30 Faces of Autism – Day 24 | DC Family Photography | Autism Awarness

Siblings of autistic children are seven times more likely to develop autism than those without siblings with autism. This equals out to a 1 in 5, or a 20% chance. When it comes to identical twins, if one twin has autism the other has a 76% chance of also being diagnosed with it compared to a 34% chance with fraternal twins.

America and Starr are 10 years old and in the 4th grade. They are identical twin sisters and also have an older brother, Race, who is 12 years old. They have 11 chickens as pets…one named Fred and 10 of them named Pricilla. They were both diagnosed with autism when they were 3 years old.

America’s greatest strength is her ability to work through a challenging situation, whether it’s jumping off the diving board to reading a book. She has a pattern of exceeding everyone’s expectations. She has low muscle tone and poor coordination so her parents were unsure if she would ever be able to swim, ride a bike, or even run. She is doing all of these things now and more, to include ballet and yoga. She has her own style, and accomplishes things through pure determination.

Starr has come a long way since she was 3 years old. Her parents were worried that she would never be able to talk but now is a real bonafide jabber jaw. She can now ask thoughtful questions, contribute to class discussions, and annoy her brother endlessly about all of her princess dolls. She’s a little comedian.

The girls are definitely their own person. America loves to jump on the trampoline, and Starr loves the tire swing. America doesn’t like ketchup, and Starr doesn’t like mustard. America wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, and Starr wants to be a teacher. America’s favorite animal is a horse, and Starr’s is a dolphin. They have a lot of common interests as well like swimming, yoga, dancing, and their dislike for hot sauce.

America’s greatest struggle is managing her frustration tolerance, which is triggered by something she can’t do, have, or a change of plans. Whereas most kids get disappointed if they are denied something, it can set off a potential meltdown if not handled properly. Her family has learned to communicate in such a way that America is not trapped in a world of “no’s” that provoke anxiety.

Starr still struggles with maintaining her attention to a given task, so she needs an aid in school to keep her focused. Getting ready for school can be a challenge, often being half dressed playing with toys 5 minutes before leaving for school. Starr also does not do well with changes in plans, although is developing coping skills and becoming more flexible. She has good days and bad days and predicting which day it will be has been difficult.

Both girls have gone through a number of treatments and therapies and have seen more doctors than many people see in a lifetime. “Miss America’s” journey is never dull. It has it’s challenges, but also extremely rich rewards. “Super Starr” has continued to improve and her parents are so blessed that her ceiling has not been reach and she has so much more potential.

Please help spread autism awareness and share this post. Check back tomorrow to see pictures and read all about another child.

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