An online puberty education program for girls, aged 8-12, with autism
Being a girl these days can be tough.
There's peer pressure, mean girls, queen bees, the onslaught of social media, bullying, body shaming, school stress, oh and let's not forget puberty. Periods, body hair, mood swings. Puberty is a tricky time for any girl to navigate - the rapid rate of changes in both her body and mind can be confusing, overwhelming, and yes, even a little scary.
As if that wasn't enough to deal with, being a girl with autism or a developmental issue can make these issues even more challenging.
Which is why we created WELL Girls.
What is WELL Girls?
WELL Girls Online is a personal life skills program for girls aged 8-12 with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This program was originally created as a small group program for girls in Adelaide, Australia, and is now available as a self-paced, online program, accessible everywhere to everyone.
Created and run by an Occupational Therapist experienced in both women's health and paediatrics, WELL Girls aims to equip girls with the essential knowledge and confidence they require to manage their own personal health, and unique wellbeing needs.
WELL Girls is also an acronym - it stands for Wellbeing, Education, Lifestyle and Laughter.
Wellbeing: Every girl has the right to be in charge of her own wellbeing - to know how to best take care of her body, mind and soul. Supporting her own wellbeing should be every girl's number one priority.
Education: From learning about her anatomy, to understanding menstruation and pelvic health, to learning how her brain works so she can manage her own stress and anxiety - knowledge is power, and we want girls to be powerful.
Lifestyle: Every girl has the right to live the life she wants, but we know that for some girls, figuring out exactly what that is, and how to get it, can be a little difficult. We know that life should be amazing, meaningful and enjoyable. We work together with girls to help them achieve that.
Laughter: Because learning and your body doesn't have to be embarrassing or boring. At Bloom Wellbeing we believe learning and laughter go hand in hand. Because a day without laughter is a day wasted.
What do we cover in WELL Girls Online?
Female health and wellbeing is a diverse topic - there are many wellbeing considerations that are unique to females in the pre-teen age group and impact how we live our lives. In WELL Girls we present this information in a developmentally appropriate manner, which supports girls with autism or developmental delay to learn at their own pace, and in their own way.
The subjects we cover include:
Session 1: All about me
Session 2: Body changes throughout puberty (female and male)
Session 3: Menstruation - what is it?
Session 4: Menstruation - managing your period
Session 5: Hygiene and self care
Session 6: Big feelings throughout puberty
Session 7: The people around us
Session 8: Friends and frenemies
Session 9: Confidence and Resilience, and farewell
Sarah is a women's health occupational therapist and director of Bloom Wellbeing, a female-focused Occupational Therapy clinic based in Adelaide, South Australia.
With more than 20 years experience as an OT, Sarah has chosen to specialise in the emerging field of women's health OT as she is passionate about supporting women to adjust to the physical and emotional demands of motherhood.
Sarah is also the author of Piper Gets Her Period, a book about menstruation, specifically written for girls with autism. If you're in Australia you can order a copy here, you can also puchase an e-book copy from anywhere in the world here.