Sunday 31 March 2019

Autism, Puberty and Periods

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods is a very helpful book about puberty, written by an autistic adult. It is particularly relevant for us as we have an autistic girl, and I know there are so many more families out there who will benefit from this.
front cover of new book autism-friendly guide to periods
Periods are a topic which us Brits tend to shy away from, or talk about only in hushed tones. That is strange, considering it's a bodily function which roughly half of the population have to experience - it's hardly a big secret!
This stage of puberty has been on my mind for a while. I talked about it with our autistic girl a few years ago but wasn't quite sure how much of what I said had sunk in, so recently I attempted to bring it up in conversation again. She was understandably quite anxious and didn't want me to go into too much detail, so that in turn left me feeling anxious about how she would cope with the changes ahead.

This book is fantastic - matter-of-fact, plenty of detail and images which can be covered by flaps to help those who don't feel quite so confident about it. You can preview some of the pages if you check out the Look Inside function on Amazon before buying.  Robyn explains why she developed this book in her recent article in the Metro.

It's important to talk girls through all the sanitary options which are available to them, so that they can make a choice about what they will feel most comfortable with themselves. I like to think that if I had boys I would explain to them what the girls have to go through; the boys may not need quite the same level of detail but not letting it remain a complete mystery would help them to understand girls better.
WUKA* (love that this stands for Wake Up Kick Ass!) sent us some period pants to review. Period underwear wasn't around when I was a young girl, or if it was I'd never heard of it, but I definitely wish it had been! An environmentally friendly option, and for our autistic girl quite possibly an easier and more suitable way of managing the stress of periods. 
Wuka period pants
WUKA is made up of 4 layers of fabric; inner and outer layers are made of soft, breathable, moisture wicking and luxurious Lenzing ® MicroModal fabric, then central layers include an absorbent layer unique to this underwear, which absorbs blood locks it in. WUKA Heavy has anti-bacterial properties and can hold 4 tampons worth blood (at least), around 20ml, while WUKA Light can hold 1 tampons worth of blood (at least), around 5-7ml of blood. Theres also the leak proof layer which prevents the blood from passing through the underwear, but allows airflow so is breathable and also prevents sweating. The inner layer of fabric has antibacterial properties which helps to prevent the odour and bacterial growth. The underwear is machine washable at 40 degrees but one thing to bear in mind is that they need to air dry and due to the extra absorbency, this will take longer than regular underwear.

The WUKA website also has a lot more information on periods which could be useful for those who like to read more detail. It covers topics such as cramps, spotting, relationships, vaginal discharge and bloating, and is well worth a read for any woman.

As adults these days, I think most of us are more aware of the need to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we use, and avoiding sending even more rubbish to landfill should be high on our lists of priorities. I do try to make changes wherever I can, and am hopeful that this will be one ongoing solution which we can help to make more people aware of. Some people may be put off by the initial outlay needed to try this underwear rather than pads, but if you consider the monthly cost which builds up as you use throwaway pads, then this is a no-brainer. It's certainly an option which I feel is worth investing in.

WUKA is now kindly offering all my blog readers a 10% discount off their period wear. Just use the code WUKAFORGIRLS at the checkout on their website!

* Disclosure: I wasn't paid to talk about this product but we were gifted some pairs to try.

For more information about PDA, please read the book shown below: 
* this is an affiliate link and I may receive a small commission if you click and go on to buy anything. It won't cost you any extra.
Book cover for Understanding pathological demand avoidance syndrome in children, by Phil christie, margaret duncan, zara healy and ruth fidler
(Other PDA books can be found in my 

To find out more about our experiences, please check out our 'About Us' page or the summary of our experience in Our PDA Story Week 35. If you are looking for more online reading about Pathological Demand Avoidance, the posts below may help.

What is PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)?

Ten things you need to know about Pathological Demand Avoidance

Does my child have Pathological Demand Avoidance?

The difference between PDA and ODD

Strategies for PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

Pathological Demand Avoidance: Strategies for Schools

Challenging Behaviour and PDA

Is Pathological Demand Avoidance real?

Autism with demand avoidance or Pathological Demand Avoidance?

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