Puberty. It’s a word that can worry parents about how to discuss physical changes and intimate topics with their child.
Parents of pre-teens on the autism spectrum may find themselves even more lost about how to address this transition with their child. The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) have collaborated to create the free ATN/AIR-P Puberty and Adolescence Resource: A Guide for Parents.
The guide was created to empower parents with the knowledge and strategies to help their children understand what is happening to their bodies and how to handle their new feelings. The guide also covers children and teens across the autism spectrum, including those who are nonverbal. Both medical experts and parents were involved in creating the guide, which covers topics such as body changes, self-hygiene, and public versus private behavior, as well as gender-specific topics like menstruation and wet dreams. The guide also includes sample scripts and visual aids to guide discussions.