• Autism Help UK

Your Changing Body: Autistic Girls and Period

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Having your first period is a significant milestone in any women's life. However, it can be scary if you don't understand what's going on. Periods are usually taught for one session during primary school, how well the lesson is taught can vary. So, it is usually best to have a one-on-one with your autistic daughter to help her understand what is to come. Here are some tips to help.

autistic girl and period

The Concern

Whilst most girls start their periods at 12, some can start as early as 8. This means that the period talk in primary school comes too late for them. This can leave younger autistic girls feeling scared about what they are going through and turn periods into a nightmare.

As well as this, the menstruation cycle can make challenges autistic girls are already facing, even worse. This includes:

  • sensory overload- Periods include a lot of different senses including blood flowing out of the vagina, the different odours, using and disposing of sanitary products, and cramps.

  • hormones- feeling irritable, having mood swings, and feeling more tender can make senses feel even more intense and create further social disconnect.

  • change- the menstruation cycle can change overtime. Some periods may be longer and others heavier. It isn't predictable, this can make periods difficult to cope with for autistic women.

Autistic people need more time to understand and feel comfortable with change. This is especially helpful when dealing with personal development. So, explaining periods to your autistic daughter at a young age can help them prepare for this. You have the opportunity to turn menstruation into an empowering experience and help her feel confident instead of creating it into a taboo topic. Here are some tips to help you explain periods to your daughter.

Autism doesn't affect when a period will start.


Tips To Help

To help explain the menstruation cycle and periods to your daughter in an empowering way, here are a few tips to help.

1. Social Story

Social stories are a great way for autistic girls to understand what they will go through when they are on their period. You can show these to your daughter overtime to help prepare her for her first period.

Some social story topics you could look at with your daughter include:

  • the menstruation cycle

  • what happens during a period

  • why periods happen

  • hormonal changes

  • sanitary products

2. Positive Language

When discussing periods, remember to use positive language so you don't frighten your daughter. Children can pick up on your emotions and language around periods which will influence how they feel about it.

3. Rite Of Passage

Turning periods into a rite of passage can show your daughter that periods are an expected part of life and isn't to be feared but to be glad about. It is up to you how you celebrate this occasion, just make sure that it is something your daughter will enjoy. This could be letting your daughter stay up a bit later, a little keepsake present, a celebratory meal, anything that will be meaningful to your daughter and help bring in positivity to the experience.

4. Calendar

Even though periods aren't predictable, they do tend to take place every 28 days. Getting your daughter a period calendar can help them prepare for it. You can mark on their calendar when they should be on their period to raise their awareness.

5. Sanitary Products

Your daughter will need to understand what sanitary products she can use and which one she will feel most comfortable with. You could both have a look online or in store to decide what's best for her.

It can be useful to have an app or prompts for using sanitary products correctly, such as how to use them, the best suited product for flow level, and when to change them. This can help your daughter avoid health issues that can come from improper use of sanitary products, such as toxic shock syndrome from tampons.

2,644 views0 comments