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One of My Twins Was Diagnosed With Autism. Now What?

At a playground with my two-year-old twin girls on a warm spring morning. The sky is clear and cloud-less. The girls have found a puddle, and Clementine has plopped down in the middle of it, inciting uproarious laughter from her sister, Penelope, who quickly followed suit. They are undoubtedly sisters and today, they act the same.

But they are different. The way any set of siblings is different, yes. But also more so. Penelope routinely engages with other toddlers. Clementine, meanwhile, prefers to be on her own when she’s in close proximity to others. She also tends to avoid direct eye contact. That’s because Clementine, my wife and I recently learned, is autistic.

Clementine was officially diagnosed with autism at 21-months-old. To be more precise, she was diagnosed with “mild autism.” My wife and I are not sure if her diagnosis will be a life altering condition or have no impact at all. Were it a few years ago, Clementine, we were told, would have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, which was generally considered to be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. “Mild autism” is a relatively new diagnosis without a fully developed set of expectations or social script. Continue reading One of My Twins Was Diagnosed With Autism. Now What?