Sexuality Resource Center for Parents: Tools, Tips, and Tricks for Teaching Children about Human Sexuality

Teaching Your Daughter about Her Periods

(For Parents of Daughters with Developmental Disabilities)

Whether or not your child has a developmental disability, they will still mature physically. In other words, puberty happens. And if you've got a daughter, periods happen. Are you prepared? For starters, we hope you understand the importance of talking with your daughter about menstruation before she gets her first period. It's not something she should experience "in the dark."

Take a look at the following resources. You'll find plenty of activities to use with your daughter.

  • For a thorough discussion of this topic and a wonderful set of activities, turn to "Teaching Your Daughter about Menstuation" in Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Terri Couwenhoven (click here to learn more about this book). Most of the information presented here is not specific to Down Syndrome, so don't be put off by the book's title if your daughter has a different developmental disability. You'll still find plenty of useful information in these pages.
  • "Managing Menstruation" also provides a very thorough take on this topic. It was developed for females with intellectual and developmental disabilities by the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Queensland, the Division of Intellectual Disability Services in the Queensland Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, and the Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Click here to download a PDF version of the handbook.
  • More on menstruation can be found in activities 4B and 4C in Lesson 17 ("Understanding the Body, Day 2: Puberty") in Special Education FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) from Public Health – Seattle & King County. This lesson was originally written for educators, but it can be easily adapted for use by parents. Click here to download a PDF version of the lesson.
  • If your child has autism, you might want to get them this book: Taking Care of Myself: A Hygiene, Puberty and Personal Curriculum for Young People with Autism by Mary Wrobel.
  • If your child has high functioning autism, you might want to get them this book: Making Sense of Sex: A Forthright Guide to Puberty, Sex and Relationships for People with Asperger’s Syndrome by Sarah Attwood.
  • And check out these two books. They were written for girls without developmental disabilities, but you still may want to share them with your daughter.

    The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (But Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle and Jennifer Gravelle

    Period.: A Girl’s Guide by Joanne Loulan and Bonnie Worthen

back to top

© 2021 Sexuality Resource Center for Parents