START // Research // Twins //
Ein Zwillings-Paar im Jahr 1971


We were always happiness.
(Patrick Görres)

One twin has Down syndrome, the other does not. How is that for the family? How does that work in everyday life?

„Twins are people that were born together. “

Paul Spitzeck, Ohrenkuss editorial team.

Prof. Dr. med. Wolfram Henn (Med) is a geneticist and a researcher at Saarland University.
Together with Prof. Dr. Gisa Aschersleben he has concerned himself with the lives of 'different twins' - where one twin has Down syndrome and the other one doesn't.
The technical term for this is 'discordant twins'.

Prof. Henn's research project 'Unlike Twins' is described by the magazine Impulse in the following way:

Unlike Twins
They are twins and yet entirely different: One of the children has Down syndrome and the other does not.
How do twins influence each other in this special situation?
How does the environment react, how does society respond to that?
What does it mean for the family, for their everyday life?
Questions that were looked at by scientists of the Saarland University in a worldwide unique study.

Wolfram Henn is fascinated by the topic.
He says: He was electrified.
More and more questions came to him.
For example:
What does it mean for a family and the growing twins, when one of
the children has a trisomy 21 and therefore is developing at a slower rate?
What does that mean for siblings who mostly do and learn everything together and at the same time. Things such as walking, speaking, eating, writing, maths, using cutlery, recognising the wishes and needs of their environment, and much more?
What consequences does it have, if neighbourhood children play less with the non-disabled child than they possibly would if the circumstances were different?
And, is that actually the case?
What plays out between twins, and in their lives?
Are there differences to twin pairs without Down syndrome?

Patrick Görres is a member of the Ohrenkuss editorial team - and a discordant twin.
As a result he finds the topic interesting.
He describes his situation:

"We are 7 children. Christiane and I are twins and I am with Down syndrome."

Are there differences in their lives?

"What does it matter?
Her advantages are my disadvantages: she can marry.
But I can do it, if it is permitted by the main carer Brother Anselm.
She can start family."

But the sister without Down syndrome doesn't just have advantages::

"However she has to pay admission, like the swimming pool, or visits to the cinema, also to the theatre or opera.
But, with discount, I get in more easily. People with Down syndrome have these advantages.
Also with the metro, and trains, trams - with our IDs our advantage is bigger."

What is it like to have a twin sister?

"Christiane can show me everything - but she can't tell me what to do. When we were little children, we did everything together. Each one had their own talents. We were always happiness, only some things (she) could understand better."

What does he think of the twins research project?

"Really great - the one can do more - for that the other had more advantages. Win win for everyone."

Prof. Dr. Henn's study concluded in 2014.