Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Casey and Connor: identical twins with Down Syndrome

Casey and Connor

Every day, I review the most recent news about identical twins, hoping to find information that will help us raise our two little miracles in the best possible way.
That's I how I found this story about Casey and Connor, a set of identical toddlers with Down Syndrome.
Like my husband and I, Meghan and Matt Wilkinson had declined all testing when they learned she was pregnant.
They knew they would not terminate the pregnancy should anything go wrong and she was only 29 years old, at low risk for Down Syndrome.
Multiple ultrasounds showed two perfectly healthy boys.
It wasn't until they were born that they learned the news.
In celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I urge you to read this family's blog.
It brought me to tears, which isn't easy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Together in the classroom

So far, so good.
Matthew and Jonathan are attending two different full-day preschools this year.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, they attend a private preschool with a class size of 7 to 13, depending on the day. They go to the public preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays with a total of 16 kids in their classroom and 16 in the other.
The reasons they attend two schools are complicated, but the results are interesting.
Their overall behaviors vary from school to school because of the differences in structure.
But in both schools, the teachers say, they play separately with different friends and come together only when they are tired. They do share friends, but they play with them at different times.
They don't cry when they are dropped off.
They barely say good-bye.
They are comfortable.
They are well-adjusted.
And there is no doubt they are behaving like individuals.
This is important because of all the naysayers, the people who insist that all twins should be separated in school. We are fortunate in that administrators in both schools seem to be firmly against any such blanket policies.
At the public school, which is run by the county's Head Start program, the administrator I spoke with was already aware of the studies that show identical twins generally fare better psychologically and academically when they are place together in the early years.
She believes that most twins should stay together early on unless the parents have a firm opposition to it. So many parents want their kids in classes with their best friends so they will be more comfortable, she noted. Why would it be different for twins who take comfort in each others' company?
At the private school, there is only one classroom, so we had no choice.
No big deal.
No one even brought it up.
We will pay close attention to the Jonathan and Matthew as they move through the levels of elementary school. We will watch for any issues that indicate they need separation and, as they get older, we will ask them at the end of each year what their preferences are for the next year.
But until or unless we see any reason to separate them, we will not.
Why would we?

If you are a twin parent struggling with issues of school placement, check out this site for support and to learn about the laws in your state: http://www.twinslaw.com/.