#Autism, RAD and Puberty: Managing the issues

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We met with Dr. Patti this evening about the whole boundaries issue thing with Gavin. Gavin’s at that age where things are changing and hormones are raging. Factor in his lack of impulse control and sprinkle in a few pinches of RAD, you have a recipe for problems.

The mission tonight was to come up with a clear set of boundaries, guidelines and consequences.

The conversation was very uncomfortable and included words like erections and masterbation. This was very awkward but Dr. Patti was a huge help and we survived. I don’t know how much, if anything, Gavin retained but he handled himself well and didn’t get angry or stress out.

We had to reiterate the house rules and establish a few new ones.

Here’s the long and short of it. Gavin cannot have unsupervised access to his brothers. Because of his lack of impulse control, raging hormones and past history, we have to make sure that everyone is same. These rules aren’t anything new but we needed to refocus on this and reenforce it with Gavin. Any violation of these rules will result in swift action.

We are working with Dr. Patti to create consequences for violations and ways in which to implement them.

This is a really challenging time and the combination of Autism and RAD make it more so. Gavin basically functions on very basic, primal instinct and that makes him a handful on the best of days.

Throw in puberty and you have an explosive combination.

In most cases, it’s very much like Of Mice and Men. There’s not necessarily any ill intent behind his actions but those actions can still be damaging to those around him. On the flip-side, because of some of the other mental health issues, ill intent is a possibility as well.

I’m not afraid to say that I’m really nervous about this new leg of our journey. We love Gavin and want us all to be a family, living together and moving forward. At the same time, we have to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.

How do you folks deal with this time of life in your kids on the Autism spectrum? This is an uncomfortable subject but one that obviously impacts a great many of us.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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mkosmicki1 KrystalMomf6 BrandyLewis well, at least we aren’t alone.  🙂


My son is only 9, so we haven’t hit puberty issues yet, but I know they will be coming soon. I don’t have much to add, but to thank you for so openly sharing your journey with all of us. It not only helps to not feel like we are alone with these awkward moments and unusual problems, but it also gives me little insights on what to expect and how I might also deal with things. So, thank you for allowing us to be that proverbial fly on the wall in your life.


mkosmicki1 KrystalMomf6 the ks for sharing.  I totally agree that an honest approach is a good thing.  The other thing to keep in mind is the developmental age as well.  🙂


Its not easy – my oldest daughter at 11 is having body issues and refuses to talk to me about them (luckily she talks to her stepmom who talks to me) and then my oldest son (10) is having agression issues. This is as far as we have come right now but I’m panicking at what is to come. So glad you have Dr. Patti – the more help the better


I can say that our experience with our son and puberty has run from extremely hysterical to “holy crap…did that just happen?”  We’ve had the announcement of armpit hair to sudden aggression.  Overall, we’ve simply been honest, explaining that he may experience different bodily things, setting boundaries about certain activities, and encouraging questions.  We also set boundaries on who he can ask questions to: Dad, Mom, Ashley, and Brad (our med school son-in-law).  
I guess in hindsight, we did the same thing for our Aspie son as we did for our daughter.  Honesty and guidelines and only give the info asked for at the time.  That last one helped us keep form overwhelming our kiddos with more info than they can process at the time.  It’s also the most tricky skill to master.
Good Luck! Sounds like Doc Patti is pretty awesome.  Wish we could have a few more of her around.  🙂