Over the summer, I got the SHOCK of my life!!! I was NOT ready for it. I thought I had another year or 2 or 3! But I didn’t. 🙁 One day, I had to go into the bathroom to get laundry and A (11 years old at the time) was taking a shower. Needless to say, I should have stayed out. That is when I found out!! A was full-on hitting puberty!!! I about threw up!!! First off, It makes me feel old.. Secondly, I didn’t want him to grow up!! I mean, I do, but I don’t! (I know.. I’m nuts, but I KNOW you feel the same!!) A had started inappropriately touching himself and I had to sit him down and have ‘The Talk’ with him. Of course, its hard to have ‘The Talk’ with a child that may be and look 11 years old, but has the mind of a 6-year-old. So we had to talk about it in his language (check below for more about ‘The Talk’).
From all the books and online articles that I have read, It states that children that have autism end up hitting puberty earlier. Some kids experience this and have no problems. While others have a hard time with it. For my son, he had a very hard time with it (and still does). A had a lot of emotions that he can’t understand. He has a lot of anger and frustration and he doesn’t understand how to feel or handle it. Puberty is a ‘bitch’. Sorry for my foul language. But its true. Just when I thought I had autism under control, puberty came into play and I lost control again. He is 12 now and working towards 13 and we still do not have puberty under control. I am still trying to rein in his out of control emotions. It is a hard process.
Signs your Son has Hit Puberty:
- Growth spurts
- Appearance of facial hair
- Broadening of shoulder muscles, development of chest muscles
- Body odor
- Pimples or facial breakouts
- Hair growth in pubic area and underarm area
- Growth of testicles
- Erections or wet dreams
- Deepening of the voice, although this is more likely in the later stages of puberty
- Interest in the opposite sex
- Mood changes
- Anxiety or excitement about the changes he’s going through
- Less talkative and open with parents
- Shy, nervousness around girls, or flirtatious with girls
Signs your Daughter has Hit Puberty:
- Growth Spurts
- Body shape changes as body fat accumulates around the hips, and thighs, giving girls a curvier shape.
- Breast development
- Body odor and skin breakouts due to increased oil gland production.
- Hair growth in the underarm area, on the legs and in the pubic area.
- Menstruation begins, typically around the age of 12.
- Mood swings may begin, punctuated with bouts of anger, sadness, and other emotional fluctuations.
- Romantic feelings and interest in the opposite sex.
- Anxiety and/or excitement about the changes she is going through.
- Concerns over increased responsibility, fitting in socially, and separating from her parents.
I highly recommend you reading ‘Autism – Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond By:Jerry Newport and Mary Newport ‘. This book is for OLDER autistic adults. BUT you should read it to help guide you with ‘The Talk’ (if you are having problems). It is written by a husband and wife couple that both have autism. So it speaks about how they overcome some of the problems they face as well. It will help if they read it when they get older.
Also check out Autism Speaks Transition tool kits. They have loads of information for you.