to a 3 year old! LOL. As for the school - I would be talking to them about this, that's bullying and it needs to be nipped in the bud before it gets worse. I know that I've heard from friends of Brody's (my 'different' boy) that he's being teased and when they tell their parents, they just don't understand and it hurts 'their' feelings. It warms my heart to know that he has these friends in his corner. One of his good friends does not like his twin, it's rather comical, because
Boyd always wants what Brody gets, especially all the extra attention, and this friend strongly points that out. Brody isn't where he notices his differences. Honestly? I hope that never happens, I'd rather h im be oblivious to the negative of the world.
I would love to chat with you anytime! message me if you feel like it.

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Belia - posted on 06/12/2014

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My husband is a 43 year old fraternal twin. His brother was born with major physical and mental health problems, had multiple surgeries for 2 months before even coming home. They have a 47 year old brother that is "normal" like my husband. The handicap twin is at the forever age of an 11 year old boy. He takes daily medication and his diet is constantly monitored.
My husband was treated as a middle child. Left at school without rides, forgotten. He was teased about his twin brother riding the special bus, in the special class, and hints that he too was of special needs. The older brother dismissed the twins completely and grew up acting as if he was an only child.
His lived his life in the shadows, never making waves, constant disappointments because of the twin falling ill and not a lot of self confidence.
To the mothers out there that may have a similar or same situation. Get help!! Find a way to show the same attention to all your children. Get help for them, on how to live with a special needs sibling!!

Susan - posted on 11/22/2013

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Yes, I can I have 13 yr old twins boy and girl my daughter is the one with borderline intell. and people say I cant believe she is your sister. I was told she had that in the 4th grade and I am now really seeing what they are talking about, I need help, with understanding what to do? Is there counseling or help?

Betsy - posted on 10/09/2013

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I am an identical twin, my sister and I were born two months premature 32 years ago. Amy was born with an inoperable cyst in her brain, hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and cerebral palsy. She's had around 60 brain surgeries in her lifetime, and has an implanted shunt to manage the hydrocephalus. She's intelligent and well spoken, though she speaks with some slurring. She walks with a walker, and has trouble with fine motor skills. Socially, she's awkward, emotionally immature, and though nothing's ever been diagnosed, I suspect Asperger's or something along that line. I was born "normal".

My mother never treated us any differently in that she never made Amy feel "less than". If anything, I was jealous of the attention she received as a child when she was sick. Her disabilities were downplayed however; just part of the normal list of strengths and weaknesses we all have. Amy and I compared ourselves as equals, even if we were physically different.

In my experience, twins have a hard enough time embracing their own identity as individuals. Occasionally, we'd even receive one Birthday present from a misguided friend- as though we were one person, and our interests the same! I would rather NOT be treated the same, but respected and understood as my own unique self. It has made me more capable of supporting her emotionally and physically over the years. I also have come to realize that though we're twins, our lives are intertwined but not co-dependent. We are entitled to our own successes and failures, independent of each other. It's so important to learn this when you have a disabled sibling; you can respect them for who they are without feeling guilty for them not being the same as you are... that 'survivor's guilt' can be very painful. She can be proud of herself as an individual, rather than hate me forever for being spared. Our paths can be alongside each other, but they don't have to be the same exact road.

Obviously, life is a work in progress, but we do our best. I would stress how your children are both uniquely gifted in their own special ways. Just because they're twins, they don't need to be exactly the same- they're sisters first!

Betsy - posted on 10/09/2013

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I am an identical twin, my sister and I were born two months premature 32 years ago. Amy was born with an inoperable cyst in her brain, hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and cerebral palsy. She's had around 60 brain surgeries in her lifetime, and has an implanted shunt to manage the hydrocephalus. She's intelligent and well spoken, though she speaks with some slurring. She walks with a walker, and has trouble with fine motor skills. Socially, she's awkward, emotionally immature, and though nothing's ever been diagnosed, I suspect Asperger's or something along that line. I was born "normal".

My mother never treated us any differently in that she never made Amy feel "less than". If anything, I was jealous of the attention she received as a child when she was sick. Her disabilities were downplayed however; just part of the normal list of strengths and weaknesses we all have. Amy and I compared ourselves as equals, even if we were physically different.

In my experience, twins have a hard enough time embracing their own identity as individuals. Occasionally, we'd even receive one Birthday present from a misguided friend- as though we were one person, and our interests the same! I would rather NOT be treated the same, but respected and understood as my own unique self. It has made me more capable of supporting her emotionally and physically over the years. I also have come to realize that though we're twins, our lives are intertwined but not co-dependent. We are entitled to our own successes and failures, independent of each other. It's so important to learn this when you have a disabled sibling; you can respect them for who they are without feeling guilty for them not being the same as you are... that 'survivor's guilt' can be very painful. She can be proud of herself as an individual, rather than hate me forever for being spared. Our paths can be alongside each other, but they don't have to be the same exact road.

Obviously, life is a work in progress, but we do our best. I would stress how your children are both uniquely gifted in their own special ways. Just because they're twins, they don't need to be exactly the same- they're sisters first!

Lindy - posted on 07/01/2013

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I have twin girls of 7 years old. They have started their first year of school and now I have to move the one to a special needs school. My heart is breaking, them being apart. I have always been aware that she was "different" to her sister, from birth they said there was something wrong with her, but all the genetic testing and scans could reveal no answers or definate diagnosis.

I have brought her up the same as her sister, never made her feel different, but now the other kids are noticing her physical differences (her head is slightly bigger for her body than normal) and they tease her and her sister get highly irritated with her because she doesnt grasp concepts at all.

I am also at a loss. How do I explain to the twin that her sister has specail needs?

Sarah - posted on 01/19/2013

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I am not a mother, but I do have a fraternal twin brother. We are both 18 years old and I came across this when I was looking up how my brother can be so completely different than me. Growing up I had always been smarter and more social than him. I always made straight A's while he failed almost every class. In high school we found out he had ADD and then after graduating high school I went on and left home to attend college and I am being very successful there while he is still living at home. He first attended the community college where we live but failed out of all his classes and is currently doing absolutely nothing with no job or no education. He refuses to do anything and recently he has been diagnosed as bipolar. It has been extremely difficult on my mom and it also pains me knowing that I am out there being successful, making new friends, and earning a degree while my brother is literally doing nothing. He just sits at home all day and usually never leaves the house. I question myself everyday why I got to be born as the "normal" twin and how he got stuck living everyday with struggles and sadness.

Sherry - posted on 06/16/2012

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I don't have twins but my 8yr old is having the same problems, his school has put him in interchange for kids with behavorial and anger issues, he is border line MR, with adhd, odd, and he is in IEP, but he only recieves150.00 minutes a week of special education, Prestera has had me to sign him up for SSI, and a Child Advociate, Hopefully this will help him achieve the help he needs. Kids make fun of my son to, he even has to set alone in his classroom, because his teachers don't want to deal with him. I feel what ur going through. my email address is skbsassy0630@hotmail.com.

Donelle - posted on 03/08/2011

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Cathy, Have you talked to the teachers about the picking on your son by the other kids? Maybe they could have a little class assembly and discuss how this makes a person feel even with a disability or not. I wish some parents would take more time into explaining to their kids that everyone has feelings and although we may not get a long doesn't mean we have to be mean. Since your son to me sounds like he has a hard time communicating you need to be the advocate for your son and explain to the teachers or principal or whoever will listen to you and say, " I am trying to give my son a good life and be the best he can be. However, he can't succeed in an environment where he is getting bullied or teased, How can we come to an agreement on a plan to help him, because we do have the no Child Left Behind law now." Just an idea, that is what I would say but you need to stay calm and even throw in there that I am not only concerned for my child but what about the other kids. I want a good learning environment for him and to be treated equally. You have rights my dear stick up for your son. Let me know how it goes. Chin up and be strong for your son. God bless you

Cathy - posted on 03/08/2011

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I have a set of twins one is fine but the other has asperger autusim,adhd,and mental impaired due to his speach. It's very rough, I understand , mine also has occupational therpy @ school. and kids are mean they pick on him and that makes me sooooooooooooooo mad.

Karlene - posted on 02/23/2011

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I have 2 and a half year old fraternal twin boys, 1 was diagnosed with Mild CP at 10 months(Ethan). He had a seisure on the second day of life but then seemed fine; hit milestones about a week after his brother(Owen). Then he stopped sitting up so a follow up appt to the neorologist and an MRI showed brain damage in the speech part of his brain leading to our diagnosis of CP. He is very mild affecting the right side of his body and his speech. Owen is speech delayed as well but is starting to pick up. I am sure it is going to get more difficult as they develope and Ethan gets farther and farther behind. They are both extreamly smart but the verbal communication is no where near where it should be. We can only clearly understand about 10 words Owen says and only a few Ethan says. I am afraid as well once Ethan starts school he will get picked on but Owen is enough of a bully I know he will stick up for him.

Chelle - posted on 02/22/2011

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Hi Donella I will keep you posted for sure it will be interesting to see what the neurologist says and it is hopeful :) I really feel for any one having to or that are going through trying to get a child diagonsed what a time consuming process not to mention stressful thank you for the support :) cheers Chelle

Carma - posted on 02/22/2011

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I have 2 year old b/g twins, my son at 8 months was diagnosed with cerebral palsey. However my daughter right now starting to realize that he cannot play the same as her. She calls him her baby. He is not talking but does say mama and baba. He is just now trying to walk. He never did try to crawl. He will be attending a school for impaired children this coming fall. She is going to attend a normal school. It is hard but I wouldn't change a thing about my son.

Donelle - posted on 02/22/2011

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Chelle, Keep up the chin up and stay strong. It is encouraging news that Jay has a good possibility that he may get caught up with his peers. It is a long road but patience is a virtue. You will have a lot of bumps in the road but in the end at least you know that you have done your best. I wish you luck and keep us posted on the nurologist appt.
Donelle

Chelle - posted on 02/21/2011

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Hi Lesa just got back from seeing the peadatrician and he said he isnt prepaired to try and give Jay a diagonisis instead he is referring us to a peadatric nurologist he said in all his 10 yrs of practicing he has only ever seen 2 other children with similar issues he is hopeful that he will get better with time paitience and alot of Ot and speech appointments so thats some thing to look forward to but he will not rule out CP or Autisum he said he is very unique so now we will wait until for the referral to be recieved and an appointment given so I think we still have a long road ahead :) cheers Chelle

Ann - posted on 02/21/2011

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you are not alone. Although my twins medical differences are more physical and I don't think will be an issue as they grow up. I do have an Autistic child 16 months apart from the twins. I'm sure it will play a bigger role. With all the issues of Preemies followed by my son's diagnosis I felt very alone. Once I finally went to an autism support meeting... Half the room had twins!! Of those with twins I believe half had a twin on the spectrum.... Not so alone in the overwhelmed alone feeling. It does mean I am (or they are) usually too busy to connect to those in the same boat. But it is nice to know there are other mom's who can relate and can be supportive out there.

Paula - posted on 02/20/2011

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our twins are adopted, they have Fetal alcohol syndrome, thier behaviors are much like 3 yr olds tantrums fits, but their intelligence is normal for the most part. any disability with a child causes stress and strain on a family.. our twins are now 7 , they have been with us since they were 11mos. old, we just get through second to second.. we are homeschooling now because the counselor at our school thought my son was haveing behavior issues she could "break" and she had him restrained in a closet that did not go well at all so for his safety we keep them at home

Jaclyn - posted on 02/20/2011

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my twins are only 18 months, one has a heart defect while the other has nothing. my son with the defect was in hospital for 5 months after birth and on a feeding tube up to a few weeks ago. he gets all sorts of attention with everyone wanting to know how he is, while my daughter gets nothing. im sure they dont notice it yet but eventually they will. i hope i can fix the problem before they get too old. everyone on here is so helpful in their comments. i hope you all get the help you need and your children dont get to fustrated.

Carlene - posted on 02/19/2011

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Can TOTALLY relate. my son either has Autism or Cerebral Palsy or both. the 7 stupid specialists can't figure out which one it is and it's making me mad. if it's both, it's both, whatever... but it makes my daughter, maria mad because CJ gets so much special attention. they will be 3 in april. I'm just so irritated with the entire mess. It has been a night mare potty training!!! So i will pray for you sweetie and we will c where this leads us:))

Donelle - posted on 02/18/2011

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Lesa I have never waited for the school to do their thing. I always go out on my own to find the help brooke needs. I hope you find one sooner than I can. By the way we go to Iowa City for her. Everyone else in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids area is full. Careful what some of them say if they are more interested in trying to make them normal find a new one right away. Learned the hard way. Keep me updated and your kiddos are soo precious. Stay strong and remember you are never alone.

Lesa - posted on 02/18/2011

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Thanks for writing ladies. Every little bit of support helps. Last night my husband and I talked and I am thinking of taking Draven to a professional counselor to help him as well as help me deal with his special needs. I am not happy with how long it's taking his school to decide if he gets ADD professional testing. If he has ADD, I want him to get the help he needs now, so he can start having more success in school and just feel better about himself. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and leave suggestions. Angela, please add me to your facebook. I have some poems in my notes you make like about special needs children. :-)

Chelle - posted on 02/18/2011

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Thank you Donelle for the advice and will defiantly post with updates :) good luck with getting the camera's for the buses what a fantastic idea cheers Chelle

Donelle - posted on 02/18/2011

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Thanks Angela and as for the school I have already filed a complaint the day it happened and the childs parents have been notified. I even told them that I would be an advocate to help raise money in the community to install proper cameras on all the buses for its not only going to help my child but other children as well.Brody is very lucky to have such good friends who help watch out for his best interests. God Bless you all!

Chelle - posted on 02/17/2011

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Your welcome and Thank you for posting will let you know how we go we are hoping to get a maybe more formal diagnosis when we see our paediatrician again in 4 days time but not holding our breath lol fingers crossed :) and we are just taking one day at a time :)

Lesa - posted on 02/17/2011

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Yes, Chelle that's the way it was with my twins. But Draven kept getting one diagnosis after another. Looks like ADD may be his next one. Thank you for writing and I hope all goes smoothly for your little boy.

Chelle - posted on 02/17/2011

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Hi We are just going through the process of getting diognosed one of our 1 yr old twin has a few issues going on and it looks or is classed under Cerebral Palsy but the differences in them are hugh especially hitting milestones its not to bad yet but am sure its going to get alot worse... good luck cheers Chelle :)

Lesa - posted on 02/17/2011

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Thank you Donelle. Your message was very inspiring. I would like to talk to you :) I will try to add you to my facebook.

Donelle - posted on 02/17/2011

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I can relate on how it is difficult for you. I have a daughter who is 13 and has and had developmental delays and has Mild MR. Her sister is 3yrs older and my twins are 10yrs younger. She gets picked on daily at school and it upsets her oldest sister to the point she made Brooke (13) ride home with her instead of the bus the day after another kid popped her valentines day balloon and dumped her flowers over. It breaks my heart as well to see her come home crying after the bus and she has a hard time letting go of the bad things. She is on antidepressants and we are waiting to get her into a psychologist to get her meds worked out to the point of helping but we have to wait until May. My twins go to daycare with a child that has mental retardation and when kids pick on him they are the first ones to say leave him alone hes our friend don't be mean to him thats not nice. As I say to my daughter, God has big plans for you in life and other kids don't understand that he made you the way you are for a reason. A good book to read is Retarded Isn't Stupid, Mom by Sandra Kaufman. It was published and revised in 1999. I have gained hope from this book and put me into perspective of what my daughter was going through and she did tell me when she turned 10 Im not stupid mom. Which I never told her she was but I guess its in the back of their head. I hope this helps you and if you ever need a person to talk to you can message me on facebook.

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