Voices of Autism: Twins Who Share a Diagnosis

Every day throughout April–Autism Awareness Month–we will be featuring a different reader-submitted story about living with autism. Today’s story was written by Ilene Krom, mother of Rachel and Simon, 4, and author of the blog My Family’s Experience With Autism.

krom2I have three wonderful children, including a set of twins.  My singleton son will be 6 in April, and the twins are 4.  The twins, a boy and a girl, are beautiful, smart, and have autism.

They share a diagnosis–classic autism–but that’s about all that they share when it comes to autism.  They present completely differently.  They are both quite verbal, but one is very echolailic (he repeats things exactly the way he’s heard it in the past).  It wasn’t until about a year ago that we really saw true comprehension in what he would say.  My daughter has a photographic memory.  She can recite the alphabet forwards and backwards without blinking an eye. 

They can both read “sight words.” They can count to 100 in ones and twos.  My son is learning to play the piano.  My daughter loves to dance.  My daughter can see a stack of items and know exactly how many there are.  Like I said, they are smart.  But they have their “quirks.”  We live by the daily routines.  The slightest alteration to these routines causes their universe to come crashing down.  Crowds cause them anxiety.  They need to know exactly what’s going to happen before trying anything new. 

Autism affects every aspect of my family’s life.  We have to think about it every time we leave the house and make sure we have everything we can possibly have to address the meltdowns that may occur.  And as Mom, I’ve become obsessed with finding ways to help them and ways to help ensure they can live normal and productive lives.  But, above all, they are children.  They are my children.  And I love them as much as my neurotypical son and more than life itself.


To read previous stories in this series, click here. For instructions on how to submit your story, click here.

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  1. by Alysia

    On April 12, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Thank you for sharing your story of your twins. I know by reading your blog that you are a dedicated and caring mom and would do anything for all your kids. I’m glad you shared here as well.

  2. by Lynn

    On April 12, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I always tell people that one of the biggest misconceptions about autism is that the kids are all alike and present in the same way. And actually it was one of my biggest surprises as a parent because I shared the same misconception until I had an ASD child of my own. So fascinating that even TWINS are completely different…that definitely proves it!

  3. by Spectrummy Mummy

    On April 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story here. Yes, you can really see the incredible diversity of autism when twins present so differently. It is fascinating! Good luck to your gorgeous family.

  4. by Ilene

    On April 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks to everyone who read this and commented. Dealing with the differences between them was probably the hardest thing for me in this whole process. We are now just over 2 years since learning they were both on the spectrum and they are each in different programs to address their individual needs.

  5. by Heather Price

    On April 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Ilene you know that we’ve known for years that our boy twin has classic autism and that we’re struggling with a diagnosis for his twin sister— it’s been hypotonia and a speech delay– then the behaviors started and all the sensory stuff so the neurologist ruled out adhd and is now putting her through the tests for petit mal seizures— if it’s not seizures, we may go the asd route and see if she qualifies as pdd-nos…. it’s STRANGE to have not only 2 children from the same family, but twins who both have special needs but the presentation is so wildly different. And to have one diagnosis be so simple and one be so hard is funky too. hey, congrats on being published— we LOVE parents magazine! I say we because once I’m done with it the twins like to look through it. :)

  6. by Barbara Manatee

    On April 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I am a teacher for kids with Autism. I was blessed to have been a part of one family’s journey raising 4 daughters on the spectrum. (twins + 2 other girls). The parents were given little hope when they were all diagnosed. Well, the twins are now 18. 1 has her driver’s license and the other plans to go to community college next year. The 17 year old is sophomore in HS and doing well. Their youngest, 15 year old is still in a program for kids with Autism but she has still made amazing progress over the years. All 4 are still very clearly on the spectrum. The older 3 recognize that their younger sister has Autism and that they do, too…but they’ll often say things like “remember when we used to go to this school? When we were autistic?” hehe…

    April is Autism Awareness Month. I’m dedicating my blog all month long to Autism.

  7. by Alex Lowery

    On April 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Great article, I hope your sons improve I was told I had Classic Autism at four. I still have autism but I have improved .