Karishma was aware of her gradual physical changes as she reached puberty by the 12th year. As she understands better when she ‘sees’, seeing is knowing, hence we used picture books for preparing her. However she related better to real situation. Within few months she became quite comfortable in dealing with the requirements of monthly cycles. She was made to understand that this was part of growing up. She was taught the importance of personal hygiene. Use of a visual time-table and calendar helped her much in planning and preparing at this stage. She felt very exhausted during those days and we preferred to avoid extra physical activities during that time, especially her dance lessons.
Karishma is fortunate to have brothers (cousins) in the family that gave her a natural introduction to opposite sex. However Karishma showed tentative interest in boys in her class, in her 13th year but remained very choosy about who could be her friends. Since it was a co-educational school, the teachers and co-helpers were always prompt in maintaining a healthy distance amongst boys and girls in the class at the same time encouraging good inter-personal relationship. We helped her to understand appropriate social behavior and the difference between friends and strangers, safe touch and unsafe touch.
We, as a family, always strived to give Karishma all the love, care and support that gave her emotional stability and security. Our extended families and her grand parents often came together on occasions. Her every little achievement was celebrated. We planned 2 family holidays every year and created many happy memorable moments. We discussed challenges, issues and solutions together. Karishma and her sister, both participated in domestic activities, like making their beds, setting table for dinner, clearing and washing which was intended to encourage a sense of belonging. We adopted 2 pets (Labradors) and cared for them. We welcomed Karishma’s friend’s home for lunches and arranged outings to help her socialize. As a family, we have consciously encouraged healthy touch-therapy and hugs, and ensured that she does not crave for any physical attention from strangers. Her physical energy was well channelized as she took to Dance and theater. It also helped her to find her emotional expression.
Although she is friendly by nature, Karishma had few close friends with whom she could be very comfortable. She seemed very sensitive to other’s behavior towards her and chose her friends carefully. She shared very good relationship with her teachers and care takers. She seemed more comfortable relating to elders than her peers. However she enjoyed group activities with peer groups with adult supervision. She was very caring towards younger children and assumed responsible behavior towards them.