Body of female person that wears blue jeans and a white ribbed sweater, sitting cross-legged

Autistic women and girls are heavily underrepresented and understudied in research. In particular, we know very little about autistic women and girls’ experiences of puberty and menstruation.

Puberty in Autistic Girls: CRAE researchers identified that very little research exists on the experience of puberty for autistic girls, especially for those who are minimally verbal with additional intellectual difficulties. Our research sought the views and perspectives of parents and educators about best to support this vulnerable group of girls during this stage of their lives. We found that, despite parents’ worries, puberty was generally a positive experience with the girls coping well with the changes they were experiencing.

Autistic People’s Experiences of Periods: The onset of periods is an important and often challenging transition in a person’s life. This is especially the case for autistic women, who may experiences menstruation differently. Instigated by Robyn Steward, a survey on this topic found that autistic people’s experiences of periods are in some ways different from those of non-autistic people, placing an extra strain on them.

CRAE lead: Laura Crane with Robyn Steward

Key publications: