Teaching Autism Puberty can be a difficult topic for parents and teens. The body and hormones are changing, the teen will experience different emotions and, may not understand what is fully happening to them. Many parents report this period can
be extremely challenging. While every families experience will be different, I have put together a general list of tips to help through this transitional period. Additionally, I have created a series of Free Autism Puberty Social Stories for The Boy and Girl to help you introduce the topic with your teen and to explain specific details.
The Free Autism Puberty Social Stories can be used by Parents, Special Education Teachers and Therapists at home, at school as part of a Health Program or an ABA Program. Some of the books contain graphic pictures, please view the Free Autism Puberty Social Stories to decide if it is appropriate for your teen.
My own son is going through Puberty and while there are resources available, I found I had to look many places to find what I was looking for in terms teaching tools. Some curriculum is for the parent and others was very high language. Putting all the pieces together can be time consuming. I hope these stories will be helpful. Also in production is a guide of topics to teach to your teen. It will be ready soon.
I created the social stories in girl and boy versions. This topic is very important and, it is important for the each gender to be able to relate to the pictures. In my research, I found there are not many resources geared towards the girl. It is important to balance this equation.
The Different Free Autism Puberty Social Stories are:
These books talk about when and where your teen can touch themselves, the difference between public and private and, what happens if someone else touches you. Use the free social story to talk more in-depth of each of the topics. I would recommend teaching your teen it is okay to touch yourself in their bedroom and not teach a bathroom. This is to help your teen not to think it is okay to touch themselves in a public bathroom or a friends bathroom , if the teen has trouble differentiating between their private bathroom or a public bathroom. The difference between the girl and boy version is the main character is gender specific.
My own son, Niam had difficulty learning about the subject of touch, what is appropriate touch , what is not appropriate touch, public vs private space, who can touch you and who cannot touch you. If you stop to think about it , there is a lot for a teen to learn and remember. These free visual social stories were designed to help in this particular area.
This book has graphic pictures. It explicitly shows the boy private body parts, or the girls private body parts. It discusses what will happen when your teen masturbates, how they will feel, is it okay and reinforces the concept of private vs public places.
This is an important subject for boys to learn. This book reinforces some key issues of public vs private space, discusses what is an erection and, other important topics.
These books specifically explain what will happen when you teen goes through puberty. For example, hair growth, body changes, voice changes and so fourth. Each books is specific to its gender with pictures specifically relating to the girl or boy teen.
It is important to teach your child to put on deodorant as part of their morning routine. This book explains when to put on deodorant and the different types of deodorant. Find the one that is best suited for your child. You may have to work on sensory issues.
Teaching young girls about periods can be difficult. It can be a scary experience. These two books explain what happens when you get your period, what to expect and how to wear a pad.
Wearing A Bra Can Be difficult and pose sensory issues. Learning why, when and how you have to wear a bra is important for understanding Puberty. This book explains many practical issues a girl going through puberty will encounter.
5 HELPFUL TIPS TO TEACH AUTISM PUBERTY TO YOUR TEEN
1. PREPARE YOURSELF IN ADVANCE OF THE PUBERTY STAGE.
Don’t wait for puberty to hit before you start gathering material on how to deal with puberty. I educated myself on the number of issues my teen could face years in advance. I spoke to parents who were going through the stage or who have passed the stage to gather their experiences.
2. I STARTED TO TEACHING MY CHILD ABOUT PUBERTY BEFORE IT HAPPENED.
Don’t wait for puberty to happen to start educating your child. I started Niam years before puberty began for my son. I started teaching my private vs public space. Teaching and insisting he close the door to his room when he is changing his clothes. I began reading stories to him about body changes. There is no right or wrong answer as to how prepared your child needs to be, it is a personal decision.
3. TEACH THE CONCEPTS OF PUBLIC VS PRIVATE.
This is one of the most important skills you can teach your child. Defining what is public space and private space is very important. I defined private space meaning Niam’s bedroom with the door closed. It is also important to define private body parts ( body parts that need to be covered) vs. body parts that can be exposed in public. I taught no one can touch private body parts but Niam. If someone touches Niam’s private parts he has to tell mommy. All these concepts touched upon and introduced in the various social stories. The social stories will introduce the topic and you can use them to teach the concepts in more depth.
4. TEACH THE INFORMATION MULTIPLE TIMES AND REINFORCE IN DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT.
Your teen may not understand the first time you are teaching various puberty concepts. It may take time. Be patient and calm. Teach slowly. Reread the social stories. You may need to make different prompts. For example you can put signs up on doors that say private space, public space to help teach your child various concepts. When you are out in the environment use the opportunity to reinforce concepts. For example, this is a public space, we do not touch our private parts in public spaces. Ask your child what are his/her private parts?
5. BE SUPPORTIVE ALL THE TIME
There are many ways you can be supportive. This can vary from working with the school teacher about teaching puberty, teaching to say No, making your teen independent or or understanding themselves. I had to work with Niam’s teacher at school to ensure he put on deodorant after gym. I would remind him everyday before he went to school and ask him if he put it on when he came home from school. Teaching to say No is very important but be careful it could backfire, Niam loves the word No now. Sigh. Nonetheless, it is important to teach your child to say No , make a hand gesture or learn to push someone away if they are touching them inappropriately. Niam can take a shower by himself , put on deodorant, change himself and do many important life skills. It is important to teach as much independence as possible. Don’t do anything for your teen that you are sure they can do for themselves.
Most important never stop teaching and support your child as much as possible. It is a difficult time when your teen has to understand all the changes that are happening in their body.
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