Should I have another child after autistic twins?

Man and woman with hands holding the woman's pregnant belly,  Should I have another child after autistic twins?
Should I have another child after autistic twins?

One question we hear often in our community is whether I should have another child after having autistic twins or triplets. Having a baby is well, having a baby!  We all go into pregnancy not knowing what the outcome is. It’s natural to have mixed feelings, ranging from excitement at the thought of a new baby to concerns about managing additional responsibilities. If you’re thinking about whether it is right to have another child, let’s look at a few ways this might affect your family.

Take time to reflect

Start by taking a good look at your current situation. Parenting autistic twins, triplets or quadruplets is a unique and demanding job. You might wonder if you are ready to add a baby into this mix. It’s important to consider how you are coping with the challenges now. Are you feeling emotionally and physically up to the task of a new baby, or does the idea feel overwhelming? Your support system is also very important to consider. Do you have family members or friends who can lend a hand? What about access to professional resources like therapists or support groups? Knowing you have a strong network can make the idea of a new baby less daunting.

Your personal readiness is a vital part of this decision. Reflect on your desire for another child. Is it something you deeply want, or are there lingering doubts? Think about how another child fits into your long-term vision for your family. Sometimes, talking through these feelings with a partner or a trusted friend can bring clarity.

Is autism hereditary?

Another thing to think about is the genetic aspect of autism – there’s a good chance that another child might also be neurodiverse. This shouldn’t discourage you, but it is something to consider. Genetics do play a significant role in autism, but instead of being caused by a single gene, it’s usually the result of a combination of genetic factors. Research involving twins and families has shown that if one child has autism, there’s a higher chance that their siblings might also be on the spectrum, suggesting a hereditary link.

Think about how a new sibling might impact your twins. Babies bring joy and change in equal measure. How might your twins react to shifts in their routine or sharing your attention with a new sibling? Some children thrive with a new baby brother or sister, while others might struggle with the transition. Consider ways to ease this process. You could involve your twins in the pregnancy and preparations, making them feel included and excited. However, it’s also crucial to prepare for potential challenges and think about strategies to manage any difficulties that arise.

Ultimately, deciding to have another child is a deeply personal journey. It’s about balancing your dreams with practical considerations and the unique dynamics of your family. Trust yourself and your instincts. You’ve navigated the complexities of parenting autistic twins, triplets or quadruplets, and whatever choice you make, you’ll find a way to make it work for your family.

Did you have another child after autistic twins, or are considering it? Share your stories below.

Should my autistic twins share a bedroom?

Boy and girl twins on bed looking at book
How should I decide if my autistic twins should share a room?

Just one or all of your children may be autistic, but how do you decide if your twins should share a bedroom or not? It’s a choice that can shape their daily lives and your family dynamics in many ways.

The joys of sharing

First, let’s talk about the positives. Sharing a bedroom can create a special bond between siblings. Imagine them whispering at bedtime, or giggling under the covers. Often times, twins, triplets or quadruplets do not want to be separated – they’ve been together since day 1! Sharing a room can make them feel safe and secure, especially at night when the world feels a bit bigger and scarier. They might find comfort in being together.

Sharing a room is also good in a practical sense – sometimes you just don’t have any other choice! If your home has limited space, having your twins share a room can free up other areas for play or therapy. It can maximize your living space, making room for other activities or quiet zones.

Some challenges

Of course, sharing a room isn’t always easy. Autistic children often have unique sensory needs and preferences, and what works for one might not work for the other. One child might be sensitive to noise while the other loves to hum or talk themselves to sleep. These differences can lead to sensory overload or sleep disturbances, which can be hard on everyone.

Sleep is another critical factor. If one twin is a light sleeper or has difficulty staying asleep, it could disrupt the other’s rest, leading to tired and cranky mornings. And let’s not forget the need for personal space. Everyone, including children, needs a little privacy and a place to unwind. Sharing a room can sometimes make it hard for your twins or triplets to find that personal bubble.

Image showing boy girl twins reading in bunk beds together.  Click for link to Autistic Twin Bedroom ideas on Pinterest.

Finding a balance

If you decide to go ahead with a shared bedroom, there are ways to make it work smoothly. Creating defined spaces within the room can help. Maybe each child has their own bed nook, complete with their favorite toys and decorations, giving them a sense of ownership and personal space within a shared environment.

Tailoring the sensory environment is crucial too. Think about noise machines, individual reading lights, or blackout curtains to cater to each child’s needs. Small adjustments can make a big difference in creating a space that works for everyone.

Establishing routines is big help – having clear and consistent rules about bedtime, playtime, and personal space can help reduce conflicts and anxiety. A predictable routine can make sharing a room more manageable and pleasant for your children.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what feels right for your family. Pay attention to how your children react respond to sharing a room. Be prepared to adapt and make changes as needed. Remember, flexibility is key—what works today might need to be adjusted tomorrow as your children grow and their needs change. Whether they end up sharing a room or not, the goal is to create a living arrangement that supports their well-being and happiness. You know your kids best!

Do your children share a bedroom? Share your ideas and stories below.

Taking autistic twins on vacation

Twin girls stand on the shore with boats in the distance
Top tips for vacationing with autistic twins

Everyone loves to go on vacation, right?  For autistic twins, triplets or quadruplets, this can be very stressful as it involves a lot of changes and unexpected situations. You’ve probably heard families complain about how their vacation was “ruined” by their autistic child. Rather than taking the time to understand why travel might be hard for them and what accommodations they could make. Even though your autistic child may be excited and looking forward to going on vacation – change is hard. 

Getting ready to go on vacation

One of the best things you can do is plan ahead and depending on your child, you may want to involve them in the planning.  (For some children this would be more stressful and you are better off letting them know a few days ahead of time that you will be travelling.)  Try involving your child by letting them look at pictures of the destination or hotel.  You could even create a social story with pictures printed out of the airport, hotel or other destinations.  Take a look at local restaurants and choose some nearby that have your child’s favourite foods.  We live in the UK and even when travelling in Europe, we always find Italian restaurants with safe foods like pizza or spaghetti luckily!  You may need to plan on bringing some favourite foods, snacks or drinks from home though.

If you are travelling by airplane, you can usually let the airline know when booking and checking in that you are travelling with an autistic child.  Usually you can request things like first or last boarding, waiting for your flight in a quiet room, expediting through passport control or customs, etc.  Most airports are familiar with the sunflower lanyard and they may be asked to wear one if they are comfortable.  Keep ear defenders/headphones or sunglasses handy if your child finds lights or sounds overwhelming. 

Sensory challenges

Speaking of sensory challenges – some children find it hard to be in a different climiate than what they are used to. Whether too hot or too cold, their body may not be used to processing the temperature. For beach vacations, sunscreen, sandy beaches or salty seas may lead to overwhelm.  My autistic son enjoys swimming in the ocean, but he finds the salt water itchy as it dries on his skin and he will scratch his skin to the point of bleeding if we don’t take him to a shower and rinse it off straight away. 

If sunscreen is an issue, try using the spray cream or rash guard/swim tops to cover the skin without sunscreen.  As we live in quite a cool climate, we have learned over the years that our autistic son just does not cope well with heat, so we plan our vacations accordingly – either booking places that are not so hot, or going at a different time of the year when temperatures are more acceptable. 

Keep it quiet

Whether you are in a hotel or have rented a house or apartment, it may be difficult for your autistic child to go to sleep.  The room is different, the bed is different, the pillows are different, the lights are different, the sounds are different, etc!  To help with this, bring favourite toys, pillows, books or pyjamas to let them feel more at home.  You might also bring a nightlight, flashlight or glow bracelets to keep them calm at night. 

If possible, try to request a quieter room (such as away from entrances, stairwells, elevators, swimming pools, restaurants, main roads etc) as the noise may be too much for your child to cope with.  Just like your own home, you may need to think carefully as to whether your autistic child will need their own room or will be able to cope with sharing with a sibling. 

More helpful tips

Some families find travelling in a group helpful – more adults means more people to help out!  This may be friends or relatives and going with a group of people that your child is already familiar with may make relaxation easier.  You can often get a better deal by renting a larger house with more than one family.    

Many theme parks and travel destinations have disability passes which allow you to go earlier or stay later, have separate entrances and shorter wait times, etc.  Some destinations allow special access for the whole family or group, while others may be limited to your autistic child and one parent/carer.  Do your research ahead of time to confirm, and also determine what proof you may need to bring in order to access the pass.  Sometimes it is a letter certifying the disability, other times it may need to be a doctor’s note, etc. 

I think one of the biggest pieces of advice is just to stay flexible.  As mentioned before, we have learned a lot by taking our family on vacations over time.  We don’t create a jam packed schedule as our autistic son may not be able to cope.  He often enjoys just relaxing in the hotel or his bedroom and doesn’t want to go out every day – that is ok too! 

What tips do you have for a successful family vacation?