Autistic Middleton author's latest book explores how to survive puberty as a teenage girl with autism

Date published: 04 March 2024

An autistic author and blogger from Middleton has released her latest book on 1 March, aimed at surviving puberty as a teenage girl.

Victoria Ellen’s latest book, ‘The Autistic Guide to Puberty: A Practical Survival Handbook’ covers lots of topics – including periods, bra shopping, making friends and routines – from a neurodivergent-friendly viewpoint.

Herself an ‘AuDHD-er,’ Victoria was diagnosed with autism as an adult in 2017 and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in 2023. She began to write about life with autism in 2018 on her blog, ‘Actually Aspling’ with the aim of informing and supporting autistic individuals and parents.

Victoria explained: “I wanted to write a book to help autistic girls going through puberty in an easy, digestible way, as I know how much I struggled myself as a teen.

“Most books out there are about the science, but for me, I wanted to make something real life, practical and something that could genuinely be useful.

“It comes from a place of wanting to help others to ensure a happy fulfilling quality of life.”

She added: "During puberty, I found it difficult to understand what was happening to me, things were never explicitly explained, and also the practical side of things like choosing sanitary products, or finding a bra as my body changed, these things were never discussed as openly.

"I wanted to fit in, but didn't have the same experience as others around me, so emotionally, I felt lonely and weird for being different."



Victoria says some issues that can affect young neurodivergent girls can include 'camouflaging' behaviour as a way to fit in (masking traits of both autism and ADHD is usually seen more in girls), physical restlessness which manifests as fidgeting with hair or nails.

Sensory issues can be "much more intense and can increase anxiety, over stimulation and overall wellbeing" for a neurodivergent girl going through puberty, says Victoria, which can cause "a hyperfocus on the heightened sensory awareness." 

She added: "This means for extended periods of time that sensory discomfort is all we can think about."

The book is the third for Victoria, who has written two other guides, The Autism Diagnosis Workbook and The Autistic Guide to University.

She is currently in the fourth and final year of studying for her PhD.

The Autistic Guide to Puberty: A Practical Survival Handbook is available via Amazon.

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