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Ask the Advocate:
Male Aides for Female Students
by Pat Howey

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Question: My 15-year-old daughter has a mild mental disability. The school wants to use a male aid to help her with bathroom and feminine hygiene needs. I am not comfortable with this.

My daughter does not yet know that some physical touch is improper. She hugs everyone and does not know to use safe behavior with the opposite sex. What can we do to help her understand "safe behavior" when she doesn't understand personal boundaries when a male is assisting her, versus a female?

Answer: Until this young woman learns safe behavior, she is at high risk for physical and sexual abuse. It is not safe for her to allow everyone to touch her. It is not safe for her to hug everyone.

The school must help you teach her to live independently as an adult. It is appropriate for you to ask the school to help teach your daughter safe behavior. It will take a team effort between parents and school to accomplish this.

Sometimes when schools offer improper services, parents can help by suggesting goals and objectives/benchmarks1.

The school does not have to put the parents’ suggested goals and objectives into the IEP. However, notes and papers from the meeting will show that the parents had practical requests to help their child learn to live safely and independently as an adult.

As they read the parents’ clear, sensible goals and objectives, it is possible that a teacher or other school staff member will “see the light.” Perhaps a teacher will support the parents’ desire to prepare this teenager for adult life.

It is hard to imagine a "reasonable" adult male who would be qualified or would have the wish to provide for a 15-year-old’s feminine hygiene needs.

Suggested Goals, Objectives/Benchmarks

1. Suggested Goal

On her own, Janie will learn about "good touches and bad touches" and will say “no” to bad touches 100% of the time.

Suggested Objective/Benchmark

1.1. With help from school staff and family, Janie will learn about her “bad touch” feelings.

1.2. With help from school staff and family, Janie will say "no" when she has “bad touch” feelings.

1.3. On her own, Janie will say “no” when she has “bad touch” feelings.

2. Suggested Goal

On her own, Janie will use the bathroom 100% of the time.

Suggested Objective/Benchmark

2.1. Janie will ask an adult female aide for help when she uses the bathroom as she learns to take care of these needs on her own.

2.2. An adult female aide will help Janie correctly clean herself after using the bathroom.

2.3. An adult female aide will help Janie wash her hands for at least 30 seconds after she uses the bathroom.

2.4. On her own, Janie will clean herself after using the bathroom.

2.5. On her own, Janie will wash her hands for 30 seconds after using the bathroom.

3. Suggested Goal

On her own, Janie will take care of her monthly menstrual needs at school 100% of the time.

Suggested Objective/Benchmark

3.1. An adult female aide will help Janie know what to do when she has her menstrual periods at school.

3.2. An adult female aide will help Janie choose proper feminine hygiene product.

3.3. An adult female aide will help Janie properly use feminine hygiene products.

3.4. An adult female aide will help Janie properly dispose of feminine hygiene products.

3.5. An adult female aide will help Janie buy proper feminine hygiene products.

3.6. On her own, Janie know what to do when she starts her menstrual period at school.

3.7. On her own, Janie will choose a suitable feminine hygiene product.

3.8. On her own, Janie will use a feminine hygiene product.

3.9. On her own, Janie will dispose of used feminine hygiene products.

3.10. On her own, Janie will buy her own feminine hygiene products.

4. Suggested Goal

Janie properly greet strangers and casual contacts with 100% mastery.

Suggested Objectives/Benchmarks

4.1. School staff and family will help Janie know the difference between family members or friends and strangers or casual contacts.

4.2. School staff and family will help Janie greet strangers or casual contacts by shaking hands and saying hello.

4.3. School staff and family will help Janie greet close friends or family by shaking hands and saying hello.

4.4. On her own, Janie will be able to tell the difference between family members or friends and strangers or casual contacts.

4.5. On her own, Janie will greet close friends, family, strangers, or casual contacts by shaking hands and saying hello.

Parental Input into the IEP

As parents, we hope the IEP team will look at our suggested goals and objectives/benchmarks as a way to help Janie transition from school to adult life.

We want to help the school prepare Janie to lead a useful, independent adult life, to the maximum extent possible. We want to help the school prepare Janie for employment and independent living.

Janie is able to learn these skills and to interact safely with strangers and casual acquaintances. We want to work with the school to help Janie to learn these skills so she can live as independently as possible as an adult.

1 While IDEA 2004 does not require objectives/benchmarks, it may be appropriate for parents to ask the school to put objectives/benchmarks into practice through the IEP.


Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPat Howey has a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College where she graduated with honors.

Pat is an active member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and other organizations. The Learning Disabilities Association of Indiana honored Pat with its Outstanding Service Award for her commitment and compassion towards students with disabilities.

As a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, Pat provides training for parents, educators, and others who want to ensure that children receive quality special education services.

Wrightslaw special education law and advocacy programs are designed to meet the needs of parents, educators, health care providers, advocates, and attorneys who represent children with disabilities.

"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time.
"

Contact Information
Pat Howey
Special Education Consulting
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
Website: patriciahowey.com
Email: specialedconsulting@gmail.com


Revised: 03/22/12

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