A while ago I spent the night hanging with my mum, talking about puberty with the team from Autism Victoria. I don’t think we spoke about it as much when I was going through it, so I think we both might have learnt something sitting in that conference room while we chewed self consciously on home made biscuits.
Since then I’ve tried a few times to talk to Poss about puberty and the changes she’s experiencing. I’ve tried being casual, using humour and pretending it’s not happening. I’ve even tried tackling it head on. There doesn’t seem to be one way that works; all of them end up with her yelling at me for some reason or another.
We had ordered one of the books they recommended that night and it arrived last week. It’s a pretty simple one, only short and very clear. She opened the parcel and threw the book at my head, while screaming she didn’t need it.
After I’d recovered from almost losing my head to a hard cover book (and committed to re-assess all future book orders based on size and heft), I went and sat on her bed and forced her to read it with me. She wriggled like a toddler who was being forced to do something against their will, but I’d like to think it was worth it.
We made it through the book and I even snuck in a few quick questions before she realised what I was doing and promptly screamed for me to leave her alone. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.
When I shared this story briefly on my Facebook page, while there was limited sympathy for my near miss book related injury, there were far more questions about what the book was, and where it came from.
So I thought I’d share a few of the resources that the team at Amaze (Autism Victoria) put together that might be helpful…
- La Trobe University’s “Puberty: A Guide for Teenagers with ASD and Their Parents” can be downloaded here. It has a bunch of social scripts for everything from showering regularly to periods.
- Raising Children Network (which you can find here) has a bunch of social stories as well as information fact sheets for parents and videos as well. They cover the emotional side of things, as well as the physical things.
- Footprint Books (here) has a huge range of books and resources for both girls and boys going through puberty as well as just general books about Autism. If you love exploring online bookstores, then you’ll love this.
- Family Planning Victoria (here) isn’t probably the first place I would have thought of to start, but they have a large range of fact sheets, books, as well as videos, which might be easier for some kids. There’s also information about sexual health and safe sex, which I know we we’re going to need at some point (hopefully later rather than sooner…).
- Amaze (Autism Victoria) runs information sessions, as well as having a bunch of resources available as well. You can find them here.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get your hands on as much information as possible to prepare yourself for the next stage. Well prepared is well armed. Or something like that.
Just remember, if your child is anything like mine – aim for fact sheets over heavy books, there’s less chance of injury.