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The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up

Choices & Changes in the Tween Years
Terri Couwenhoven, M.S.


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isbn# 978-1-60613-026-1
6" x 9"
62 pages
B&W illustrations

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"Flipping through the book, it's easy to see that it has good, practical and straightforward information on body changes, bras, hygiene, periods, sexual feelings, and privacy, all at a level that tweens with intellectual disabilities would be interested in without going into more information than can be processed."
-Terri Mauro, Guide to Parenting Special Needs
Read the entire review at specialchildren.about.com

"When I was a teenager, I would have definitely been interested in reading this book. The visual illustrations and labels are very helpful. The cognitive activities also make the information more interactive and attention-grabbing. I highly recommend this guide for girls with and without special needs as they go through puberty!"
-Carrie Bergeron
Member, National Down Syndrome Congress Self-Advocate Council

"Finally! An engaging book for OUR girls that explains puberty, periods and crushes."
-Amy Baskin, www.todaysparent.com/specialneeds
Read the entire review here

"Eventually our children will hit puberty and we will need to prepare them for it. And if I had a special needs daughter, The Girls' Guide to Growing Up written by Terri Couwenhoven, M.S., is the book I'd buy to prepare us both."
-Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, www.autismwonderland.com
Read the entire review here

"Woodbine House sent me a review copy of The Girls' Guide to Growing Up: Choices & Changes in the Tween Years by Terri Couwenhoven, M.S.

The Girls' Guide to Growing Up is a 62 page paperback priced at $16.95. The book is written on a third-grade level, covers puberty, body changes, emotional changes, periods, hygiene, appropriate touch and what to do if someone touches you inappropriately. It talks about bras and shaving and pimples, sexual feelings, flirting.

The book is really well done. The page layouts are attractive and inviting with large print and not too many words on a page. (A page full of text looks daunting to my girl.) There are simple drawings of nude girls with labels and a task-analysis in photographs of what to do, step-by-step, when your period arrives.

The negative of the book, for me, is that I am not ready to discuss some of the topics with my daughter. Because her development is scattered. I am not sure she has thought about some of the topics in the book, and I don't want to put something into her head that is not there yet. Some of the content I'd to avoid is important and necessary regardless of the fact that I'd like to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand about it.

I will look at The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up alongside my daughter in order to control what she sees and to be there to discuss the topics as she is ready for them. I do like having the topics available when she is ready for them so I don't have to go looking for them.

I am pleased to have been given this book, pleased to be able to share it with you. We own several 'several growing up' type books and all of them are too wordy, too complex, for our situation at this time. The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up presents topics simply, effectively, visually."
-the Not New to Autism Blog (Homeschooling, Autism & "Stuff")

"The author, Terri Couwenhoven, M.S., is a teacher who educates people with intellectual disabilities and their families about puberty and sexuality issues. The book is written at a 3rd grade level. Illustrations are simple line drawings, cartoons, and black and white photography. Chapters explain how to handle crushes, flirting, and body and emotional changes. Other topics covered are correct public and private behaviors for preteen girls and personal safety. A simple quiz is included to help the adult and preteen go over the materials covered in the book. Although written to help special needs girls understand the changes that occur during puberty, it would be useful for any girl ages 8-14. Similar topics are covered in the 'What's Happening to My Body' Book for Girls, but the discussion is more direct in this book. It would be a good addition to any consumer health library or public library."
-CAPHIS Consumer Connections

"Often I get asked if a book exists that moms can share with their tween girls in preparation for the changes brought on by puberty. Finally - here it is! The explanations and illustrations are concrete, specific, and easy to understand. The Girls’ Guide to Growing Up emphasizes the private aspect of puberty and has reminders of what information need not be shared publicly. This is important because many on the spectrum do not pick up by osmosis the difference between personal and public information. There are lots of practical explanations in here that will help a mother to guide her tween through puberty. I highly recommend this book."
-Chantal Sicile-Kira
Founder, AutismCollege.com
Author of Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum and Autism Life Skills

"Puberty is a challenging time for all young adults. Now girls with intellectual disabilities can grow up with confidence, benefiting from this very clear, practical, and honest guide."
-Dr. Brian Skotko
Physician, Down Syndrome Program, Children's Hospital Boston

"Specific guidelines are spelled out in certain confusing areas, such as who you can flirt with, and who should and should not be allowed to touch certain intimate body areas. The Girls' Guide to Growing Up is written by an experienced sex educator who is familiar with the learning needs of people with intellectual disabilities. But its simple clarity will be helpful and welcome with all young girls facing the challenges of the onset of puberty."
-Children's Bookwatch

"This book is about girls growing up and having problems, such as puberty. Puberty is both a problem and something good because it means you are becoming a woman. You get body hair. You have to take a shower every day to stay clean, fresh, and sparkly.

I read in this book that you have many different moods, like anger, love, sad, and happy. You have to learn how to react to your moods. When you are sad, go to a show or a movie, or have time by yourself. When you need help, ask an adult who cares about you like your mom or dad, or your grandparent.

The book talks about love and romance. When you have a crush like a boyfriend or a boy who is a friend, you need to admit your feelings to them. If the boyfriend turns out not nice, you must break up with him.

You need to keep your body right, especially at work or school. It's OK to touch your own body parts, but no one else is allowed unless you give them permission like with a doctor or nurse. This can be confusing, so it's good to talk to your mom, your dad, or your sister.

Girls start having periods once a month and they have them for many years. They are messy but they are normal. You have to choose a pad which is comfortable and you don't mind wearing. The good thing is periods are over in a few days.

I recommend this book because it is educational, fun to read, and you can learn from it."
-Newsline, (Federation for Children with Special Needs)(review by Amy Robison, a 30 year-old self-advocate with Down syndrome)

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