Puberty is a difficult time for anyone, but even more so for those with additional needs so here are our 3 tips to helping Autistic Boys through Puberty. (this will also work for girls but you can also read our top tips for starting periods here)
As parents, we need to help our children understand the changes that their bodies will go through and reassure them that everyone goes through these changes and that it will be okay!
1 – BE PREPARED
Sometimes Autistic children can be advanced or delayed in certain things. Puberty will not be one of those things. Puberty will happen around the same time as everyone else. The difference is children with Autism will need more support with puberty because they may have difficulties understanding what is happening to them and they will have less opportunity to learn from their peers. They may also find it difficult to understand the social aspects of puberty.
A good book to look at is “What’s happening to me”.
2 – START EARLY
It may take a long time for your child to understand what is going to happen during puberty. My advice is to start early. The sooner they get it the easier it will be. Children on the Autistic Spectrum like routine and this is all going to change during puberty. You need to get them prepared for that. Keep calm and don’t overload. Try not to make it sound scary. Visuals and facts are great ways to start introducing puberty.
3 – PUBLIC & PRIVATE
We need to teach our children what is appropriate, for example, you may have a child that is always naked (I did!). We need to teach that as they grow older and start to go through puberty this is not appropriate in public areas but okay in the privacy of their bedroom.
Living Well have some really good social stories to help with this – click here
Another good thing to go over is the Pants Rule – click here
OTHER THINGS TO BE AWARE OF!
Girls will often be taller than boys during puberty, that’s because girls go through puberty earlier than boys.
Remember literal thinking – your voice will not actually break!
The Process of Puberty for boys takes around 6 years!