By Shawna H.
Going through puberty can be a tough time for a young girl. That is even more true when the young lady is autistic. There seems to be scant literature pertaining to females on the autism spectrum, and even less speaking about, or to young autistic girls about the changes of puberty, and beginning menstruation.
I can’t speak for all females on the spectrum about getting your period, and the whole puberty process. I can only relay my experience, and maybe some of that might be helpful for other young girls, or her parents in understanding. I have heard many ladies on the spectrum who have had quite different experiences with puberty than I did.
For me, it was a change that I welcomed. I looked forward to getting my period, and becoming an adult. It was exciting to me to become a woman. I learned a lot about it at school during sex ed. There was a lot of information available during that time to learn from. I think that this may have made the biggest difference to me in not only welcoming my period, but accepting my body as one in transformation. Knowing what to expect was paramount to easing my anxiety, and allowing me to be open to change.
Here are some things that I found to be helpful in preparing me for menstruation, and other changes that occur during puberty: Click to continue reading… »
MY FIRST PERIOD
My name is Leanne, I’m 20, and have Asperger Syndrome. Like every other woman in the world, I get my period every month. Although I’m not a teen or preteen anymore, I do remember what it was like.
This article can be helpful to parents of a daughter with a disability or people who work with people with special needs such as special education teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, or other people whose jobs require close contact with people with disabilities. So please read on because some of what I’m about to mention might help both you and your daughter.
My mom and I read a book about puberty and periods when I was about 9 years old. She and I had both noticed that I was starting to develop on the outside, so she knew that it was possible that I could get my period soon. I thought the book was about punctuation, because the title had the word ‘period’ in it. The book also talked about things like stuff you can use when you’re on your period, what to do if you get it while you’re at school or away from home, and other stuff about periods. If you just want to talk to your daughter about this yourself, make sure you simplify your explanation to make sure she can understand it. If you want to read a book about this with your daughter, make sure the book is appropriate to her developmental level. Social stories have also been known to work when teaching special needs kids about puberty. After I read the book, I was SO excited to get my period! It was my body’s way of saying, “You’re a woman now, Leanne!” Every time I went to the restroom, I would look for it, and one day, there it was!
By Gina Badalaty
6 Keys to Help You Teach Your Special Needs Daughter about Puberty
One of the more challenging aspects of raising a daughter with special needs is teaching her about puberty. This year my 9 year old, Amelia, started showing the earliest signs of puberty. I panicked, but after I calmed down, I came up with a practical plan on how I would teach her. In developing my plan, I discovered six keys that can help you take the right approach to teaching your daughter about puberty.
If your child has a speech disability, or is unable to understand you, you must find another way to communicate what puberty is all about. This can entail a variety of methods. A good book can help, or you may need to find a picture exchange system (PECS) or social story based specifically on puberty. If not, look around for good images and create your own PECS or social story tailored to your child’s needs. We use the American Girl book, “The Care and Keeping of You,” which Amelia likes very much. (Note: it is very graphic.)