Making Choices for Twins with Developmental Differences
Written by: Lesa Bricker-Reich
When I first found out in 2002 that I would be having twins, I felt overjoyed and grateful like I had never felt before. I dreamed of how it would be having them in matching twin outfits, taking perfect walks in the park, traveling to visit relatives and everything working in tandem just as planned. I did not know that they would nap at different times, feed at different times and do almost everything at different times. The one thing they both seemed to do together all day at the same time was cry, cry, cry and never, ever sleep.
When my amazing twin boys were born in April 2003, I thought the fairytale had begun. I could never have imagined the journey that was ahead for my husband and me.
As time went on and they began developing physically it seemed that all of the developmental milestones were being missed. We kept asking the questions, “Shouldn’t they be doing this?” We heard the same answer repeated over and over, “They are twins and boys, let’s wait and see.”
Finally at the age of 2 ½ we heard these words from our doctor, “Yes, I also have some concerns for both of them,” and we were handed a card to make an appointment with a neurological pediatrician.
We began the therapeutic services that early intervention had to offer. Both of our children had very different developmental challenges that needed support so for several hours a week our house was turned into a playroom, sensory room and an anything they needed room. Nothing was off limits.
Because of the expense and the lack of insurance participation we had to ask the question, “Who needs the most help?” Most of the time they were in the same social group but we were always concerned that their individual needs were being met and they would maintain their own identity. We were also concerned as to how we, as parents, could learn to nurture their developmental differences? I spent many hours crying and wondering if they were getting their needs met. At the same time we were attending our own therapy sessions to learn how to support our children’s different needs.
Once they had aged out of early intervention, we worried about their needs being met through an IEP placement. We knew that our children were not ready for a large group blended classroom scenario. How could we get their developmental differences met, when they still needed so much?
I have learned a lot about myself on this amazing journey, and I am humbled by the experiences. Whether it is siblings or multiples their needs are always different. As parents we do our best to nurture the needs of the child in the best way we know how. At the end of the day, we had to trust in the deepest part of our souls that we had made the right choices.
My children ended their therapeutic journey after six breathtaking and magical years. Their story is triumphant! We had incredible support from all the therapists and I’m sure angels were sent to us without a doubt. They were always there for us, guiding us in the best direction.
There is nothing I am more proud of in life than my boys. I love them more than every snowflake that is falling from the sky on this very snowy morning as I write this blog.
Every day I am filled with gratitude for all the families and therapists we have met along the way who have helped our family. It is my life’s mission to “pay it forward” and “give back.”
Posted on January 28, 2013 at 8:47 AM