An autistic author has written a plain speaking guide to periods, delivering the information in a comprehensive way with no innuendo and plenty of illustrations.
Robyn Steward attended a conference for Society of Menstrual Cycle Research Conference in 2017, where she learned of reusable menstrual products but was disappointed in the lack of straight-talking information. Robyn felt the need to write a guide herself as she felt nothing offered her, or other autistic people, information with enough detail or illustrations.
Steward pointed out how autistic people tend to be literal thinkers with a brain for details, so imagine how frustrating it would be to not understand an important issue because the information provided is unclear. When the information provided is medical or biological and the author uses flowery or metaphorical language, it can prove to be difficult for those with autism to understand what they mean.
Speaking to The Mighty, Robyn said:
“For many autistics, the traditional way of teaching periods is not accessible to them or it is not really discussed. Autistic people can be quite isolated and their ability to get information can be limited, and many books do not have accommodations to not be overwhelming.”
“The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods covers the basics of having a period, including what periods are, why people get them, available period supplies, common period worries, how periods may impact emotions and the rest of the body, and autism-specific issues relating to periods. While the book is for anybody who has periods, it is primarily intended for autistic young people between the ages of 9 to 16.”
Robyn knows from experience as an autistic person that a book that lays out all the details as plainly as possible- complete with comprehensive point-of-view photos to illustrate the text, is absolutely essential. She decided to also include red blood stains illustrating the fact there will be times when leaks or accidents happen.
in my intial research for my book #ActuallyAutistic ppl told me menstrual cups,cloth pads and period underwear helped them manage #sensory experiabces during their periods worldwide massive thanks to @wukawear @preciousstarsYT @Lunettecup @SheTHINX who helped with my research pic.twitter.com/1nAQcUsBtK— Robyn Steward (@robyn_steward) 16 April 2019
The author also spoke to other autistic people in schools and hospitals to find out what they missed from their menstruation education. The inclusive nature of Robyn’s book is heart warming and pretty wonderful to see, and she makes sure she includes all options of protection- including cloth pads, re-useable cups, as well as disposable items.