National Public Radio – A segment in NPR’s “Science of Siblings” series focuses on the differences and common bonds between Sam Fetters ’26 and his twin, John. Cases like theirs help shed light on the genetic and environmental factors at play in autism.

The Fetters twins displayed similar signs of autism as toddlers, so their mother enrolled them in early-intervention preschool. Sam flourished academically and linguistically, but John needed more intensive interventions. Starting at age 5, they participated in a scientific study on identical twins on the spectrum. Today, at 19, “Sam is a sophomore at Amherst College who plans to double major in history and political science. In his free time, he runs marathons,” writes Jon Hamilton, while “John attends a special school, struggles to form sentences, and likes to watch Teletubbies and Sesame Street.”

The brothers are empathetic and supportive to one another, with Sam often “translating” for John when he has difficulty communicating. “We are identical twins in almost every other way,” Sam says: “laugh in the same way, cry in the same way, see the day in the same way, love the same way.”