Joe and Eric share special milestone birthday

Eric (left) Joe (right) Credit: ITV Meridian

A very special pair of identical twins has just celebrated their 18th birthday.

Joe and Eric both have Downs Syndrome and the odds of identical twins with Downs is a fraction over one in a million.

But what does the future hold for disabled children like Joe and Eric once they become adults?

Our reporter Kerry Swain has followed the twins since they were small boys, now revisiting them on their milestone birthday.

  • Watch Kerry Swain's report below

ITV News Meridian first met Joe and Eric when they were four years old. Fast-forward fourteen years and their mother, Francesca Lambert, says it's been a rollercoaster.

She says: "It's been highs, lows and everything in-between. Tears of joy and of despair at times. Just the joy of being a parent. I'm very lucky. I do consider myself lucky."

Joe is the extrovert
Eric is more reserved

Joe and Eric have been coming to the Rose Road Association in Southampton for respite care since they were small.

The twins may be 18 but they're not grown up. They still need supervision in the kitchen, and help with washing and dressing.

The charity cares for hundreds of severely disabled children, running an over 19s unit and is launching a new project to help older disabled young adults learn vital life skills.

Joe and Eric at the Rose Road Association Credit: ITV Meridian

Juno Hollyhock from the Rose Road Association says: "Unlike young people who might go off to university or go into work or move into a full time job and a place of their own Joe and Eric are always going to need this kind of support for the rest of their lives."

However fundraising is a constant challenge for the charity, while their mother says cuts in adult social care keeps her awake at night.

"I'm currently undergoing a financial assessment so although the social workers have said you can carry on having respite care, we see that you need it, a very high level of need whether I can continue to afford it is another matter."

Francesca currently works at Southampton University, but dreams of running a bed and breakfast in the country with the twins helping.

ITV Meridian first met the twins when they were four years old