Preparing any young woman for her period can be a scary and uncertain task. Menstruation, although a fact of life, is one of those topics that can be uncomfortable for anyone.
This topic can be especially difficult for mothers of girls with autism who may feel concerned for their daughter in regards to maintaining hygiene, understanding the reasons behind menstruation, interrupting routines, and more.
This is why it is important to have a game plan before this transition into womanhood actually arrives. It’s also essential to consider the unique necessities you need to take to ensure that you prepare a girl with autism for her period.
Talk to Her Before She Hits Puberty
It’s especially important to talk to a girl with autism about her period before puberty. Most girls start their periods between 10 and 15 years old. This is why 10 is a good age to have an honest discussion.
Since visuals are powerful for many people on the autism spectrum, it might be a good idea to get a book with a simplified explanation. Use this book to initiate questions and propel the discussion.
Highlight the causes and symptoms of menstruation in straightforward short sentences.
Women get periods around once a month.
Once they get a period, they are able to become pregnant.
Every month, they release blood if they do not become pregnant.
Sometimes when you get your period, you can get cranky.
Sometimes during menstruation, you get cramps, etc.
These sentences are bound to raise some confusion, and it is important to answer any questions during this time. Also, make sure to be direct and to the point; this will benefit a girl on the spectrum who will most likely not want to hear the awkward and abstract language, but will prefer concrete facts.
Language sometimes gets confusing for people on the autism spectrum, and sometimes they respond to and understand visuals better than words. You could create a poster that describes what causes a period.
You also could create a step-by-step poster on what to do once you get your period. These visuals could serve as reminders when menstruation actually begins.
Practice What to Do When She Does Get Her Period
People on the spectrum are usually very much into predictability and routines. This is why it is important to show tampons and pads before her period starts and show her how they work. She can also practice wearing a pad in order to get comfortable with this beforehand.
It might also be a good idea to get and show her an app that keeps track of her period, so she can understand the cycles with another visual. This is another aid that will prepare her when she actually starts her period.
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Tell Her How to Deal With Her Period in Social Situations
Don’t forget to prepare a young girl with autism for social protocols around her period. For example, tell her that a period is very personal, and you should not talk about it in public.
Also, talk about how often you need to changed pads and tampons and the hygiene that goes along with menstruation. You could even provide scenarios in which she could role play and tell you what she should do in certain social situations.
As shown above, there are active steps you can take to prepare a girl with autism for her period. Taking these steps well in advance could provide a young girl with autism the smooth transition and predictability she needs for her very first period.