Twins Who Share a Diagnosis of Autism, 2 Years Later

Two years ago, Ilene Krom wrote a GoodyBlog post about her twins and their shared autism diagnosis. Today, she is back to give an update on Rachel and Simon, now 6 years old, and what has changed for their family since she last wrote for us.

Twins Rachel and SimonIt has been two years since I’ve written something here, and so much has changed. And yet, so much has remained the same. My twins are still as different as night and day, even though they both have the same multiple diagnoses.

What hasn’t changed is my worry about their future, although that worry has changed shape. Two years ago, their “future” was entering kindergarten. I couldn’t bring myself to look too far ahead (I still can’t). I couldn’t imagine they would ever be ready for the experience that their older brother was already going through. But now, they are 6 years old. They are kindergarteners, and they’ve been handling the new change quite well.

All thanks to early intervention.

Like most things, the earlier you are aware of a problem, the better off you are. Thanks to specialized preschools, they are both on academic tracks. My daughter is in a general education classroom, alongside her typical peers. She is slowly learning to make friends and play with toys in appropriate ways. She has someone helping her get through her day and stay on task. And my son is right next door. He’s in a more specialized classroom where they can address his needs better, but he is still working towards a college-bound high school diploma, my original target for them both.

However, they do stick out a bit. My daughter does things “different” from her classmates. They’ve asked me directly why she is so “strange” (in the innocent way that kindergarteners ask questions). My son still looks like he doesn’t fit in, nor does he have a desire to make friends. This makes them both bullying targets. And every day, I read more stories on the Internet about children on the spectrum being bullied — by their classmates or so-called “friends,” by bus drivers, and even by teachers. I am very comfortable with our situation in elementary school, but what happens as they grow?

I don’t want my kids to conform. I want them to embrace their individuality, but I don’t want to see them chastised for being who they are. And, as they grow, the need to “fit in” will grow, too.

I can’t foresee what their future holds, but they will always know that they are loved, with all of their parents’ and older brother’s hearts. And hopefully they will have the inner strength to brush off anything negative that others may try to push onto them.

Read more from Ilene on her blog My Family’s Experience With Autism.

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