Sunday, November 18, 2012

Part 1 -"Boys without Boundaries" ASD & Puberty

One Resource 

Disclaimer... This is one of those topics that needs to be told just like it happened, exactly as it unfolded. That said, if you're super squeamish you may want to close the screen now. 

However, if you're a single mom with a son on the spectrum, you might want to take one for the team and read this anyway. This is not an easy topic for me to talk about; I will rely on humor (even bad humor) to get me through. So whether you laugh, cry, get confirmation you're not alone, read out of curiosity or thank God this isn't what you're going through thanks for taking the time. 

Please send feedback and let's continue the conversation together! 

Installment number one looks at the reality of raising "Boys without Boundaries"

Top 5 most inappropriate things that were too embarrassing for me to say, until now:

l. Sometimes I see Nicky looking at me, out of the corner of his eyes with his head tilted, with a sly look. A look like I'm a steak and he hasn't eaten in a week! The "Oh this is just wrong" feeling is overwhelming.  

2. Sometimes, when I'm just standing around, or bending over, say to get something out of the refrigerator, he comes up behind me and pushes his groin into me.  So, not cool!! When it first started I was a combination of mortified and embarrassed so I went to my fall back position, denial and prayer. I told myself it was nothing, just a random thing and then I prayed no one saw it. That worked until about the 30th time he did it and until he got bigger than I am, now he's looks like a man and it's kinda hard to miss. So I've learned to always be on the lookout, get out of the way and stand my ground. Now I can give the   "Not Cool, Back Off!" look and he knows what I mean. 

3. He's obsessed with belly's as in stomach's. Any belly, on any body, he likes to put his ear to bellies and hug bellies. There are no limits to who he will ask to "hug belly?": boys, girls, women, men, toys, dogs, cows,  ducks and STRANGERS. On one of our visits to Sea World he asked if he could "Hug Whale's Belly". Really???  Clearly he doesn't get it, I mean how would you hug Shamu's belly?  I can't take my eyes off him because at any time I could find him hugging some unsuspecting strangers belly! 

4. The only physical obsession more embarrassing than "Hug Belly" is his obsession with my tush. I've been known to wake up and find him in my room slyly sneaking his hand under the covers so he can touch by rear or put his ear on not right!  But wait, there is good news. This is the only time I can think of that Nick's language deficits work in our favor, he calls my tush and my belly "Belly". This is so great, because when we're in public and he say's "Hug Belly" they never think he means hug tush. Thank you God!

5. When Nicky get's excited he jumps up and down. At age 14 he gets excited about a lot of things,
girls, animals, toys, books and when he does, things happen.  Clearly for Nicky excitement is connected to arousal and it is not limited to teenage girls!. Hard to explain in the grocery story or petting zoo!

Until Nicky I never thought about how much humans like boundaries and behaviors they're familiar with. Nick cross's those boundaries and people (nice people, family, friends) respond with intense negative emotions, they flinch or glare and sometimes I see genuine fear or disgust in their eyes. It's a terrible feeling, to see someone respond to your child this way, and they are not wrong.  That is why there is a giant upside to coming out of denial: I always know when he's thinking, contemplating a move, preparing to pounce and I can scoop him up just before he cross's the line! May not sound like much but it's a big deal to me and I feel like I'm protecting all of us.

 Here are a few books I found for those who want to do some research. There's more if you Google Autism and puberty 

Oh, the things that you happen when they grow! So, what about you? What's your story? 


  1. Donna,
    Thank you for so bravely sharing stuff that all of us moms go through, single or not!! We've all been there or are there with inappropriate behaviors !!

    I'm going to be frank (I'm known for it) I hope you don't mind - but I need to say that these inappropriate behaviors really need to be nipped in the bud for his safety. I know you are trying to avoid them, but taking a step further is necessary. There is the potential risk of abuse and also when he turns 18 if he so much as touches a person in public and the person feels threatened, he may be in trouble with the police. Happens, sadly, all too often. Easier to teach him not to do this when he is smaller than at age 18!
    You can teach him not to look or touch other people's bodies normally covered by a bathing suit (use a visual). Also you can teach hm the meaning of Public and Private and what that means using icons (see There might be other articles on my websites for free helpful,

    Another word of caution, and please don't hate me but just thinking of your guy's safety - you might want to think of where he has learned about bellies and tushes and wanting to rub them - from TV? from someone touching him inappropriately? Just keeping an eye out for his safety...

    I hope you don't hate me for bringing these things up - but I have learned the hard way now to be very careful about these types os issues....

    Thanks for all you do by sharing your thoughts and stories!

    My best to you,

  2. I think Chantal's points are very well taken here. Didn't really think about all of the things we NEED to think about. Geez!
    Thanks Donna for sharing so openly and honestly. I love you!
    Jackie Frager

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