“Yeah buddy, I am on a call, hold on second”.

Then I heard the three words I wasn’t quite prepared for… “What is puberty?”

Once I got off the call, I walked slowly into my son’s room, trying to conjure up the right words.  Words that would give him enough information, yet not overwhelm.  I saw him lying on his bed, reading one of his “Big Nate” books.  Apparently, the topic was raised in the pages of this tween novel. 

“Mom, what’s puberty?”

I took a deep breath and responded… ”puberty is when your body changes.  This happens to everyone.  It means you’re growing up.”

He looked at me curious. 

I was hoping it would end there, at least until I could construct a well thought out narrative. 

“Like what changes”?

At this point, I needed to take seat. 

“Well buddy, you grow hair in places like on your face, under your arms, and on your legs.”

“And then what?” 

“Your voice gets deeper.”

“Like how?”

I began to talk in a low man’s voice…he laughed, and went back to reading his book. 

I quickly exited stage right, knowing I needed to gather some intel stat because this topic would (and should) emerge again soon.

So the type-A planner in me, started to dive into the research, knowing I had to start from scratch because a) I am not a boy and b)I had to figure out a way to deliver the information I find, in a way the Autistic brain could properly understand. 

Puberty is a topic all parents are confronted with as their children grow up. However, this topic becomes a bit more complex for parents raising children with Autism.

As I mentioned in some of my past blogs, my son has sensory processing issues.  He’s a sensory seeker, meaning he seeks more sensory stimulation to self-regulate.  So he smells, touches, and sometimes tastes things that are deemed inappropriate. His team at school is trying to teach him about appropriate and inappropriate seeking.  But you see where I am going here, right (ie. sensory seeking and the certain body sensations that come with puberty= shitshow)? Sensory challenges add just another complex layer to the puberty process.

Whatever narrative I end up delivering to Kellan, I must speak clearly to those things that might pose a challenge (ie. body hair, pimples, erections, etc.).  I am just starting to put a plan in place, beginning with really simple social stories (FYI – for those of you that are unaware, social stories are simple, laid out, step-by-step story scenarios that are basically the go-to for every parent raising an autistic child).  I came across this one below, which I liked.  Simple enough, yet informative.  

More to come on this journey towards puberty.  In the meantime, wish me luck, or better yet, send booze 😉. 

PS: If any of you parents care to share how you best explained puberty to your boys, I am all ears.

Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 9-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.

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