How/when do you talk to your aspie about puberty?

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ghatti
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12 Nov 2006, 12:28 am

My daughter just turned 10 and I know we need to talk about periods and puberty and stuff. I just don't know how to approach it. She is very technical and medically minded and she has a vague idea I think but then some things just really throw me. A couple weeks ago she asked me " why do people have to where bras when the get older?" I answered her with why a bra is needed and what it does. Then it hit me she said "people" not women/girls. I then had to clarify that men do not where bras!

She totally freaks over a drop of blood - how am I going to explain her period to her! We've discussed the biological changes of what happens with puberty and she know them but I don't think she is relating it to the fact that this will happen to her.

Any ideas? suggestion? experiences?



starling
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12 Nov 2006, 4:31 am

My daughter is almost 9 yrs/o but she knows about periods and bleeding from the day she discovered I have it. I don't know what age that was, maybe two, three years old?. But I have always been very open with her. When she was two, three yrs/o, she liked (new, clean ones of course) sanitary towels (? is that really the right word ?) to play with when I was sitting in the bathroom. She liked the sticky side. Of course she found out what they are for and I explained it to her and actually showed her and I also told her that it all is quit an intimate thing we usually really don't show to others. And I told her that when she would most probably get periods too some time after ten years old or later. It's not a matter of surprise to her at all.

Has your daughter never seen you when you have a period and change?

Maybe you could take another route too. What if you tell her exactly how human fertility works? The periods will come up then too. You can say you have periods too. And then say that practically all women have periods from the time they will become fertile. And then tell her what age women usually become fertile (range 10-15 yrs or something, so she will probably fall in that category). Then, if she doesn't say it herself, tell her she will be having a period most probably in the next five years or so.

Also tell her that she doesn't have to wait for it, because it will happen anyhow and she'll know it then. And by that time you'll be there to help her (and if you aren't, show her how she can put toiletpaper in het underwear to prevent nasty stains etc.).

It really isn't that bad I think. Would it?



Last edited by starling on 12 Nov 2006, 8:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

MrMark
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12 Nov 2006, 8:02 am

How/when do you talk to your aspie about puberty?

Well my first response is, "Just like anybody else." I've been thinking that I'm going to stop telling people about my autism because they treat me differently, like I'm less capable. If I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know. "Funny, you don't look autistic."

I can tell you this. When I was still in single digits, I would ask my dad the predictable questions. He responded in very technical terms. I didn't always understand what he was saying but I remembered what he said and understood later.


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CockneyRebel
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12 Nov 2006, 8:03 am

I wasn't told, until I was ten and I wish that I was told a lot sooner. I've also started my period at the age of ten and I didn't feel that I was given much of a warning.



ryansjoy
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12 Nov 2006, 9:50 am

i was given the info but I was really clueless when it came to what it really was.. i would say it might be a good idea to educate her often and talk about it as sort of a life skills class.. i don't think I would be as open as starling was but thats me.. i have a 9 month old and I can not see educating her when she is 2-3. but thats me.. but I say KUDDOS that you could do this. i really think its up to the maturity of the child. i can tell you no one prepared me for the horrible days in bed with cramps and vomiting. no one prepared me for this.. it made me hate being a female. but i know all girls are different.. it made me feel that males got off way too easy!!



starling
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12 Nov 2006, 10:25 am

ryansjoy wrote:
i have a 9 month old and I can not see educating her when she is 2-3. but thats me.. but I say KUDDOS that you could do this. i really think its up to the maturity of the child.


Depends on what you want to educate about. When my daughter of three asked me why I'm bleeding and if I'm ill now, I tell her that I'm not ill and that I'm bleeding every month. It is normal for women. If she'd ask me where the blood comes from, I'd tell her that it's hard to explain such a thing to a three year old, but that I will tell her about it when she has the appropriate age to tell. Like when she knows what is in bodies of people, for instance.

That is the way we always talk about things. I explain things exactly untill I come to a point that she cannot understand because she lacks maturity or background information or experience and then I switch to general terms.

It would have been different in this case (period) if I would have a boy. A boy doesn't need to know about periods and stuff untill he's much older.



Mitch8817
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12 Nov 2006, 11:12 am

As a general rule I remember my mother told me was that you only answer specifically what you've been asked, nothing more and keeping the explainations simple, conclusive and relevant. I asked my mother the classic 'where do babies come from' and she said 'out of the vagina'. There was no need to talk about sex or anything complicated at that stage because I was quite young, and I was satisfied with the answer.

Just remember to be one step ahead of peers and society in explaining these things, lest they form the wrong ideas or think of you as a 'betrayer'.



LqdCrct
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13 Nov 2006, 1:31 am

I am on DepoProvera and, like many women who are on it, I have no period at all. My quality of life went through the roof in comparison to how it was before I got on it. I wasn't allowed to get it before I was 18 but when I did, I was so happy. My emotional meltdowns were fewer and further between as well. I think PMS is far worse for girls who have ASD as well. While I don't suggest the shot specifically, especially at such a young age, I do suggest getting her on Lo-Estroven or some hormone to shorten her period when she does get it and increasing her activity level to stave it off for as long as you can beforehand. It really is a useless function at that age anyway and it just adds to the number of problems she will have to face in her teens. Pills are completely safe for preteens, my best friend has to be on pills just to regulate her cycle so she doesn't bleed to death. No problems whatsoever and we are in our late twenties now.

Oh, and if she is clinical, be clinical. The last thing you want is for her to feel her period is a "sensitive subject". She could be scarred for life. I found out two days before my first period... from my dad. He was so uncomfortable with the topic, I wanted to crawl under a rock. Also, just to warn you, AS girls might ritualize the routine of feminine hygiene at first. Might I suggest slim, flushable tampons or napkins? Tampons are safe for young girls, nothing at all like they were when I was a preteen even. And she can feel safe in that she can take them anywhere (as they are easier to carry) just in case she needs to change. They are also less messy overall if she has any phobia-like responses to "leaking" blood. Psychologically, I find tampons are better for this sort of thing - it tricks the mind a bit because one is not "catching" a leak so much as "plugging" one. Sounds weird, but it helps with any errant thoughts that might cause anxiety. Also with pads, there is the fear of spotting through to ones clothes without a tampon in place and no girl needs that kind of thing weighing on her mind, especially not when social issues are already a major hurdle.



ryansjoy
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13 Nov 2006, 7:08 am

Mitch8817 wrote:
As a general rule I remember my mother told me was that you only answer specifically what you've been asked, nothing more and keeping the explainations simple, conclusive and relevant. I asked my mother the classic 'where do babies come from' and she said 'out of the vagina'. There was no need to talk about sex or anything complicated at that stage because I was quite young, and I was satisfied with the answer.

Just remember to be one step ahead of peers and society in explaining these things, lest they form the wrong ideas or think of you as a 'betrayer'.


my son knew something when he was very young how babies were made. he was 5 and asked me. i told him I did not think he was old enough to know.. the he proceeded to tell me that he knew that a man put his weeewer in a girls thing and he thought that was how a baby was made. well I could not dispute this one. he just wanted to know how they came out. I told him he came out when they cut my stomach open and most woman have it another way.. then he cut me off and told me it was too gross to know any more.. lol..



ping-machine
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13 Nov 2006, 8:01 pm

There are some really good books out there that explain in simple, straightforward language about puberty. I know that I started puberty quite early so that by the time I knew what it was, I was already in it.

Anyway... Back on track. If you have a book about women's issues on the shelf, then your daughter can read it when she feels ready. And if she has questions, you will be there to answer tham.



Hazelwudi
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15 Nov 2006, 1:41 am

Approach it from a purely scientific standpoint. It's nothing to be ashamed of, just the basic biology of the female of our species. I first encountered the phenomenon when I was very little... I was not even in elementary school yet... and my mother was having hers. It did not escape my notice that she spent longer in the bathroom during some times of the month than other times, and that these times coincided with the appearance of strange, toilet paper wrapped things in the garbage can. It also did not escape my notice that for the few days immediately preceding the appearance of the wrapped things, she was much more temperamental than usual.

Fortunately, I did not inherit that aspect of it.... I just cramp.

In any case... yes. Basic biology.

And I'd point out that stuffing your underpants with toilet paper is at best a suboptimal stopgap until you can procure proper feminine sanitary supplies (tampons, maxi pads, or both).



Dandelion
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16 Nov 2006, 7:33 pm

My mum never told me at all. At some point I decided I should know all that stuff, and read an entire medical text on women's health at the library. Very informative, and fascinating to know the mechanics of it all (which I'm not sure my mum could have explained half so thoroughly). If your daughter is scientifically-minded, she might appreciate a similar mode of learning. Then all you need to cover are the basice matters of good hygeine.



en_una_isla
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16 Nov 2006, 9:13 pm

I agree you should approach it from a scientific perspective. Explain how is happens in animals, even, before explaining how it happens in humans.

The way I explained it (non-scientifically) to my girls, who kept seeing me "in the act" of dealing with it, is that each month there is a red baby blanket inside of every woman's uterus. If a baby is put in there the blanket thickens and warms the baby until it is ready to be born. If no baby is put in there, the blanket disintegrates and turns to watery blood, and a new blanket starts to grow. Tampons etc "catch the blood" so a new blanket can form.



ping-machine
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17 Nov 2006, 12:20 am

hehe. That's cool.



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17 Nov 2006, 12:38 am

I think the scientific explanation is best, and use the proper terms for reproductive parts. There are many great books out there for children on puberty and reproduction as well. One thing I remember my mom mentioning when I was going through puberty was the importance of hygiene especially during that time of the month. When I started my period, I already knew what would happen, so it wasn't a bit of a shock. My mom just went out and bought me some pads, and when I started on tampons, she got me my first box.


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