Typically, disabled children will go through puberty like any other young person. However, puberty might come early for some and delayed for others. There are some rare conditions that require medication to bring on puberty. Disabled people need to be as prepared as possible for the changes their body will undergo when they hit puberty.
 
Mums often assume that their child’s disability will mean that they are unable to explore their body. However, even with a physical impairment, they will find a way. Some children masturbate because it makes them feel loved, others do it to relax, but young people with disabilities do not understand the difference between doing it in private or public. It’s important to let a young disabled person know that what they’re doing is natural, but it is only okay to do it in a private place, such as their bedroom.
 
Tips for supporting a disabled tween
  • It is always a good idea to knock on your tweens door before entering their bedroom, or a bathroom. You could also tell them that you will always do this now that they are older. This might help them feel like they have more privacy.
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  • Parents should ask for their child’s permission on each occasion before providing intimate care. For instance, rather than helping them undress, say “Is it OK if I help you take off your pyjamas now?”
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  • Mums can take some time out to discuss personal care plans for their disabled child. Reassess whether or not it is still necessary, and whether aids and equipment could help the young person manage alone.
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  • There are plenty of good resources that can help parents explain to a young person with learning disabilities the changes that boy and girls go through at puberty. You could even consult their GP for help and support.

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