Friday, 18 March 2016

Puberty, cognitive delays and a CSI crime scene!

A friend was recently telling me about menarche parties, a party for young girls to celebrate their first period.  Not thinking that this was a real thing I did a bit of "googling" and I found this description "The occassion of an adolescent girl's first period is often a very embarrassing and scary time, even if they have been prepared for it by their parents.  One way to lighten the mood and celebrate this momentous time in your daughter's life is by having a first period party.  It can be difficult for young girls and even women to get excited about something that brings both blood and pain, but having a period party can be a great first step towards her being able to embrace her period and its significance as the beginning of her journey to womanhood."

Around our house we don't have a party and it is more like a situation of drawing straws between my husband and I.....whoever gets the short straw gets the never ending, daunting task of teaching and helping the young adolescent with cognitive delays cope with the changes his or her body is displaying.  This teaching may need to happen for years according to some of the examples in our home, we are at 10-14 years (since puberty) with some and don't seem to be getting any closer to independence.

First up is the "stench" of the adolescents and the increased need for personal hygiene.  We have gone through puberty with multiple children and it seems the ones with cognitive challenges either don't realize or care that they stink!!  Without constant reminders of, you need to shower, please put on clean clothing and put on some deodarant, our home would constantly smell like a middle school boys locker room.  We have visual schedules that are used, charts detailing how to do various tasks including showering and changing sanitary products and it's still never ending.  Each morning during "work out time" we need all the windows open and a gas mask would be beneficial.  I don't even think one of those "Febreeze" commercials could help this situation.

Then for the girls there is the need for a bra, which sneakes up so fast that they may not have even mastered the finer points of dressing, such as buttons and zippers.  Bras can be extremely difficult to put on and if your daughter is blessed with a large bosom she will have even more of a challenge.  We start with sport bras and buying mutliple of the same style to limit the learning curve.  You can read more about our bra challenges here.

Then there is menstuaration and the need for the use of sanitary products.  This one is huge and one that you wouldn't think you should have to constantly be involved in.  Over the years we have determined sanitary pads are what will be taught in our home and if you have the desire to use something else you will need to figure that out on your own.  We did try tampons with one, so she could still swim, when the tampon fell out and landed on the pool deck without her noticing (Dad had to say "you dropped something") not swimming on those days was a better option.  We also have to track the menstruation so said individual doesn't think "I will just wear a pad" because I really want to go on the water slides today, leaving a pad stuck on the inside of the water slide ready to greet the next person.  There has also been the ongoing lesson of where it is acceptable to change your sanitary products and how often it should be done.  Then there is the mess that is left when they are working on independence of looking after things themself.  Why does the bathroom look like a vicious CSI crime scene each time they finish?  Lysol wipes are a constant requirement in our bathroom between the ones being potty trained and the adolescents.

Do you have a successful method for teaching the finer points of becoming an adolescent/adult?  How do you manage these challenges in your home?


  1. CSI crime scene is a perfect description! For our two daughters it's constant supervision. Every time they're finished in the bathroom, I personally go in and check out the scene! When I can't, our boys will surely let us know. How does one get it on the wall or on the side of the tub? Then the pads! I have demonstrated the rolling and securely placing the used pad back into its wrapper while hiding it into the garbage can however I find pads open in the bathroom, or left in their underwear to use for the next day. During the week of menstruation x 2 it can be a war zone. So....for us, it's hand over hand, reminders and supervision. It's getting better I might add however no secret around here! Good post!

  2. I know that crime scene well! LOL!! Bethany has decided to confine herself to the house when she gets "the blood"! While this does make things easier for me, it also interferes with the quality of her life.

  3. Oh my, I'm not even close to this stage, so I've got no advise, but that video was fantastic:) Wishing you smooth sailing on the crimson wave:) #bestandworst