Autism and puberty

Last summer….it all began.

Sigh…because you know puberty isn’t already hard enough for neurotypical children ooh no mother nature decided to bless Cecelia by starting up those hormones at 7 years old…well and into 8 as her birthday is in the summer.

The hormones kicked in and things are developing.  She’s become an unpredictable walking 100 lb emotional disaster area.  Weepy, obstinate,  clingy,  hypersensitive,  loud, bossy, opinionated,  defiant little creature.

I knew hormones would start brewing with puberty but it didn’t occur to me that her hormone shifts (premenstruation) would sinc with mine.  Because when you’re a single mom dealing with “Aunt Flow” visiting with PMS and crampy bitchiness THAT is the perfect time to have a pubescent autistic daughter get all hormonal and emotional.

Truly…why not? Talk about patience trying!

At first I was in denial.  No surely it’s too soon! She’s only 8! She’s just getting a little pudgy…and it happens to be centered in her chest! Yeah! Yeah!  That’s it!!! Oh our life’s so busy…just pretend it’s not happening. ..if I ignore it…it’ll go away….

NOT! Things are still growing,  her hormones aren’t stopping. Time to face reality. ..puberty is here.

Sigh…

Okay time to acknowledge what’s happening.  Can’t deny it…ignoring isn’t working…pretending to be too busy isn’t making things stop.

Time to plan.  How does one prepare an autistic 8 year old girl for puberty and menstruation? 

Started off doing some online research.  Lots of reading, lots of thinking. Lots of talking to Cecelia’s “team” (teachers, therapists, staff etc.)

We’re working on social stories. I’m openly talking about menstruation and no longer hiding mine.  I do a lot of talking about what’s going on while I’m menstruating.  I know, I know…TMI?

But if I don’t talk about it…who will? We’re going to start practice periods once a month now. Originally I’d thought a preset schedule was the way to go. Set up 3 days a month and have a practice period.

But life’s not that way. Aunt Flow comes when she comes and Cecelia needs to be prepared to deal with periods in all situations.  At schools, home, therapies,  after school etc. 

So I’ve nixed the schedule and will make them happen to occur across the board so we’re all helping her and getting practice before the fateful day arrives.

Three days of practice changing pads every two hours, spontaneous texts saying she’s had a leak and needs to change her clothes. Sigh…

I meant to start over the holiday break but wanted to make sure her entire team was on board and all questions are answered.

I’d love to hear how other parents of autistic girls have dealt with this. Suggestions? Thoughts?

Posted in autism, Awareness, disability, family, parenting, puberty | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Holidays

Well today is our last day of our holiday break. It’s been a great break with lots of road trips and running around wasting gas….I mean enjoying our new SUV.

We’re enjoying this break to the fullest as we’re on a weekend away in Anchorage. I received a gift certificate for a free night at our favorite hotel so I surprised the girls yesterday and drove up.

Here are a few pictures of this holiday season.  Hope y’all have had a great holiday also!

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Wet to Anchorage just to enjoy our free hotel stay. Spent a lot of time in the pool and enjoying room service ;-)

Bought Glenna a life vest so now she no longer sinks like a rock. She’s very happy in the pool now and not so nervous.

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Convinced the girls that Santa enjoyed a piece of cake and rest at our house since he knew he didn’t have to bring us any presents because he’d already helped us get a new SUV and couch.

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Love our new SUV! Do nice having the freedom to drive now.

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Glenna and I painting ceramics. Some nice time just her and I while Cecelia wad at respite.

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Perseverance

I dub thee “Perseverance”

per·se·ver·ance
ˌpərsəˈvirəns/
noun
steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

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Percy for short. Fitting don’t ya think? 

Posted in Ann Strongheart, autism, Domestic Violence, family, parenting | Tagged | 1 Comment

Merry Christmas to me!

After 6 years of struggling since Segundo died suddenly…. I’m finally at a point where I can buy myself a new SUV.

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She’s (yes she’s a girl, not sure if she has a name yet maybe Serendipity 2?) amazing. We picked her up today in Anchorage. Now we’re enjoying a night in the hotel and doing some Christmas shopping.

She’s so peppy and speedy. I’m in love. She’s so modern, even has her own WiFi included. Sitting here in the hotel tonight reading her manual.

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Tomorrow we’ll do a Costco run and then head home.

Life is awesome.

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Sensory Santa aka total awesomeness!

http://sewardcitynews.com/2015/12/an-even-more-caring-santa/ 

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Posted in autism, Christmas, disability, family, parenting, single mom | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Holidays

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2nd times a charm!

What an amazing day! Cecelia has been ASKING to go back to the Seward Sealife Center for a couple weeks now. 

Surprising since it took her 45 minutes to step in the door last time. But since she was asking we had to go again. Had to see how she did. She was so excited. 

She did SOOOOOOOO amazing that we bought an annual pass today.  Now we can go anytime we want with free admission!  I’m so proud!!!

Not only that but I’m loving road trips in our 4×4 truck!  Turns out that while it’s been many many years (like 12 years) since I’ve driven a car/truck in the snow, I love it!!! It’s fun learning how she handles. There’s no nerves at all,  in fact I might yell “yeehaw!” when things get a bit squirrely. 

Today on the way back from Seward ( a 104 mile trip) a vehicle in front of us hit an icy spot in the shade.  Slammed on the brakes, lost control, bounced off the guard rail and ended up across the highway. I thought it was an odd spot to stop (didn’t actually see them do the above). Then we hit the same patch of ice.

But all my previous years driving in winter conditions ( grew up in WA state,  took drivers ed in the winter,  and did a lot of winter driving over those 14 years before driving the ALCAN alone 11 years ago) instinct kicked right in.

Didn’t panic, let off the gas. Let her straighten up some as I reached over and threw her in 4 wheel drive. And viola!  All was well, back in control. Turned the truck around and went back to check on the vehicle that had been in front of us. Discerning what had happened as we pulled up and saw the damage to not only the car but the guard rail.

But just as I stepped out to see if they were okay two AK Troopers pulled up behind me. Told them I was just checking on the other vehicle and they thanked us and we left.

Kept her in 4 wheel drive the rest of the trip until we reached Soldotna.  Then we stopped and made our final decision on Glenna’s birthday present which will also be our family Christmas present.  Glenna decided she wants a reclining couch for her birthday. LOL Works for me! Plus she asked if the Sealife membership was for her birthday too?!

Could life get any better? Life. Is. Awesome!

Here are some pictures of our day in Seward.

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Posted in autism, family, fun, parenting, widowhood | 1 Comment