Puberty can be a challenging time for all young people, with bodily changes, hormones, and increasingly complex social situations to deal with. Some of these will present particular difficulties for autistic young people, and they are likely to require more detailed education about puberty, relationships, and sex than their neurotypical peers.
How parents can help
If your young person is learning about puberty, sex and relationships, any information that is given to them should be clear and literal. It's helpful to have open discussions about these topics, where your child can ask any questions without embarrassment. There are also practical things that are important for young people to know about, such as the need to wash regularly, how to shave or manage periods. When talking about sexual relationships, stress the message that your child should never have to do anything they do not feel comfortable with.
Some autistic young people may struggle with the idea of their bodies changing, and this can cause anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health difficulties. Talking to your young person about these changes, and explaining that they are natural and happen to everyone, can help. Speak to your GP or another health professional, if you think that your child may have mental health problems relating to this.
You can find more resources about autism and puberty by clicking on the links below.