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What It’s Like to Have a Twin Brother With Special Needs

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Without my brother, Owen, my life would be in black and white. In my house, there are a lot of situations including Owen, but good or bad, they always teach me a little bit about him and myself.

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I love Owen, but sometimes, things can be a little rough. Like the time when we were at my grandfather’s house, Owen ran out the front door. My mother cried and we all searched for my twin brother. When we found him after about five minutes, which felt like much longer, we all ran up to him and that day, my family and I realized what Owen is capable of.

I have many different feelings about Owen. Sometimes, I am jealous that he gets applause when he picks up a fork or when he says a new word. I used to get very jealous because I didn’t understand why he got all the attention and I didn’t. Now, I don’t usually get envious but when I do, it is typically because he gets another aide or he is crying so my parents can’t watch me do flips into the pool.

Overall, I now understand that Owen needs special attention from many people, and I know that my parents love and want to pay attention to me.

Other times, I am worried if he is going to be okay after a trip to the doctors’ office or if he is safe at every moment. Last summer, when the pool cover broke and our pool was wide open, it worried me, because Owen loves water! If he could, he would be in the pool every second. I would stay awake for about an hour each night wondering if he was secure in his bed because I knew that if he could, he would be in the pool.

I get angry when my friends say words like “stupid” or “retarded.” I often stick up for my twin even when he isn’t around. When I hear students on my bus or at school call another kid “retarded,” I speak up and tell them that when they do that they are making fun of people with intellectual disabilities.

The majority of the time, I am happy that Owen is my twin and am grateful to have the experience of learning from someone who has special needs. Loving, silliness and happiness are characteristics that describe my brother. I love that Owen doesn’t have any fear or hate in him. He has taught me to see the best in everyone and appreciate the small things. Owen adds a lot of colors into my life, most of them beautiful and few that are gray.

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Originally published: April 8, 2015
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