Puberty and autism spectrum disorders

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puberty and autism spectrum disorders

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER: HOW TO TEACH ABOUT PUBERTY, RELATIONSHIPS & SEXUAL HEALTH: A 10-Step Guide by Teri Krakovich

Are you a parent or caregiver of a teenager or young adult with Autism?
Confused on where to start when teaching the basics of puberty, anatomy, and sexual reproduction to your child or client?
This 10-step guide will assist you on your way, by breaking down material into straight-forward lessons that are adaptable for individuals with different levels of previous knowledge.
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Published 07.01.2019

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Children with autism spectrum disorder ASD often need more time than typically developing children to adjust to and understand changes in their lives. There might also be other things that influence your decision.
Teri Krakovich

PUBERTY & AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Please enter your location to help us display the correct information for your area. These changes can be tough for anyone. But for kids on the autism spectrum and their families, this time can be particularly challenging. When boys hit puberty, the voice lowers in pitch and the penis grows larger. When girls reach puberty, breasts grow larger, menstruation starts. In both sexes, puberty brings the growth of pubic and armpit hair and an increased tendency for acne.

Puberty is a stage of development just like moving from being an infant to a toddler. Puberty is considered to begin around age 12 for girls and age 14 for boys. The physical changes of puberty are centered on the development of secondary characteristics and the onset of menstruation in girls and ejaculation in boys. For girls, the physical changes usually begin between ages 7 and Girls begin to have growth spurts, develop breasts, pubic and underarm hair, and have vaginal discharge.

Adolescence, the transition between childhood and adulthood, is a period of remarkable physiological, psychological and social change. A variety of physiological changes coincide with the dynamic transition, which is evident in the regulation and responsivity of the Limbic-Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical LHPA axis. Specifically, elevations in diurnal basal cortisol levels have been reported, as well as higher cortisol in response to perceived stressors. While this enhanced responsivity may help prepare the individual to adapt to increased demands and new challenges, it may also mark a time of increased vulnerability in populations already prone to enhanced physiological arousal and poor adaption to change, such as autism. To date most studies investigating the integrity of the LHPA axis in children with autism spectrum disorders ASD have shown more variable diurnal regulation and a pattern of enhanced responsivity to stress. There is also evidence of more marked reactivity over development suggesting that adolescence may be a time of increased risk for enhanced physiological arousal and social stress. The following review briefly summarizes the literature to date on autism, adolescence and salivary cortisol.

During puberty, teens experience changes in their bodies, become But for kids on the autism spectrum and their families, this time can be.
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Boys become men. Girls become women. The changes of puberty happen slowly. When things change, it can feel a little scary, but knowing what to expect can help you feel better. When you have questions, ask your mom, dad, doctor, or another trusted adult. First, the skin on your face will get oily and you may get pimples on your face. Your voice will sound lower.

Here are some ideas for talking to your child about puberty, sex, sexuality and relationships, as well as links to some useful resources. By working with the school, you will help to ensure consistency between school and home explanations. You might decide that these lessons are paced inappropriately for your child. Children on the autism spectrum often need a longer period of time to adjust to and understand any changes in their lives. Your child may do things that will be considered inappropriate as an adolescent or adult, eg removing their clothes at unexpected moments.

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