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A Rare Pair: One Twin Has Down Syndrome and the Other Doesn't

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 26, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Down Syndrome, Behavioral HealthJulia and Michael are twins, but Michael has Down syndrome and Julia doesn't. Learn more about how these rare twins from San Diego, California have grown up.

What They Have in Common

Both Julia and Michael Toronczak are 22, and they both love going to the beach and watching the ocean waves. Though Julia is going to the University of California San Diego and Michael lives with their mother, Grazyna, Julia says they communicate with their own little language. Growing up together, they were inseparable though they were developing very differently.

Their Differences

They may be twins, but Michael differs by one chromosome. People born with Down syndrome have an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Michael's form of Down syndrome is one of the most severe, leaving him unable to speak. How does he communicate with his sister? Julia says he doesn't communicate with his hands because his fine motor skills are not very strong. Instead, she looks at his facial reactions. She knows when he is agitated (he prefers calm and quiet environments). Julia also noticed that he wouldn't even look at her right away when he and his mother visited her at college. Michael was upset when she left home to attend college.

A Passion to Educate

Julia's life with her brother has inspired her to write a blog called Beyond the Waves. She wants to educate her readers about Down syndrome. Her blog shares her positive experiences with her brother, how he has made her more independent, and how his kindness has enlightened her life and others. Moreover, Julia strives to shed positive light on the disabled population, which too often gets viewed in a negative way.



If you are someone that is interested in working with individuals with Down syndrome, Staffing Plus may have a job for you! Contact us to find out more about our extensive behavioral health staffing network.

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