NOTE: This post is brought to you by the letter R for reality.
By Kim Rossi
As most of you know, I have three daughters with autism. They are 22, 21 and 17 years old. One of the first questions I get when I speak to parents of young girls on the spectrum is, "How on earth will I manage her period? She has sensory issues!" We had smooth sailing for a long time. Each girl would wear a pad. PMS is a challenge of course. But we managed pretty well until... we didn't. One of my girls suddenly refused to wear a pad. "NO DIAPER." For months I begged, cajoled, followed her around saying (OK, sometimes yelling) "NO PAD NO iPAD!" She didn't care. She was NOT going to wear a pad. As you can imagine the result was a disaster. And I was seeing red. Ruined bedsheets. Laundry galore. Going out of the house a problem. Someone recommended the pill or the IUD that stops the menses. Not for us. Someone recommended tampons - not an option as teaching her privacy has meant telling her nothing goes inside of her. And she needs help with changing a pad so I wasn't going to have staff assisting her with such an intimate job.
I read about period panties, but I thought they were like Depends. Papery... diapers. Then I read a review of a product called THINX period panties. Desperate, I ordered 3 pair.
I repeat - PROBLEM SOLVED!
THINX panties are a beautiful, soft nylon with a comfortable waistband. (And there is a new organic cotton option.) They look like nice underwear. I slipped a pair on my daughter before she got her period. She was none the wiser! I ordered the black hip hugger style so she would not see any blood when the time came.
The time came.
Day 1. She wore a pair for 4 hours.
Day 2 She wore a pair for 6 hours
When she removes them, I rinse thoroughly (yes, that part is icky, it takes a good 5 minutes of running water) then I wash them and air dry them on a large fan. No tumble dryer.
She THINX period panties have made each month so much easier for HER most of all - NO DIAPER! And for me too. And for staff who works with her. She no longer feels upset on top of having cramps. I know she's happier each month.
Try them. I wrote a comment on their Facebook page and got hundreds of replies. Tweet the company as I have and tell them that they have made a difference in the autism community.
Maybe we can start a Light It Up Red month?
Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.