Raising disabled twins – there are many families out there who may be experiencing this.
The risk of having a twin child with a disability is much higher than for pregnancies with just one baby. Some of this higher risk is due to the higher risk of prematurity and some because of the risks associated with sharing a womb. Sometimes things go wrong during labor and delivery, and sometimes disabilities are inherited or even environmental.
Both twins may have the same disability or one may be healthy and one may have the disability. Or maybe each twin has a different disability or varying degrees of the same one. Regardless of the dynamics, if you are a parent raising disabled twins, the stresses are very real as you try to cope.
Some disabilities show up at birth and others over time. As parents, if you feel intuitively that something is not quite right with your child – be sure to share this with their pediatrician. It is vital that parents find resources and support to help cope and educate themselves on the particular disability. Great sources of information include national organizations and local multiple birth groups.
Raising disabled twins – when one twin is healthy
When one child is healthy while the other suffers with a disability , it affects the whole family – especially the healthy twin. Young children may have a hard time understanding why their twin needs to spend more time in the hospital , away from them and their family. They may not understand the attention needed and medical equipment necessary. They may feel to blame or they may worry that they will ‘catch’ the disability as well. They may also feel guilty as they grow up that they are the healthy one.
While parenting twins is always challenging, raising disabled twins is even more so. Each milestone may be reached at very different times. It is increasingly harder to not compare the twins as they reach developmental milestones. It is normal to mourn the loss of the ‘perfect’ child that this child may have been.
You will need to learn as much as possible about the specific disability and then pass on that learning to your twins. The special needs child needs to understand her disability and the other child needs to learn what to expect as well. When both children are disabled, they can support each other in this aspect that makes them similar, yet unique.
Children tend to be very accepting and adapt easily. Twins who may have a disability still form a strong attachment to each other and in many ways will ‘look out’ for their sibling. Your twins can thrive if in a family with love , caring, education and acceptance of the differences of their family members.