Autism can't tear twin brothers apart

December 25, 2008

St. Petersburg Times;

He waits for his brother and mom to sit down, then slides into the wooden pew beside them. Anthony Moran always has to be on the aisle. When your 12-year-old twin brother peels off his shirt during the offering, you want to be on the aisle so you can get him out of there. Fast. "Did you bring his candy?" Anthony asks his mom. She reaches into her purse and pulls out a Ziploc filled with cough drops. "And his drink?" She retrieves an Iron Man sippy cup. Anthony looks at Ryan, who is unbuttoning his pants. "No," Anthony says gently, shaking his head. "Not appropriate. No one wants to see our bellies here."

Anthony Moran is blond and earnest and super serious for a seventh-grader. He gets straight As at Peniel Baptist Academy.

He speaks softly, always in plurals: We, us, our. Like many twins, he thinks of himself as half of a pair.

The other half has brown hair and wide blue eyes and a boisterous giggle.

Ryan Moran is in speech therapy and special ed at Ochwilla Elementary. He seldom says whole sentences.

All his life, Anthony has been his voice.

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