Shannon*, a local mom of twins, has had an uphill battle from the beginning. She and her husband were already raising two other children in addition to their twin girls (Becca and Ann), who are now three. Shannon’s pregnancy was complicated, emotionally and physically, by Velamentous Cord Insertion (you may have to scroll down to find the information about this specific disorder, but the site is too useful to pass up) and later by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. At one point, doctors even told her that Ann would most likely be stillborn. Shannon says, though, "I knew in my heart that she would be fine.”
Fortunately, the doctors were wrong, and both girls were delivered safely. However, as happens so often with multiples, especially those born prematurely, there were challenges still ahead. Both girls have needed services, although Ann has required more than her sister.
There were helmets for plagiocephaly, physical therapy for motor skills, occupational therapy for feeding issues, treatments for sensory processing problems, and speech therapy for verbal apraxia. Then there were relational challenges for Shannon to deal with, as well.
For example, Becca started talking first – almost a full year before Ann. As a result, Becca would often speak on Ann’s behalf, or interpret for her if adults couldn’t understand what Ann was saying. Shannon wanted to encourage this helpfulness without discouraging Ann from learning to speak for herself, so she signed the girls up for separate preschool classes.
Both girls, but Ann especially, have really bloomed in the last year: all the work and worry through all the various treatments have finally started to show some real results. It’s a huge payoff to a mom who has seen her family through so much.
Shannon says the following organizations were hugely beneficial to her family, and she recommends them to anyone who needs similar resources.
• Children’s Hospitals: Follow-up visits for NICU patients can help identify potential developmental issues, and help parents find providers for treatment.
• Kenny Kids (Sister Kenny Institute): Physical and occupational therapies.
• A good pediatrician: Find somebody you trust, who is willing to work with you and your children.
• ECSE: Early Childhood Special Education is part of the ECFE program. Like ECFE, check with your local school district for class offerings. Shannon says their experience with ECSE gave her support and ideas for coping with the challenges of parenting kids with special needs, as well as giving her kids a great education.
*All names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.