Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kay and Flo - Autistic Twin Savants

These twin savant sisters were profiled on Discovery Health. Today (11/9/08) at 9:00 AM was the last airing for this tv special. I really enjoyed learning about these women who also were born in New Jersey, a few years prior to me in 1956. They have led an interesting life. They can recall day and dates before and after they were born and need to chart and document shows as part of their daily routine.

They have idolized Dick Clark for 25 years, meeting him two times with thirteen years between these meetings. I liked how a news anchor (Dave Wagner) became a family friend for the past twenty years after they called him up and grilled him on a number of topics. My 13 year old son on the spectrum viewed this with me. I told him these women were his google, all he had to do was ask them data for his research. Prior to being a news anchor he was a disc jockey.

A few things that Kay and Flo charted were the entire episodes of $100,000 pyramid and the clothing the anchor and his family members wore. This kept their day structured and one of the autism experts in savant studies said this was typical behavior for savants.

Extraordinary People aired in the UK, July of 2008. Here is a photo of Flo and Kay Lyman. A synopsis of the UK show.

One of the major networks needs to interview Kay and Flo and share their story in more depth so that more families can gain insights and also for services and help for these women. A UK review of Rainman Twins.

The Application of Savant and Splinter Skills in the Autistic Population Through an Educational Curriculum - Results of a Case Study Research Project from Wisconsin Medical Society.

Kay and Flo described themselves as human computers. They dressed alike, hardly showed any eye contact, were excited to get their hair done at a salon, went to NY to see Dick Clark in 2006 for his return to the Rockin' New Years Eve. They said they want to be buried with all their Dick Clark memorabilia. They stated that Dick Clark was like a father figure they never had.

I am hoping to see more coverage on these amazing women. A google search does not provide much, which is a shame considering their age and uniqueness being autistic twin savants.

68 comments:

BarbaraRae said...

I really enjoyed this post. I put it in my favorites!

Betsy said...

They are fascinating! Human computers for sure!

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Really interesting. I'll have to show this to Nigel.

Kelley said...

I had never heard of these women. Thanks for the links!

My Boo is very much like Kim Peeks. Today at the supermarket he berated the checkout girl for scanning an item twice and then deleting one. Threw off his calculations, adding up the price...

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

What a great post. Thank you for introducing these amazing twins.

Adrienne said...

They sound like fascinating women - thanks so much for the links. I also wanted to say hello and thanks for the follow on Twitter. This is my first time visiting your blog and I was just looking at the community you're running on Bella Online. I'm inspired the work you do to help your boys and so many other families!
Cheers, Adrienne

Anita Gazaway said...

FYI - This program airs again on the Discovery Health channel December 12th, 2008 at 8pm and again at 11pm.

Anita Gazaway
Future Horizons, Inc.

hellokittiemama said...

I missed it the last time. I'm glad they ran it again since I'm able to watch it (doing it now). I'm amazed how they chart all the clothing. I feel sad about how they were raised that they were retarded.

Anonymous said...

What a great story. I am a special education teacher and work with Autistic high school students. They are amazing people, Kay and Flo and all autisitc people. The way the recall facts is amazing. I see many austistic traits in them that I see as a blessing. There are many days I wish I could be as in tune in the little things and enjoy and thrive from the routine many austic people love. Working with Austistic people makes me appreciate the simple things in life. Though they don't communicate the same way I do with my peers I welcome every opportunity they offer to teach me how to communicate with them. They are my greatest teacher.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching a special on TLC about them. It's fascinating. Especially how Dick Clark responded to them even after their sister's death.

Anonymous said...

As a mother of an autistic child i really enjoied the show. However i was beyond angered by the way their brother in law shipped Flo and Kay off to their brothers in New Jersey where they were not welcomed. Frank (brother in law) said he was sending them to be with their brother because they should be with family. Shame on him. When he married Jane (Flo and Kays late sister) he became family. And shame on their family in New Jersey for not embracing them. People with Autism and other disablities are angels and should be cherished. The world is a better place because of people like Flo and Kay. The only thing that makes me less angry is that I know those people will have to answer to God for the way they treated Flo and Kay.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the girls are better off not living with Frank. He acted like white trash, he should man up. Jane was an angle.

Anonymous said...

Frank & Jane cared for Flo & Kay for over 20 years, while the brother in New Jersey didn't have a worry in the world about them. Frank lost his wife of over 25 years when he lost Jane and it wasn't fair to him to have to figure out a way to care for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Frank & Jane cared for Flo & Kay for over 20 years, while the brother in New Jersey didn't have a worry in the world about them. Frank lost his wife of over 25 years when he lost Jane and it wasn't fair to him to have to figure out a way to care for everyone.

Carrie said...

I ran across the program while doing homework for my college psych class. I have been using twins in all my research this term. wow what a paper this is going to make! Sorry to see there is not more info. Fascinating!

Tami Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tami Anderson said...

I so enjoyed watching the program of "Kay & Flo." I am a program Assistance and work w/ adults with these types of disabilities, in a workshop. How I wished I would of taped it so the rest of the staff could of watched it too. I also work in a independent group home, as my part time job. Each consumer has there own apartment. Oh how I see Kay & Flo benefiting from a environment like this.

Anonymous said...

FLO & KAY ARE TWO OF GOD'S ANGELS, HERE ON EARTH, FOR SURE. I WOULD LOVE TO MEET THEM.

Anonymous said...

I am a relative to both Frank & Jane. How dare people cast stones at Frank for wanting Flo and Kay to go and live with their brother. No one knows the heart ache that Frank, his children and grandchildren suffered after Janes death. How they had to cope with life. And than to have to worry about caring for Flo and Kay would just put more stress and heartache on him. Janes brother had 20 years to live a normal life while Jane and Frank along with Frank and Tracey cared, listened and tended to these women. Frank was alone without a wife having to start a new life how could you expect him to care for 2 women with special needs alone? His brother and his wife could as a family have at least stood up as a family and offered to lend a hand. I'm sure Jane where ever she is is very upset with her brother and very proud of Frank for doing the best he could. We love you Frank.

Jennifer said...

I was amazed with the twins abilities. What a wonder they both are. My heart went out to the entire family at the untimely passing of Jane. She was an angel to her sisters. I would love to know how the twins are doing now. What a fascinating story.

ChelseyB412 said...

I'm very sad I can't find more on them (a google search brought me to this blog). Does anyone know how old they are? Or where to find more information on them? I would love to write them a letter..

Anonymous said...

This is in response to the Anonymous post from 2-9-09...if you truly are a family member, please convey to all the overall intentions of this blog, compassion and concern for these women. Everyone wants to know how they are doing. Please take this opportunity to update us and give any information you can on how to research their status. People want to assist.

Anonymous said...

Frank and Jane are/were, in my book, the most wonderful people I have seen. Shame on Tom and his wife for complaining about the twins, I'm sure they didn't complain about the SSDI they brought with them! It upset me that instead of embracing the wonderful talents Flo and Kaye have, they only complained about the structure they needed. It was obvious to me they pretty much care for themselves, even to the point of putting their clothing away and taking care of their personal needs. I'm betting if this was their children instead of their sisters/sister in laws, they would have shoved them into an institution.

I have a mentally retarded brother who also has cerebral palsy. He lives with another brother very close by, and that brother, like Jane, devoted his life to him. There is a spoken and legal agreement that if anything happens to my "normal" brother, "John" comes to live here with me, no problem, no worries. I've been blessed with having him as my brother, since he teaches me every day that you don't need to be "normal" to bring someone else joy.

Kelley, your Boo is something else! I love what you said about him. Bless you and all the others who have special family members, it's a joy to read about how they enrich your lives.

Anonymous said...

Jane, the sister, sounded wonderful and did a great job finally bringing the twins out into the world and the community.

That sister-in-law in NJ comes off as one self-centered person that's for sure! All she could think about was herself and the fact the twins are one big inconvenience to her. She should get off her fat A** and do something with them--maybe she would change her opinion of them. I wish the twins luck and hope they do not have to continue to live with that horrible brother and his wife and find a place where they can really be happy.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any idea if/when it will screen again in the US?

Anonymous said...

These girls are not what they seem. First of all, Adrienne is not the wife. She is the girlfriend. She has no family responsibility to these girls, yet she makes sure they are taken care of. Jane was a drug addict and her death can be attributed to her drug use. The only reason Frank and Jane took the girls was because they received the house, complete furnishing and a Cadillac when the father passed away. jane took care of the sisters only if she received everything. The girlfriend takes care of them for free. The girls have tormented Adrienne causing multiple medical problems for her. There are many items in the documentary that are not true. Especially, that the mother tried to kill them. Nothing in this documentary was approved by the family. Frank and Jane only had the girls for 11 years. Adrienne will have them for the rest of their lives, including dealing with menopause and old age.

Anonymous said...

Is that you Adrienne?? You really expect people to believe you or feel sorry for you? You're full of it! I feel for the girls being it appears that you convey nothing but hatred for them.

Barbara said...

I watched this documentary for the first time this evening. I was incredibly touched by it and will watch it again many times I am sure. For a number of years I have worked with preschool children diagnosed with autism, and I feel that many of them have special gifts. They are able to see the world in a way unique to themselves that would better each one of us if we could experience it. I feel privileged to share these young children's lives as I felt to gain a glimpse of Flo's and Kay's. How very unfortunate that autism has so often been mistaken for mental retardation. With their unique scattering of skills, we need to appreciate and provide opportunity for the areas of talent and lend support to the areas of weakness to fortify their feelings of self-worth.
Barbara Morrow

Charlene said...

I have a brother who is what you call an autisic savant. He is 60 yrs old now. My mother passed away in 2004. My mother did an excellent job raising him. People said he should have been put somewhere to learn better. My mother put him through schools in the public school system. My mother always thought he was mentally retarded, she would have been fascinated to know about this autism. He is a wonderful man living on his own in HIS own apartment, near my husband and I. It can be done. If Kay and Flo play again on TV I would love to watch it, and welcome emails to it's airing time and date. We live in So California.

Anonymous said...

Flo and Kay are amazing! Dave Wagner, the radio personailty really helped the girls it appears, and their sister Jane seemed to have been wonderful.
Dick Clark even keeps in contact with them. How can someone slam Jane, she isn't her to defend herself. I hope they are safe and happy at this time.

lucyfair said...

Hello all, You have no idea what you are talking about Once again, these girls are not autistic. RETARDED!!!



The documentary is a sham!!
The mother had GERMAN MEASLES When she she was pregnant!!

The mother DID NOT try to kill them. They were told to say that.

Adrienne, the GIRLFRIRND, not the WIFE, was not OBLIGATED TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.
Are you stupid? I am telling the truth. These girls are evil. They only care about themselves. I know them, What is wrong with you people?

Anonymous said...

Hey lucyfair. If you know anything at all about autism you stupid idiot, which you clearly do not, you would see that these women are clearly autistic. Many autistic people also have MR. Additionally, they do not have the theory of mind to be knowingly "evil" as you claim. Do you also tell parents that their autistic children are simply being "brats?" Autism is a neurological diorder. Autistic indivdiuals incorrectly react to their social environment and outside stimuli due to the disability and are dependent on the people around them being fully trained on how to deal with the disorder. The fat, lazy girlfriend clearly just wants to sit around and not put any effort into them. They would be best off FAR away from that selfish bit**!

You are beyond ignorant blaming these women for their actions due to a severe disability. I wonder if you also blame people in wheelchairs for not getting up and walking. You're a complete idiot.

theresa6069 said...

to lucyfair or should i say luciffer.my God have mercy on your rotten soul you selfcentered b##ch. these women are trapped in thier own world they cant help how they act. they are autistic with mild retardation. my son is like them. he will forget to brush his teeth but he can tell you everything about michael jackson and can quote movies from start to finish without missing a word. it can be hard sometimes, but its not thier faults. they cant be evil, sounds like you are the evil one. is lucyfair that fat a@@ girlfriend of the stupid brother?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if luccifer (much more appropriate than lucyfair, I compeltely agree!!) is the bit## girlfriend or one of her family members. I hope these women no longer have to live with those hateful people.

Anonymous said...

Luccifer-you are quite simply a real piece of shi*! May you rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

I know these girls since 1966. The reason for their problem is because EVA,(not eve)babysat for a women whose children had German measles and didn't tell Eva because she wouldn't have had a babysitter. Eva contracted the German measles. The twins where born blind. Their pupils were missed shaped. They had eye surgery as infants. Flo sees better than Kay. The girls received help from the Association of the Blind the entire time they lived in Irvington.
They fell in awe of Dick Clark way back when he did Beat the Clock. The twins were ridiculed in high school for running around the clock in the school hallway yelling "beat the clock". We would grab them and remove them from the situation.
The twins also loved the ABC news team, especially the weatherman. They had to watch that news every night.
Kay and Flo could also communicate without speaking out loud. Two or three people could sit between them and not hear them whisper to each other.
Mrs. Eva Lyman died in 1993. Jane and Frank moved to Florida after that to help Mr. Lyman with the girls. He was obese for as long as I could remember and he had high blood pressure. I could write a book and maybe I will.

Anonymous said...

"Flo & Kay: Twin Savants" will aire on TLC (HD) again on Sunday, 4/12 at 7 pm eastern time.

Anonymous said...

To the anon. who claims that she (or he) should write a book about them. Yeah, exploit them even more for financial gain. That's great. The people who know these poor women sound like the most unethical, disgusting bunch of people on the planet.

Anonymous said...

wow, all the bickering can't be good for those two. i'm sure if they had a choice they would like to be less intelligent and a whole lot more normal like the rest of us. but they're not, so let's be happy for them in their situation rather than try to milk it with lameness. i for one think they are very blessed, challenging as they may be, but what's life without some spunk.

i found their lives are on youtube now.. you can catch the series here :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5IAecvEA-4

hope that's off some help to those of you actually trying to catch a glimpse of them but missed the tv show.

cheerios.

Anonymous said...

To the person who said they could write a book about Flo and Kay....UM, sorry...you could not. You can't write!

professor said...

I saw Kay and Flo on tv, tonight, for the first time. They stole my heart. Where can I make a donation to them, to help with their financial support? Tk tkprofessor@gmail.com

johnny Seitz said...

I am an autistic adult. I was born with classic autism (head banging type
child) because of this I know about families wrapping themselves around a
disability. Stroke, like autism is a family affair. I am also a bit of a
savant, my gift understanding the human body.
4 years ago, a doctor asked me if I would apply my skills to a patient of
his, Dick Clark who was reaching the six month point in his recovery. You
can read the rest of the story from the cover story Stroke Connection
Magazine. I work everyday with stroke survivors. My disability is my gift
and my compassion comes from my own dealing with the rest of the world
around the disabled individual.

Here is a youtube video of what I do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb90Uyy_VuI

Anonymous said...

I just watched the documentary... Such a wonderful insight to the lives.. though different... they are wonderful ladies. I attend a church though he no longer attends there as they have moved many years ago. He was a mathmatical savant as well... has never forgotten anything he ever read. Page, paragraph, line and word... remembers all. He can do mathmatical problems and answer faster than a person of avaerage intellect can even put the number in a calculater!
Seeing these people.. through the eyes of those who love them... changes how they are seen. Most of the ugliness that is past to children is from parents.. when we began to change how WE see others and how we react to them.. our children we change how they behave as well...
It starts with us!
I am honored for having seen their story!
And to have know the family of the savant at church.. I had seen him many times.. and never knew.. until their parents with his willingness.. showed his church... what he was.. and that just because he wasn't them same... he WAS a person in his own right.. he was who he was.. and just did things different.
Glad to have known him as well!

Janet said...

I'm disappointed in the comments and arguments concerning Flo and Kay. I personaly knew them in FL, as they came into a store I worked at-to see what new records, albums we had acquired. They were very polite women and I have always wondered what happened to them. I would see them getting off a bus and walking to my store, then walking back to what I think was their apartment building. This was in 2004-05. Then all of a sudden I didn't see them anymore. I miss them. I wonder if anyone out there has info as to how they are doing, or if Dave Wagner has any updates on them.I really would like a happy future for them. Janet

Anonymous said...

I know these girls! They send me a birthday card every year! YAY! I always told them I was wearing black when they would call my work. haha

Kelly's daddy said...

As the father of a 15 year old girl on the autism spectrum, this show was fascinating, frightening, encouraging, and deeply personal though I don't know them, there are shades of my girl in them, without the savant degree they have but especially the obsessive traits with musicians, movies, and more. One can't imagine the lifelong fear and pain the father and mother experiences having a developmentally disabled child. You fear every day for their future, pray they live to be 100 and that you live to be 100 and one day. The thought of what happens to your child when you're gone is enough to keep you awake every night, or even randomly just go into another room and cry. Its a mixture of joy that she is as well off as she is, and mourning that she will never have the normal life of your other children. Sometimes she can look at me and say something kind of out of left field, and I'll look at her and my eyes just fill with tears. I pray these women are kept safe and that nobody harms them, ever. And I read with anger some of these disgusting, evil comments against these poor souls in this post. If anyone ever taunts my child, makes her cry, calls her evil for things she can't control, they will answer to me in a way they surely never will want to face.

Anonymous said...

I saw this amazing episode about these twins last night on TV. I was amazed at what they can do & what they have being thru. I just googled them today & you were the 1st one on the list. Just wanted to give my 2 cents i guess. They are such great people & i'm glad to have seen it on TV, it humbles me & makes me count my blessings. The way they talked about their family, they didn't hold anything back, they can't & they are truly honest. I was saddened about their sister and wanted to see more of their story.

pp said...

Just sae the documentary of Flo and Kay here in Finland. Amazing sisters. I truly hope they could get back to Florida.

Denise Petrone said...

My husband and I were students at Frank H. Morell High School in Irvington, New Jersey during the years when the twins were also students. When I first watched the show I didn't realize that these were the same twins that I remembered from high school. Just the other day my daughter found out that they were from Irvington, New Jersey and only then did I realize who they were. I remember them clearly. Quite a suprise!
Denise Petrone
ldpetrone@verizon.net

autismfamily said...

small world as my paternal grandparents lived in Irvington back in the 60s and 70s.

My teen with autism (almost 15) mentioned the twins on New Years Eve when Ryan Seacrest mentioned Dick Clark. My kid knows them but not him, it was funny and nice to hear him mention them again.

Can Diet Help Autism ? said...

Thanks for sharing this most interesting post.

Frank said...

I met Flo & Kay when I moved into my first home in Fla. They lived down the street with their parents, and walked by everyday. They were wonderful to meet and talk with. I do believe that me and my wife are in their database forever. We loved to say "hi" to them and ask them questions as they asked us questions.
It was sad for them to lose their parents, but Jane stepped right in never missing a beat. Tragically she passed too several years later. The girls would regularly visit the parents resting place down the road. God Bless them for a long and peaceful life. (Frank & Lisa: Seminole, Fla).

crystal said...

I just love flo and kay story they are such an inspiration to us all and they are so adorable. I hope they are doing well and i must say i was very touched by their story tonight. god bless u two ladies......

giovanna said...

That's crazy to think I live in Tampa now. I just saw this and it really touched me, my brother is autistic. I'm 20 and he is 6 but I know that when my parents are gone I will take care of him and gladly. I love him, and hopefully he will be okay. I pray for these women. <3

deanna mackey-miller said...

I too, feel humbled by this story. I am facinated by the two of them. I lived in Seminole for many years,I still live in Florida. I cant beleive Im just hearing about them. One of the best programs Ive have seen in years. I cried, I laughed and now I will never forget.

Anime said...

Im impressed, I wish I was able to remember alot of this they can.

I idolize them both.

Jeff and Abby said...

These two ladies are truly amazing. They are who they are and who they are is awesome! I applaud all the people who have been there for them and looked after them. My wife has worked with autistic children and adults for years and the relationships have all been mutually beneficial.

Lee said...

I watched this program y'day and found it absolutely more than fascinating.
As a long-time former R. N., I've never seen this and it amazed me.
Thanks,
Lee

l2m8o said...

There is an episode about them on tv now on Discover Fit and Health for the US.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Dick Clark passed away today and I can imagine that this is very hard on the twins. I am sending my condolences and praying for them as I would imagine this is a very difficult time for them.

autismfamily said...

Dick Clark passed away today. Watching CNN and wondering if anyone doing research will mention his meeting Kay and Flo and also if they will find that reporter guy so he could share their story. Hope they are taking the news well.

Anonymous said...

I thought of Flo and Kay as soon as I heard this sad news. I hope they are going to be okay.

Johnny Seitz said...

Dear Kay and Flo, My heart goes out to you as so many peope have reached out to me. Dick invited to the house the day you both went to see the house, not knowing he was goiong to surprise you by meeting you himslef, but i couldn't make it. I had another stroke client to work with and couldn't change the schedule. Being Autistic myself, he told me all about you and would have liked to have met you.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Irvington, NJ and knew these twins. They used to walk past my house regularly.
When I heard of Dick Clark's passing, all I could think of was the twins, Flo & Kate, and what the news did to them. I also knew Jane and Frank. Some of the comments above should have been kept to themselves.
Signed, somewhere in Tampa Bay area

Anonymous said...

I just saw Flo and Kay's documentary and bless their hearts and everyone they have touched. One thing we can all take away from this story is simply not to judge people...everyone has a burden to bear and different abilities with which to bear it. We can all try to walk in each others' shoes with compassion. I really need to remember this. Does anyone know how they're doing now?

Anonymous said...

Wow great article!
Has anybody ever heard of KOULE by Que Innovations? I think it's worth a look if you're interested in early child development and or autism therapy! Their website is www.queinnovations.com but I also found them on facebook too? Any thoughts?
Thanks again for the article!

PDBHDK said...

Lucyfair is 100% wrong! First of all, the term "retarded" isn'used anymore. People need to do research before they post comments. Autism is VERY real! I'm on the spectrum. These twins are very extraordinally because it's very uncommon to have savant abilities, especially like their abilities. They show almost every sign of severe autism. You can't claim to know what the mother's intentions were. Only the mother knows what she was thinking. As far as the late sister and other caregivers, it can be very frustrating to live a "normal" life when one is taking care of a person who has a very strict schedule in their head, like Flo and Kay do. Sticking to a strict schedule can relieve anxiety, but when their schedule is disrupted, a person on the autism spectrum doesn't know or understand how to adapt. Some peopleon the spectrum have less strict schedules. I can only imagine how frustrating it was to take care of two adults who had such challenges. Autism, unlike your suggestion, is not the same as "retardation", nor is it caused by German Measels! I disagree with the person who said many people who are on the spectrum also have MR. My mom is a pediatrician and I asked her about that. I have also done a ton of my own research I thought the documentary was very well done, and hopefully more people learned something from it. Unfortunately, some people are so closed minded that they would rather believe that a condition like autism is a sham. That all being said, I wish there were more shows like this documentary about autism. April is Autism Awareness month and channels such as Discovery and Discovery Fit and Health have the perfect medium to teach people about autism with true, well researched documentaries. It's frustrates me the in general, people are pretty ignornat about autism, Lucyfair being a case in point. People sometimes think that "mental retardation", autism, and ADD are all one in the same, and use the terms like they're synonyms. There was another show about tow boys, both on the spectrum, who were both amazing pianists. One of the boys was also blind. The show documented the challenges and planning it took for the boys to be prepared for a concert they were giving. It was very interesting. Another show documented the life Ina family who had six biological children who were ALL on the spectrum. I really hope these shows would be aired again.

Johnny Seitz said...

Thank you PDBHDK for your post, and Lucyfair, please please educate yourself, go spend some time as a volunteer for Autistic adults or children and better inform yourself than just reading. Anyone who thinks Autism is a Sham is obviously uninformed, perhaps even ignorant or in denial of reality. Living with Autism is a humbling reality whether you are a care-provider, a parent, a sibling or spouse.
If Lucyfair cared to inform herself before posting, she would know that Autism does not mean "retard", however it is most commonly misdiagnosed as retardation. In the past Autism was often misdiagnosed for Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar, and Retardation, today with all of the attention and research, we now know differently and thus have resources available that were not in the past.

 
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