Supporting minimally verbal autistic girls with intellectual disabilities through puberty

perspectives of parents and educators

Clare Cummins, Elizabeth Pellicano, Laura Crane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Limited research has examined puberty in autistic girls, yet alone those who are minimally verbal and with additional intellectual disabilities. In this study, ten parents and ten educators were interviewed about their views and experiences of supporting these girls through puberty. Results demonstrated that many parents had concerns prior to the onset of puberty in these girls. Yet, for most girls, experiences of puberty were felt to be positive, with the girls coping well with changes that they were experiencing (e.g. menstruation, breast development and developing body hair). Thematic analysis of interview data highlighted three main themes: a range of individual experiences and needs; the importance of promoting dignity and respect; and identifying ways to support these girls through puberty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2439–2448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number7
Early online date24 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2018. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • autism
  • puberty
  • minimally verbal
  • intellectual disability
  • parents
  • teachers

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