evidence and practice
Puberty: challenges for adolescents on the autism spectrum
Michael Rimmington Behaviour therapist, The iMap Centre, Cheshire, and doctoral candidate, Salford University, Salford, England
Puberty can be a difficult time for many children and can present even more problems for children who have an autism diagnosis with additional social communication difficulties, restricted patterns of behaviour, sensory differences and elevated levels of anxiety. The majority of the literature on this subject examines the effects of puberty on adolescents with autism; there is a scarcity of literature on the relationship between autism and the timing of puberty.
This article discusses findings from the literature and identifies commonalities with typically developing children, as well as differences. Issues faced by girls on the autism spectrum who are experiencing puberty are also explored. Particular focus is given to the problematic sexual behaviour of adolescents on the autism spectrum and strategies to overcome this including education programmes covering sexual awareness, social skills training with healthcare professionals offering support to families.
Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2019.e1961Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Rimmington M (2019) Puberty: challenges for adolescents on the autism spectrum. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2019.e1961
Published online: 22 July 2019