Looking for Opinions from Those with Twin Experience

     I have a set of identical twins (boys) in my 2 year old classroom. They had a nanny for nearly 6 months; the nanny (my former co worker) ended up walking out on the family after MB brought up some issues she was having with the nanny. The twins started in my classroom at 21 months of age, and it was rough at first, but they have made wonderful changes in the last six months they have been with me. They have April birthdays, and it's clear they are somewhat behind in development; to my knowledge, their old nanny didn't work with them on anything-when they first got to me, I had to show them how to use utensils and drink from an open cup, plus how to clean up, etc. They had minimal verbal skills as expected, and those are slowly increasing. What I am concerned about is their hearing and speech, as they drool moreso than the rest of my class and are having issues listening:

     A few weeks ago, we noticed an issue when it was time to clean up the playground and come inside. We give a five minute warning, then two minutes before clean up. We (my co teacher and I) asked the boys to clean up, and they ran away laughing. We asked them again, and they hid under the climber. This went on due to the older kids in my class (close to 3) doing the behavior. When they transitioned to the 3 year old room, the twins got better, but now they laugh at us when we ask them to clean up, or they smile and will just sit there. Now we guide them into what needs to be cleaned up and to the shape rope. Problem solved there.
Michael Foulkrod

     Other things we noticed are the fact that we call them to the bathroom for diaper change and they act like they can't hear us. Today I had to get M after calling him several times for a diaper change. If we get on their level and explain why they shouldn't do something, they laugh at us when we are being serious. It's like they aren't processing what we are saying to/asking of them and it's like a blank stare. Yesterday, they were playing in centers instead of sitting on the carpet, after being asked to sit on the carpet, verbally reminded to sit on the carpet and shown a picture schedule, which lists center time after coming back in from outside. Our schedule is table time, breakfast, diapers, music movement, group time, handwriting/fine motor, outside. Then comes center time. They heard me ask them to sit on the carpet, they saw me point to the schedule, and they ignored me, as usual. I finally had to bring them to the carpet and make them sit down. A different director believes I shouldn't have them sit and participate in group time, (she thinks I should let them wander and play) because they have no interest in it, and I believe it's unfair to the other kids who have to sit for group time.

     Another thing is separation anxiety: A has to be carried into school by MB, or he won't come in at all. A week or so ago, she was trying to leave after putting M at the table with a puzzle, and M slapped her three times because he was angry with her leaving. They cry for 5-10 minutes after she leaves, and it's difficult to get them seated at the table, because they are both screaming and running for the door to chase after her. I'm seriously tempted to leave them laying on the floor to cry it out. but I also don't know if that's the right thing to do.

     There was one day when one of them was home sick, and the listening was different. When they are together, we feel they don't listen well, and we are thinking that if they were split into two different rooms, the listening would be better. We've talked to M and DB, but they are just like "oh, ok."

     I'm going to ask my boss to come in and observe next week. It's typcial 2 behavior, but it's like talking to a brick wall.


Anonymous said...

Letting the m cry it out is absolutely the right thing to do IME. I feel you as re coddling them too much and not enough convo with parents on how to help them. I read no discipline in your statement, no consequence for not participating in cleanup and hygeine..of course they are going to laugh and ignore. They should be getting time outs, loss of play and loss of participating in an activity they want to do. You're headed in the right direction but they need to be shown that their behavior is unacceptable and the results for such behavior. Stop guiding so much. Ask, then down on their level and explain with the resulting consequence that will happen if they don't. If they still dont follow through, take action. Then later explain why that action happened and what they need to do. Then move on. After about a week of this, you should start to see some improvement.

I read no special needs just poor parenting. If you can, ask the mom to hire someone to be in class with them to be one-on-two for about a week...Someone that has experience in these things. If I was near you (I'm in CT), I'd offer - this is my niche as a nanny.


Anonymous said...

If they haven't been worked with, some of this is understandable. But you said that they had their nanny for six months. What was the situation before that?

I nannied for two sets of twins (different families) and found that both were language delayed because they had a special language between then and didn't need as much external interaction. I have a BA in ECE and taught at the early primary age for 7 years prior to my nanny experience. I worked with both sets of twins daily and it just took them longer, but there were no issues.

Also, there are two different types of communication: receptive vs. expressive. Usually receptive develops first but not always. Are they able to speak at all? Do their words sound garbled or muttered?

The state can do a language assessment (free) and language therapy (also free). You should have that contact information and be able to provide it to the parents. Don't just tell them there is a problem and offer no assistance with the solution.

Finally, what does their pediatrician say? They are usually good at identifying issues if the parents are honest with them; even if they aren't honest, most pediatricians can still spot significant delays that warrant further investigation.

It sounds as if there could possibly be some expressive language delay, but it might not be serious enough for intervention. One of the sets of twins ended up not speaking hardly anything until 2.5 years and had started the testing process. Then they started talking one day: full sentences. They are 8 years old today. I keep in touch with the family and know they are perfectly normal and doing well in school.

As for the separation anxiety. Normal. I am honestly a little surprised you have not dealt with this before. Someone should take the twins at the door from the Mom. She should be ready to leave immediately (no lingering) and needs to walk away. When you discuss this with her, let her know that they always stop crying within 5-10 minutes and that it is perfectly NORMAL at this age. Then add in that she is possibly making it worse by sticking around. Then, ignore the behavior as much is possible (and safe). When they have stopped crying, reward them with one of their favorite actives and "oh my stars, we are so glad Twin A and Twin B are here today to play and sing and learn with us".

I would wait until the separation anxiety is under control (it takes most kiddos around 3-5 days) before tackling the behavior issues. Or some kids will have it for longer, which means after giving it a good try, you get started with working on the behavioral issues. Where there are language issues or not, there still needs to be firm, immediate consequences for negative behavior. Again, this should already be outlined for you. Timeouts, not being able to participate in the next activity for a few minutes, etc.

I do not mean this in any way to be condescending or rude, but it sounds as if you are fairly new in your childcare journey. Most of what you described is normal behavior for their age. I wonder if you would feel more confident if you took some ECE classes at your local community college. This might make you feel more equipped to handle the normal (and not so normal) issues that most children have. What I do want to especially commend you on is the care, compassion, and concern you have for these children and their family. Please don't lose that as you gain confidence and experience. It is honestly more valuable and harder to find. True love of children and the desire to help them grow and learn cannot he taught.

Shannon said...

I'm a multiples nanny. Multiples generally have some level of speech delay. Twins and triplets develop their own language, so if parents and caregivers aren't consistent, they can fall behind. Also, multiples are usually born prematurely so their age has to be adjusted when it comes to developmental milestones.

These kids need Early Intervention if your center isn't equipped to deal with them. They need discipline, structure and more importantly consequences. Separation Anxiety is very normal. Let them cry it out. As to the other stuff, they need consequences for disobeying their teacher. What are you doing to avoid further disruption? It isn't fair to the other kids that these guys get away with so much.

RBTC said...

I hope the parents respect all you guys as you are going way over and beyond what you are being paid for

this_nick said...

The nanny didn't work with them on anything? How about, you know - the parents?? If none of these things were worked on with them it seems to indicate some rather clueless parenting. I agree with the other comments -- these are not odd behaviors, certainly not twin specific. That said, having a sibling there does seem to encourage their tendency to ignore your instructions. Separate them (assuming you have separate classes on the same schedule); there's no need to make it optional for the parents. Once they're alone in their behavior within the classroom, they're more likely to conform to what the other kids are doing.

this_nick said...

Of course it is!