The reality of having a child with special needs is that they (usually) continue to grow in a typical manner even if they are immature for their age. Their bodies don’t know or care that their minds aren’t ready for things like puberty, menstruation, shaving legs, etc.
So while a child might be mentally/emotionally seven years old, if their body is older, well, you guessed it. That child will still reach puberty at the typical age.
I’m sure it’s obvious by now that someone in our house, the someone who had 5p- syndrome, started her period. I don’t want to name names because she deserves a little privacy but this isn’t so much about her as it is about me and how I, her mother, am dealing with this new, ahem, development.
Because let’s just get this part out of the way…she’s fine. She’s all in with this whole having a period thing. I mean, it’s just one more thing that makes her more like her sister, and what could be better than that.
But I have to confess that it’s more work the second time around than it was when the first girl hit this part of her life.
We’re rolling with it because, duh, that’s what you do. And let’s face it, she’s VERY high functioning. If I had to say how 5p- really effects Olivia is that’s it’s made her emotionally and socially immature. But we’ve got this.
I guess the whole reason I’m even writing about it is because I know that parents find this site when they’ve first received a diagnosis of 5p- syndrome and they’re terrified. They’re grieving the baby they thought they were having. They worry that their child will never be ‘normal’.
And okay, yeah. So none of us would ever call Olivia normal. But only because she’s extraordinary. Sure, I helped her a lot this weekend but I let her do the ‘work’ of dealing with this new issue. I asked her if she thought she needed to change each time she went to the bathroom. I showed her how to use the pads, showed her how to take them out and wrap them up to throw them away.
But I did all this with Alyssa too.
This is all a part of growing up. Special needs hasn’t stopped that from happening and honestly, I’m grateful for that. I want her to grow up and have as ‘normal’ a life as possible. I mean, don’t we all want that for our kids?
Okay, so I wish we’d have a couple more years before dealing with this but…we don’t. So we’re dealing. And hey, it’s better now, during the summer, than, say, October, when she’s in school. At least we’ll get a couple of months of practice before heading back to school and having even one more thing to worry about on top of grades and homework and ‘friends’ and gym class (which she hates.)
So yeah, focusing on the positive here.