Introduction ■ 3 Many multiples begin attending preschool programs with teachers who have not received appropriate professional preparation on the devel- opmental needs of twins and supertwins. Too often, teachers and pro- gram administrators make decisions about the care of multiples based on popular misconceptions and generalizations. The very limited refer- ences to twins in child development books usually refer to dated case studies describing unusual and extreme behaviors. Because the public remains fascinated with twins and supertwins, popular publications contain sensational stories about them. Most books written about twins are directed to families, and the contents primarily cover prenatal and early development of multiples. Medical professionals who are parents of twins write some of the parenting references. The population of multiple-birth children is increasing, and infor- mation about them has been limited. As both of these circumstances merge, they offer the rationale for Twins and Supertwins: A Handbook for Early Childhood Professionals. This book grew out of the certainty that teachers will use new knowledge to enhance their interaction with children. Inspired by this conviction, I’ve written this book as a practical guide for early childhood educators and child caregivers. This book lays out my understanding of twins and supertwins based on the information that was previously available only in the research literature and in books addressed specifically to parents (birth parents, adoptive parents, and any other adult guardians of twins or supertwins). As you begin absorbing the information, you can build a foundation of knowledge for making informed decisions about the twins and super- twins attending your preschools. Having such information helps you clarify misconceptions and dispel misinformation about multiples. The details are useful for staff members working toward agreement on the care and interaction with multiples, for instance, and agreement about the appropriate terms to use when describing multiples. Facts and figures prepare you to implement programs that can have a positive impact on the health and welfare of the twins and supertwins enrolled in your pro- grams. The information in this book facilitates your interaction with the families of multiples. Twins and Supertwins is organized into three parts. The book starts with background information in chapters 1 and 2, including definitions for twins and supertwins, data on their increasing numbers, and com- mentary about popular interest in and fascination about them. In the second part (chapters 3, 4, and 5), I discuss multiples’ physical, social Twins_4th pages.indd 3 4/24/10 2:29:43 PM