Last week we talked about the guilt a parent can experience with having a child suffering from  complex health needs like autism, this week Freedom Care are going to look at the difficulties families undergo with a child hitting puberty who suffers from this condition.

Puberty - quality health careIt has been said that children suffering from autism can start puberty much earlier which can be a difficult time for not just the sufferer, but those that care for them as well.  The effects of change in hormones can be difficult for anyone to deal with, but for those children with complex health needs it can be a very unsettling time.  The sudden surge in hormones can result in violent and unpredictable behaviour and can cause depression.

Holly Robinson-Peete, a mother of a 13 year old boy with Autism explains that although their son has made significant progress over the years, hitting the teenage years has been difficult: “We always always remain extremely hopeful and have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams with what he has been able to overcome to this point. But puberty has been a challenge more parents need to be prepared for. It can be a completely different dynamic at this age.”

Ordinarily you would talk to a child about puberty and the effects it has on the body, however due to the very nature of autism it makes it really difficult to do this.  The issue of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), which includes Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), are addressed in school classes starting in primary school from the age of 9.  Sufferers of ASD can often take longer to adjust to changes in their lives.  Look at your child’s behaviour and whether it’s appropriate in social situations, like removing their clothes unexpectedly.  By addressing social factors like this early on it will alleviate some of the pressure once they hit puberty.

Make yourself available to answer questions and give honest answers, yet don’t be afraid to answer “I don’t know.” There are many organisation that can provide help and advise on this very topic including National Autism Society which can be found at www.autism.org.uk

Freedom Care offers quality health care for individuals suffering from mental health disorders like Autism and Aspergers.  Our specialist care homes allow our residents to develop their skills in a safe environment.  For more information on how we can help a loved one, please contact us here.

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