Czech Twins Case Study (Koluchová, 1976)

P.M and J.M. are monozygotic twins whose mother died shortly after birth. After their mother’s death the twins lived in a children’s home for 11 months. Then their maternal aunt took care of them and they remained with her for 6 months. This environment was interrupted too, as the twins were taken back to the children’s home temporarily, because the father remarried and the household was being set up.

The twins joined the father’s new family with 2 biological sisters and 2 adopted siblings – a boy and a girl. So far the twins development was normal. According to Koluchová, at roughly 1.5 years of age, they had enough time in a relatively normal environment to learn a few words and the intial importance of speech.

Unfortunately, the foster mother and biological father were unfit parents. The children were fed, but kept in the basement, physically abused, and socially isolated from their siblings. In order to describe the level of neglect it suffices to say that in order to keep the children quiet a feather mattress was placed atop the children to mute their screams. The twins spent the next 5.5 years in this inhospitable environment with only themselves and their primitive gestures and communication as comfort. Unlike most cases of severe neglect however, the twins had each other and it is speculated that this provided a form of protection against their cruel upbringing.

Fortunately, in 1967, the biological father brought one of the twins to a paeditrician for an inspection to prove that the child was unfit for primary school. The paeditrician suspected child neglect, because they were 6-7 years old but looked 3 years old, stunted -suffering rickets (a disease eradicated by that time) and lacking normal speech. Further investigation proved the abuse although the parents tried to cover it up. The twins were taken and examined. Professionals assumed that the disability was permament.

Once free from their parents the czech twins were given serious attention in the form of physical recovery programs and schooling for children with severe learning disabilities. After 6 months of this and court proceedings against the foster mother and unusual twist occoured. After due diligence and many prospects the twins were awarded to two middle aged sisters who passed the psychological assesment and had already raised a well adjusted 13 year old girl.

The boys prospered in their new home under the loving guidance and protection of their new foster mom. She gave them unconditional love, without lowering any standards on challenging them cognitively. Due to their physical age they had to make up for lost time and were often in school classes below their physical age. They learned rapidly and skipped classes until they reached children 1.5 years younger than themselves. At 14 years of age their IQs were measured and found to be absolutely normal 100 and 101.

In the third follow up article, Koluchova reports that at the age of 18 the boys had IQs of 114 and 112 respectively. The young men understandably had an aversion to basements and the dark, from which they grew out of. Both served in the national draft. Furthermore they went onto become married, and raising well adjusted families of their own. One became a instructor for technical vocations and the other a computer specialist. There was no sign of the initial abnormality in motor development.


Koluchová, J. (1972). Severe deprivation in twins: a case study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 13(2), 107–114. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1972.tb01124.x 

Koluchová, J. (1976).  The further development of twins after severe and prolonged deprivation: a second report. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(3), 181–188. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1976.tb00390.x 

Koluchovà, J. (1992). Deprivation and its reparation in children of Czechoslovakia. Child Abuse Review, 1(1), 49–51. doi:10.1002/car.2380010108 

How to cite this article according to APA:

Andres, S. (2021, October 24). Czech Twins Case Study (Koluchová, 1976). LAYMN.

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