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June & Jennifer Gibbons (The 'Silent Twins')

Cherrybomb

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Hi all

Do we have a thread one the strange "Silent" twins June & Jennifer Gibbons?

Thanks!
 

GNC

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I can't find one on the search page, though that doesn't mean they've never been mentioned. Who are they? More info might help.
 

David Plankton

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They were twin sisters who hardly spoke to anyone and I think spent time in Broadmoor for arson.
 

WhistlingJack

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Yes, but it's a general thread, rather than dealing specifically with cases such as the Gibbons and the Chaplins. In the absence of a dedicated thread, I suppose this one will do for now ;)
 

Cherrybomb

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Thanks everyone! Yes The Gibbons case is a real odd one, they also "decided" which one would die first and while being moved from Broadmore, June (IIRC) died of a heart condition. :?
 

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Spudrick68

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I don't want to start a new thread so put this here as I'm not sure where to put it.

I'm off this week, my wife was at work so I watched a documentary on the history of Broadmoor whilst ironing (I'm so rock and roll). I was interested in the story of the Silent Twins that I hadn't heard of before. According to the documentary, when they were eventually released, they decided that one of them must die. According to the documentary, one of them died in the transport releasing them from Broadmoor, the cause of death not ascertained. This may be factually incorrect as I was ironing at the time.

I found this book on Amazon that I may well buy as it looks quite interesting:

The Silent Twins eBook: Wallace, Marjorie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
 

EnolaGaia

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Jepra Peld

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I don't want to start a new thread so put this here as I'm not sure where to put it.

I'm off this week, my wife was at work so I watched a documentary on the history of Broadmoor whilst ironing (I'm so rock and roll). I was interested in the story of the Silent Twins that I hadn't heard of before. According to the documentary, when they were eventually released, they decided that one of them must die. According to the documentary, one of them died in the transport releasing them from Broadmoor, the cause of death not ascertained. This may be factually incorrect as I was ironing at the time.

I found this book on Amazon that I may well buy as it looks quite interesting:

The Silent Twins eBook: Wallace, Marjorie: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
I have it somewhere. It's good if a bit repetitive, worth reading though. I was quite obsessed with these two when I was younger.
 

Stillill

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There was a drama made in 1986 about the twins. I saw it in the ‘90s and remember enjoying it. It’s unlikely to be available on dvd so I’m going to have a search on YouTube for it.
 

PeteS

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On a similar theme my Godmother who was a speech therapist had twin girls referred to her in the 1950's. They spoke to each other in their own language (which apparently sounded like birds twittering) but would not communicate with anyone else, even their parents. They were in their early teens before they learned to speak correctly. She never knew what became of them.
 

Frideswide

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They were in their early teens before they learned to speak correctly.
or perhaps they were in their early teens before they saw the advantages of speaking in a way comprehensible to others and decided to do so? :)
 

EnolaGaia

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They call it selective mutism don't they?
Selective mutism covers a variety of ways in which an individual is capable of communication but declines or refuses to communicate in certain social situations. Though much about this condition remains a mystery, it is commonly considered a behavioral / psychological disorder. Contrary to popular / past suggestions, it's not demonstrably correlated with childhood trauma, autism or schizophrenia.

I haven't found any clinical research addressing a possible intersection between selective mutism and self-isolated twins with or without a shared idiosyncratic linguistic style.

NOTE: As far as I know the Gibbons twins' language wasn't an invented "private language", but rather a rapidly spoken version of the Creole dialect common in Barbados (their parents' homeland).

In light of all this it's unclear whether selective mutism is an accurate or sole diagnosis for the behavior of the Gibbons twins. There was childhood social trauma involved (shunning and bullying owing to their race). They eventually elected to speak only with each other and their younger sister. Their situation was probably aggravated by the fact they were 10 or 11 years old before a non-family adult noticed their silence and referred them for examination and treatment. By the time this happened the twins were refusing to both read and write as well as speak. I'm not sure the aversion to reading and writing clearly fits the prevailing characterization of selective mutism.

Selective mutism is currently framed as a problem involving stress avoidance (akin to a sort of stage fright) in certain social situations, and one can only speculate whether this seems to have been applicable in the Gibbons twins' case.
 

Frideswide

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I know lots of people who don't speak or communicate "normally", myself included. As @EnolaGaia says, it's not connected directly with autism but it is a relatively common comorbid.

People sometimes use electively mute, sporadically mute, pre-verbal and so on to describe themselves.

In autism, some of it has been attributed to

* developmental delay
* processing difficulties
* not seeing the point - it only encourages people to do it more.

:)
 

PeteS

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or perhaps they were in their early teens before they saw the advantages of speaking in a way comprehensible to others and decided to do so? :)
Don't think it was that, they apparently could not speak in any normal style of language and were referred to my godmother by the Authorities. They had come from what was then a very rural community, and had somehow escaped any form of education. Thankfully wouldn't happen nowadays.
 

Frideswide

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Don't think it was that, they apparently could not speak in any normal style of language and were referred to my godmother by the Authorities.
There are lots of people where the family says they don't communicate. It's very hard for the family to grasp that the individual can communicate fine when they want to and are given the means - a non relative, AAC, electronics. One of the first things non-speakers (like me) communicate to the family when we do speak, or find a different way, is that we understood every word.

And there is a sizeable minority who communicate in various ways but have no interest in doing so with their blood relatives.

Yes, you may be right in this case.
 

PeteS

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There are lots of people where the family says they don't communicate. It's very hard for the family to grasp that the individual can communicate fine when they want to and are given the means - a non relative, AAC, electronics. One of the first things non-speakers (like me) communicate to the family when we do speak, or find a different way, is that we understood every word.

And there is a sizeable minority who communicate in various ways but have no interest in doing so with their blood relatives.

Yes, you may be right in this case.
You have to remember of course that this was the 1950's and things were, well, different back then. You would hope in the current climate these issues would be identified and dealt with appropriately at an early stage.
 

Dick Turpin

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I remember the Chaplin sisters well. They didn’t live far from me as I was growing up, and I would see them going about their business quite regularly.

I must say and I hope I’m not coming across as unkind, but they had a very strange aura about them, they made many people including me feel a little unnerved to be honest.

On more than one occasion they got onto a bus that I was travelling on, and some passengers would go and sit elsewhere, or go and sit on the top deck, or even get off the bus and wait for the next one.

Seriously.

I think it was Channel 4, that made a short documentary about their lives. It’s on you tube but I don’t know how to upload it.
 

PeteS

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I knew a local couple who had twin girls who also had a strange aura about them. Even well into their twenties they would hold hands wherever they went, would whisper to each other instead of talking in a normal manner and had other weird habits. Both became teachers of the same subject, but had to retire early due to ill health. I sometimes wonder what happened to them when this subject comes up, and hope they are ok.
 
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