Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Name:  Cindy Ring, MSW, LSW
Expert Title: MSW, LSW
Company Name:  Step By Step Inc.
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
Short Bio: Cindy is a clinical administrative associate with Step By Step Inc. Her responsibilities include designing research studies, protocols and evaluation tools, data collection and analysis and writing and editing grants and reports. Cindy is a member of the National Psychology Honor Society and a licensed social worker. She holds an MSW in Social Work Administration from Ohio State University, a BS in Psychology from Wright State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Forensic Psychology from Walden University.

How Do I Talk to My Soon-to-be Teen About Puberty?

So, you have been going along with life and you just realized: Woah! My child is almost a teen and he or she needs to know some stuff that I haven’t even thought about discussing! So, here are some ways to explain and discuss the changes of puberty with your almost adolescent with autism:

  • Find a format that he or she understands best- this can be pictures, movies, drawings, written words, or just plain conversation. If your child doesn’t understand what you are telling him or her or if it just seems like more boring mom or dad talk, he or she will not get this crucial information. Observe your child to see how he or she learns best.
  • Social stories are awesome! Create or find some social stories about the tough things like sexual feelings, masturbation, menstruation, etc. Your child has every right to this information and social stories are often a great way to discuss these things in an easy to understand (and less embarrassing) format!
  • Let your child know that he or she can always ask questions and if you don’t know the answer, you will find out for him or her. Children often don’t know who to ask these tough questions and it’s great if mom, dad, or both can be the source of that information rather than the internet or peers.
  • Let your providers help if you feel comfortable with this- sometimes paraprofessionals or professionals are really good at explaining these kinds of things to the people they work with and, if you feel comfortable, this may be a great way to get this information to your child in a way he or she can understand.
  • Find a good social skills/independent living skills group that teaches about puberty and beyond. Sometimes these groups address this topic and some children find it easier to talk about this in a group format.
  • Look for helpful books- Look for books about puberty that are close to your child’s reading level or that you can read to him or her. Make sure they are written in a way that your child can easily understand.

Good Luck! This topic is tough for many parents, but it is information your child needs to know so that he or she is prepared for adolescence and then adult living. Make sure you are a part of how that information gets distributed to him or her!