There are so many mothers and fathers of daughters with special needs (our ranks included!) that we felt it very worthwhile to ask one of our special moms to write about her experience introducing a Period Pack to her daughter with Autism. This is the first of two (2) installments from Ms. Darcy Rubino, mom to Jessica, and supermom-of-three, who also serves as a family advocate in the state of Massachusetts, and is a former co-president of her home Parent Advisory Council (PAC). Ms. Rubino’s initial account is the ‘introduction’ of menstruation to her daughter, and the follow up will come likely a little bit after Jessica reaches womanhood. We hope this is as helpful to other parents of daughters with special needs, as it was to us. Thank you Darcy (and Jessica!).
She was 9 years old, and we were having what we call a Mama-Jessie day. The plan for the day was to go to the beach, so I decided to take advantage of the 45 minute ride and have “the conversation” with Jessica.
The fact that Jessica giggled and didn’t immediately yell “Stop!” was actually a good thing. Jessica has high functioning Autism, and when she doesn’t want to talk about something, she will let you know it! I asked her what she knew about periods, and she continued to giggle. At that point, I knew that I needed to use my best friend “Google” to find out a more effective way to have a real conversation with her.
I got Jessica a Period Pack, and it was the best thing I did to facilitate “the conversation”. The Pack was girly, pink, and packed full of information.
Jessica has not gotten her period yet, but the book “Period” was something that we read together. She really seemed to enjoy reading the book with me, and was struck by the clinical names for what is happening to her body.
Her favorite word was “ovum”.
The other part of the book that I found extremely helpful were the sections that talk about how a girl may feel when they have their period or when they are about to get it. Because of Jessica’s Autism, it is hard for her to express emotions. She was able to read the passages and let me know that she does feel grumpy or tired at times. This was a fantastic revelation to me!
Jessica’s Period Pack was filled with fun things like pink hot chocolate (which we are saving to drink the day she gets her period), lip gloss, nail polish, sanitary napkins, panty liners, and wipes among many other things.
I cannot explain how relieved I am that there is a product like Period Packs on the market.
(I will make sure to update when Jessica takes her first step into womanhood!)