Autism and Puberty

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The title of today’s blog alone makes me cringe, but it is a reality that I must face with Sydney.  Discussing puberty with typical children is tough enough.  Now place yourself in my situation explaining these changes to Syd.  Now I can’t forget about Harrison and puberty.  I just gave him a book to read and told him to write his questions down on index cards and slide them under my door.  And that I will get back to him later with the answers. I think he was fine with that.

Many of you know that I track everything for Sydney. From her seizures, sleep patterns, diet, meltdowns, to her bowel movements you name it.  Lately, I have noticed that her mood would change dramatically one week out of the month.  She would be grumpy, craving chocolate and giving me much attitude. One day it hit me that my baby girl was “pmssing”.

Due to her epilepsy, the frequency of her seizures would increase with the onset of puberty.  After speaking with her doctors, they informed me that her behaviors may change also.  This was because she was not comfortable with what is happening with her body. A wonderful friend gave us the book The Care of Keeping You, The Body Book for Girls by American Girls.

We have been reading the book together.  I was told that her symptoms could last up to a year before “Aunt Flo” like we used to call it comes to visit each month. Will she be ready? Will I be ready? Only God knows the answer.  You know on Cheers, where everyone knew Norm when he walked into the bar?  Well, everyone at Krestons Wine and Spirit will all know my name when I enter from now on.

What worries me the most is the news of increased cases of people with disabilities being taken advantage of and sexually abused.  I think that she understands that only mommy and a doctor should see her body parts that are covered by a bathing suit.  Sydney does have a great right hook and karate kick so I pray she can handle herself. I cant’ help but check her body like I am  Olivia Benson on SVU when she gets home.

This is when I need my village to help support, train, and create social stories to help Sydney when the time comes. She will need extra help  at school.  Everyone that I’ve talked with whose child has experienced this already, says that Sydney will be fine.  The question is will Sydney’s mommy be ready? This is a part of life. Part of me is sad that my baby girl is growing up.

And this to shall pass.

~Brooke

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