How To Manage Your Periods When You Have Autism Disorders
Managing Periods with Children Having ADS!!!
Menstruation is a unique phenomenon to women and we have almost 40 crores of menstruating women in India. Introducing this topic to girls is tough but just imagine how daunting it could be while introducing to an autistic girl.
It’s a tough and challenging task for a mother to introduce the concept of mensuration to her autistic daughter, how she would react the first time seeing bloodstains, and the use of sanitary pads, and blood flow? How will they go to accept this change in their body? Will menstruation be accepted?
Introduce The Concept of Menstruation Early
Introduce the topic of menstruation much earlier like one to two years before you expect her periods may occur. Give her beforehand practice to allow the girl to get acquainted with the vocabulary menstruation and practice routines. Teaching in advance how to put on a pad and proper disposal of the pad with visual support would certainly help her accept it as a normal process in the future.
Teach them it’s just part of what your body does, something that is supposed to come out of your body, just like saliva, similarly, womb lining comes out regularly when you have periods. So you will not be harmed by throwing out blood during these days, so no need to be scared.
Creating A Rite of Passage
Celebration and making an event a kindred one will make your girl look forward to and not to be feared.
Teaching them about periods in advance before the time we thought she might get her period, that menstruation is a sign of growing up, moving towards independence, and making more of your own choices. Parents can create their rites of passage. Maybe going out for a special treat, or moving time together.
Avoid Negative language
Avoiding cursing and using negative language like “the curse” around menstruation can influence how our girls feel about it too. Girls with ASD are hard to accept transitions and fear so it becomes imperative to make menstruation part of our dialogue with our children. Preparing her in advance is key to easing anxiety.
Practise Visual Aids To Create Predictability
People with ASD don’t like surprises; rather they like to predict more, so preparing them with visual highlights of a 28-day cycle will save you from useless anxieties and help to ease the child during the actual onset of periods.
It may take a few cycles to become regular, but the calendar will provide a place to start. Make your daughter aware of ovulation, what it actually means, and it's time to mark ovulation on Day 14 since there is a change in discharge at that time. Teach them how you become sexually reproductive to bear a child at this stage. So, mind these days carefully.
Talk About Social Protocols
It’s normal to talk about menstruation but teaching children with ASD the right time and place are highly important. Teaching them boundaries earlier will save you from getting embarrassed in the future. It is a social norm, social etiquette and it is not something to be announced every month. Inform school authorities in case the child needs assistance over it and make sure the staff is supportive enough to handle your child with love and understanding. Parents can refer to some good books mentioning menstruation hygiene, personal safety, self-esteem, and healthy sexuality to children with ASD.
Speak to them openly that it is the time you are building a sense of what their gender is - gender is what this means culturally. So exploring mensural issues around this time has become a need of an hour. It also helps to address many self-esteem issues.