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Twins SEN issue

(10 Posts)
rebl Sun 07-Aug-11 18:53:51

We have Dtwins (5). The gap of expectations of the 2 of them are getting wide enough now that dd is noticing and we're just not handling it well. DD is NT, DS has severe behaviour issues, deaf, rare gastric problems. Recently we've had CAMHS involvment with DS's behaviour and we are doing what they say to the letter. So only working on 1 behaviour with rewards and all others are ignored or if very bad then time out. So at the moment he gets a sticker in his cars pixar sticker book if he can play with dd for 10 mins without hitting her. If he manages it then LOTS of praise, big fuss and a sticker etc. But the ignoring other minor things (like eating with fingers instead of cutlery, chewing his toys etc) is causing a problem with dd. Her behaviour has really deterioated. She's copying him in most things now and then says, for example "if I can eat my dinner with my cutlery can I have a sticker?". Well, no you can't you've been doing that for years. She does get stickers in her book for not arguing with me/dh and not picking her nose! So its not like she doesn't get a chance to get stickers.

Then over our one week holiday we were doing scrap books. Our expectations for ds was just to draw a picture every day of something that he liked. For dd our expectation was to draw a picture and write a sentance. This was easy for dd but just to get ds put pen to paper is a challenge. So it gets to the point that dd won't write because ds doesn't have to. DD can read WELL above her age, ds can't read at all. DD now won't read because ds doesn't do it. There are a number of examples, I could go on and on, you get the gist I hope.

She doesn't see that he's different, just see's him as naughty. We can't very well turn round and say that she has to do stuff because she's older or whatever. How do others deal with this?

unpa1dcar3r Sun 07-Aug-11 19:01:58

"if I can eat my dinner with my cutlery can I have a sticker?".

Why can't she have a sticker Rebl? It would help in 2 ways I think. First that she is also getting a small reward and secondly that her brother might copy her instead of her copying him.
With the writing and picture thing, I'd say i think that if she does both she gets a sticker but as her brother isn't as forward as her he gets one for drawing a picture only and perhaps she can help him or something to encourage both of them to work together IYSWIM. She will feel more important and that she is helping and that her good work (although easy for her) is not going unnoticed either.
Loads of praise of both of them for whatever they do. If she uses her cutlery praise her (even though she's been doing it for years!)
I kind of see where you're coming from though but perhaps she's feeling a little put out that, in her eyes, her bro doesn't have to do as much to get rewards- she's too little to understand the complexities of his disabilities I expect.
I hope that makes sense!

rebl Sun 07-Aug-11 22:12:12

Well yes we could give her sticker for that but quite honestly she'd be getting way too many today if we gave her a sticker everytime she went to the toilet or everytime she used some cutlery or everytime she draws on paper on the furniture, etc. She is totally copying ds a lot. I think she thinks its not fair so she's behaving like him because she thinks its acceptable, which obviously it isn't. Makes me think that ds is thinking this behaviour is acceptable but its what CAMHS have told us to do.

baboos Sun 07-Aug-11 23:22:12

I do feel for you, I have been having similar issues with my twin sons (3.5, one is being assessed for asd), my nt son has started to copy his sn brother's behaviour, I suppose as he see's his brother get all of mums attention ( we try to ignore,but when he puts himself in danger, hard to). It really is difficult when they are exactly the same age.

The situation has improved for us somewhat since I decided to praise NT son, just as much as SN son, and be completely consistent with how I deal with unacceptable behaviour from both........this makes for a very long tiring day, especially since sn son, is running up and down stairs most nights until 10ish, (nt son shares a room, and sleeps soudly through this) and is up by 5am most mornings, but it is starting to show results with nt son and he is copying less so, early days yet though.

DeWe Mon 08-Aug-11 00:10:15

I'd do some sticker chart for your dd too. It's partually an attention thing.

Work out something she needs to do to get stickers. I think giving a sticker for using cutlery wouldn't be unreasonable, because it's only 3 times a day and it can still be a hassle for a 5yo to use them, and easier to use fingers.

Wouldn't go for the sticker for going to the toilet for that age, but maybe she forgets to flush the toilet sometimes, or maybe she bites her nails (my dd does) or a sticker for putting her clothes in the wash basket. It doesn't have to be something she finds hard, just something that a little bit of praise helps her to remember.

She's still quite little at 5yo to realise that he isn't naughty, my (nt) 10yo would get that it wasn't naughiness but would still be a bit resentful if they were getting something for, from her perspective, effectively doing things they shouldn't be.

kissingfrogs Mon 08-Aug-11 00:39:56

I would like to add that the replies echo what I would say. Treat both as equally as possible. Also encourage dd to be a role model/teacher for her brother.

I have 15 months between my 2. My youngest had behavioural problems which were in her particular case down to communication difficulties due to her deafness and language difficulties. She was a hitter too. I did the ignoring of the minor things and heaping praise on any little thing that was good and it did work really well with her - it helped lead the way to better behaviour and got her out of the cycle of tantruming and hitting. The same rules applied to my older dd. It did help though that as she was older I could use the age thing to encourage her to help/model for her younger sis.

As a twin myself I empathise with the copying of behaviour. Like the above posters have said: equality & consistancy. Especially equality.

tabulahrasa Mon 08-Aug-11 10:41:49

I'm going to be awkward and say don't give her stickers for things she can already do...

I'd explain to her that the stickers aren't just for doing things, but for doing things that they're learning to do - because they can do different things that means they get stickers for doing different things.

To me treating my DC as equal doesn't mean that they're the same, if I rewarded DD for things she can do and DS can't that's not equality at all - that's setting DS up to feel like he's not acheiving the same as his sister.

beautifulgirls Tue 09-Aug-11 10:51:53

How about and ink stamper rather than stickers? That way she can see something on a reward chart but it doesn't have to cost you a fortune in stickers. Another option is to draw a smiley face or let the child do it themselves.

Personally I would go with the reward your daughter too option. She is being good and has noticed she is not getting the level of attention your son gets. Put yourself in her shoes aged 5 and you can understand where she is coming from.

zzzzz Tue 09-Aug-11 12:11:04

I think you have to reassess how you are thinking about them. I have 5 children 3 and 4 are twin boys one with a severe language disorder and behavioural problems. It is very common in the UK to expect behaviour to be linked to certain ages, for instance there area endless threads on mn saying words to the effect of "my daughter is 2.9 and still in nappies is this ok?", it is total rubbish. Now "my daughter can understand that she is wet but is still in nappies is that ok?" is an intellegent question. Forget age. Forget it now and don't pass that on to your kids.

You hit this instantly if you have twins. I remember a VERY wise and kind twin Mum who also has twins [but hers are identical boys], saying "zzzzz You have to accept that if you have 2 people one is always going to be smarter, faster, better looking than the other. Your job as a Mum is to make that ok.". This is the issue you are hitting. The fact that your ds is not nt is making it more obvious but it is the same issue.

So how do you make it ok?

I never talk about who is the oldest. I always match jobs to the ability of the child [ie dd1 and dd2 can empty the dishwasher, ds1 can sort eh spoons and forks into the draw and ds3 can sweep the floor, dd3 is still silly so she is in charge of pushing in the chairs]. Personally I don't do stickers, I do often phone Daddy at work to tell him of someones excellent pooing/tidying/braveness, and he always either speaks to them there and then or remembers to swing them in the air when he gets home. Same as you would with any more than 1 child situation.

I do occasionally get [and I mean very occasionally] one child saying it is unfair, in which case we talk about it. If it is they are given the opportunity to have it put right/fix it. They totally "get" that ds1 finds it harder to do stuff and they see the fairness of the situation.

So for the reading, perhaps people who read get to sit on your lap and maybe make a snack for themselves and their brother afterwards. Perhaps people who don't read could look at a book with you at different time. Try not to say anyone is naughty because it is naughty for one to poor water on the floor when they put their cup away, but fabulous for the other to have tried to put the cup away. Instead say something like "Oh you can do much better than that", if you get "but ds did it and didn't get told off", say "I wasn't telling you off, but you can do it, I have always thought you were a particularly neat cup empty-er"......"I'm so proud of the way you do things little girl, ds is really trying to learn how to do it too, lets help him."

I think it is good and healthy for children to help each other weather they are twins or not. If ds was a couple of years younger she would be just as frustrated and you would feel perfectly happy to ask her to make allowances.

It is hard having 2 so different, and boys and girls are different on top of that. It is a more challengeing situation than most of your friends will be faceing, but that doesn't mean you won't be brilliant at it.

anonandlikeit Tue 09-Aug-11 15:57:54

i think i'd give the stickers to your dd but thn have some other extra reward system for her when she does something really good. That way the stickers will become less significant for her but she wont feel she is being treated harshly either.
It is tough being the able sibling, especially when thye are young & don't really get it. Even my eleven yr old moans that he feels we expect more of him that his brother & he is old enough to understand.

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