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Curtin University of Technology
Twins and Multiples

What would you do?

Below are several scenarios which present issues often faced by multiples, their families, or there teachers. They are included as topics for open discussion or workshops to see what solutions can be found for the issues.

"The policy in our education area is that all children start school in the year they turn five. Not only would my triplets be among the youngest in the class, they were born at 29 weeks. Thankfully they do not have any disability, but they are still small and they are still catching-up in their language and motor development. The preschool says they cannot stay there any longer-especially as they take-up three places! Neither the preschool nor the school seem to listen when I say that if they had been born when they should have been, they would not be five till the next year. I feel I'm being treated like some neurotic mum, who does not want to let go of her babies, so they can start at school."

What advice would you give this family?

Michael and John are identical twin boys just about to start school. They have poorly developed speech and language and have had few experiences of separation prior to starting school. They have had limited pre-school experience (playgroup together two mornings per week). They are very hyperactive combining to be disruptive, frequently damaging toys and property.

What strategies would you use to meet their needs?

Sharon, David and Tom are triplets now aged eight. Tom has always been the smallest, who spent longer in hospital after they were born and Mum is especially protective of him. Sharon and David are doing well in class, at sport and have lots of friends. Tom is not doing well at school and is becoming very moody and irritable. He does not want to go to school or do "anything". Mum says she wishes there was just one thing Tom could do as well or better than the others.

What can the parents and school do?

John is 16. His twin brother Alan has Cerebral Palsy and is at the same school. Alan can get around OK but his language and his upper body skills are not great, so firstly he is not doing so well academically and secondly he is conspicuous. John is getting resentful. Apart from the jokes about his brother, John is sure Alan is the reason why he does not have a girlfriend, while most of his friends do. He is talking of dropping out of school and leaving home.

(i) what could have been done earlier, that would have made things better for John now?

(ii) what can happen at home and at school now to make things better for both John and Alan?

(iii) would the situation be different if Alan had had ADHD rather than Cerebral Palsy?