Meet Oli and Theo! These 4 year old twins are the sweetest little humans. They are very active as well and love to spend their time swimming and relaxing! To learn more about their love for music, Oli's recent accomplishment of saying his name, and Theo's amazing accomplishment of standing all by himself, read the interview down below conducted with their mother!
1. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about Oli and Theo?
Oli and Theo are bright little twins who are 4 years old! They are micro preemies and were born at 26 weeks. Theo has spastic quadriplegic, which is a form of cerebral palsy that affects the whole body. Oli has mild cerebral palsy, vocal chord and tongue paralysis, growth hormone deficiency, and chronic bronchitis which is a reactive airway disease. However, their conditions don't stop them from being the sweetest little humans!
2. What would surprise people the most about Oli and Theo?
So many people question if they are twins because they are simply just the total opposite of each other! Oli loves conducting music and has an amazing ear to hold the beat to just about any song, and Theo has an outstanding memory better than myself!
3. What does Oli and Theo love to do? What are their personalities like?
Oli has a loving and caring soul. Even though he can’t express himself with words just yet, he uses his facial expressions and his own beautiful ways of communication to interact with others. He is also very active! He loves building towers with magnet tiles or blocks, playing music, soccer, swimming, and cooking.
Theo is a thinker and is always observing. He can just melt your heart with his smile! He is a sweet and happy little boy who is always swimming, singing, painting, reading, or cooking.
4. What are some of Oli and Theo’s best strengths?
Oli is always helpful, eager, and empathetic and we always call Theo "Curious George" because he is honest, hardworking, caring & kind.
5. What is a recent accomplishment/milestone of Oli and Theo?
Oli is saying his name. We still need a lot of work with his articulation, but he is trying very hard and we are so proud of him! He is also swimming with a noodle.
Theo is pulling all by himself to stand and is working very hard on climbing to his bed by himself!
6. What are some of your favorite resources as a parent?
Instagram is our main resource! Following other families like ourselves has been so helpful and gives us the encouragement that we are not alone in this journey. Our favorite Instagram pages are Weflowtherapy and Smiletherapyforkids. Both accounts give such amazing tips and information for us ambitious parents to understand more about our children!
Centers who give information about different types of therapies, treatments, exercises, and activities have been a wonderful resource as well!
7. What have your sons taught you?
Raising twins with cerebral palsy has been quite a difficult task but a joyous one at the same time. We are not afraid to say we have children with cerebral palsy because we embrace it. This is our “normal” life and the twins make us so proud and grateful for these amazing experiences we get to have, from celebrating every milestone they hit to throwing a party! The future is worrisome but we embrace it one day at a time.
8. If you could tell the world one thing about Oli and Theo, what would it be?
Oli and Theo are the true definition of warriors and are fighting for their lives. Preemie babies are much stronger than we think.
Meet Genell! She is a sassy nine year old twin, and you can always find her dancing along to music and watching Elmo! She has such an optimistic mindset towards her treatments and a loving and supporting community always by her side. To learn more about the amazing eye gaze device she uses to communicate, her chromosomal deletion, and her charming personality, read the interview below!
1. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about Genell? Genell is 9 years old and is a twin! She lives with a chromosome deletion that is so rare that it does not have a name and has some other common conditions including Cerebral palsy, epilepsy, needing a G-tube for feeding, and being nonverbal. She most recently started using an eye gaze device which says words based on where her eyes are placed on the device!
2. What would surprise people the most about Genell? She has a big personality and loves music!
3. When someone meets Genell for the first time, what do you hope they think? I hope that they see the normalcy in her. Although she may look different, she is still a 9-year old that has feelings.
4. What does Genell love to do? What is her personality like? Genell loves music and Elmo. She is a sweet and sassy little girl and brightens a room with her smile!
5. What is the most important thing for someone to understand about Genell? I want someone to understand that she is smart. She may not be able to express what she is feeling, but she knows when someone has entered a room. She knows when her favorite songs are on. And most importantly, she can tell you what she wants or doesn't want with her own wonderful ways of communication, even if they may be out of the ordinary.
6. Are there any resources which you recommend if anyone wants to learn more about Genell's condition? Due to her condition being so rare, there are not any specific resources regarding her condition. However, there is a wonderful organization called UNIQUE (rarechromo.org) that advocates and provides support for families living with a rare chromosomal disorder.
7. If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be? I would tell them that everything happens for a reason. Whether you understand it or not, learn to accept the unexpected and adjust your mindset.