Autism and Puberty
It’s bad enough that our “babies” are becoming young adults, but now we’ve got to figure out how to explain
to them what is happening to their bodies and what sex (mating) and dating are all about. Great. I don’t
even know what’s going on so how can I explain it to my teenage son (just kidding, sort of)?
Jake’s closest question to dating so far has been “… I was married to somebody in Minecraft and then they
divorced me and I’ve asked lots of other people to marry me but they won’t… why won’t anybody marry me?”
This, mind-you, is an online group video game where none of these people know each other and the only way
they’d even know genders is if their player name is indicative. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how
people select spouses on Minecraft!
Teen Years, Puberty and Autism – Vince Redmond, MA, MFT, Regional Director C.A.R.D.
It is frightening to think about sex education for our Autistic teens. Explaining how everything changes
physically, about courtships, making the right choices, wooing somebody they are attracted to, dating, etc.
This is the big “game”. How can you explain to someone that has difficulty understanding another person’s
mood the subtle communications, the eyelash flutters and hair-twisting, fidgeting and the magical hand-
brushing of flirting. And what about appropriate times for phone calls, texting handholding and kissing?
They’ve got new body hair, and new weight and breasts and menstrual cycles and now they have to shave and
wear deodorant and on and on… what happened to the days when we were debating over the necessities of
wearing shoes with strings that had to be tied?
While we pontificate about the “structure” and “transitioning” they need and that they don’t like “change”,
which is what puberty is all about, the truth is that any teenager going through puberty is a bumpy ride.
The best we can hope for is to smooth the road as much as possible by educating ourselves and educating our
It’s a given that they have to wait until they are older and more mature to engage in sexual relations, the
same as what we want for our neuro-typical teens, right? However unfortunately they will learn the pain of
rejection and heartbreak and disappointment along the way.
We cannot shield them from a broken heart, we can only try to help them to understand and cope with it the
best way possible. Sigh. The angst of youth.
You can also visit YouTube to see the full video here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThLZLYMJpsI)
Great resource website for “Autusim Sexuality, Puberty and Hygiene” at (http://www.autismhelp.info/teen/sexuality-puberty-and-hygiene/categories,id,450,1-1.aspx)
and also visit (www.TeenAutism.com)