Ask the Advocate:
Male Aides for Female Students
by Pat Howey
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
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?
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.
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.
when schools offer improper services, parents can help by suggesting goals and
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.
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
is hard to imagine a "reasonable" adult male who would be qualified
or would have the wish to provide for a 15-year-olds feminine hygiene
Suggested Goals, Objectives/Benchmarks
On her own, Janie will learn about "good
touches and bad touches" and will say no to bad touches 100%
of the time.
With help from school staff and family, Janie will learn about her bad touch
With help from school staff and family, Janie will say "no" when she
has bad touch feelings.
On her own, Janie will say no when she has bad touch feelings.
On her own, Janie will use the bathroom 100% of the time.
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.
An adult female aide will help Janie correctly clean herself after using the bathroom.
An adult female aide will help Janie wash her hands for at least 30 seconds after
she uses the bathroom.
On her own, Janie will clean herself after using the bathroom.
On her own, Janie will wash her hands for 30 seconds after using the bathroom.
On her own, Janie will take care of her monthly
menstrual needs at school 100% of the time.
An adult female aide will help Janie know what to do when she has her menstrual
periods at school.
An adult female aide will help Janie choose proper feminine hygiene product.
An adult female aide will help Janie properly use feminine hygiene products.
An adult female aide will help Janie properly dispose of feminine hygiene products.
An adult female aide will help Janie buy proper feminine hygiene products.
On her own, Janie know what to do when she starts her menstrual period at school.
On her own, Janie will choose a suitable feminine hygiene product.
On her own, Janie will use a feminine hygiene product.
On her own, Janie will dispose of used feminine hygiene products.
On her own, Janie will buy her own feminine hygiene products.
Janie properly greet strangers and casual contacts
with 100% mastery.
School staff and family will help Janie know the difference between family members
or friends and strangers or casual contacts.
School staff and family will help Janie greet strangers or casual contacts by
shaking hands and saying hello.
School staff and family will help Janie greet close friends or family by shaking
hands and saying hello.
On her own, Janie will be able to tell the difference between family members or
friends and strangers or casual contacts.
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.
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.
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
Meet Pat Howey
Patricia Howey has supported families of children with disabilities since 1985. She has a specific learning disability and became involved in special education when her youngest child entered kindergarten. Pat has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have a variety of disabilities and she has used her experience to advocate for better special education services for several of them.
Pat is a charter member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), serving on its Board of Directors from 2000 through 2003. She has been a Commissioner on the Tippecanoe (County) Human Relations Committee, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and Partners in Policymaking, and a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau. She has been on the faculty of the College of William and Mary Law School’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy since its inception in 2011.
Pat has an A.S. and a B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is an Indiana Registered Paralegal and an affiliate member of the Indiana Bar and the American Bar Associations.
Pat began her advocacy career as a volunteer for the Task Force on Education for the Handicapped (now InSource), Indiana’s Parent Training and Information Center. In 1990, she opened her advocacy practice and served families throughout Indiana by representing them at IEP meetings, mediation, and due process hearings.
In 2017, Pat closed her advocacy practice and began working on a contract basis as a special education paralegal. Attorneys in Indiana, Texas, and California contracted with her to review documents, spot issues, draft due process complaints, prepare for hearings, and assist at hearings. In January 2019, she became an employee of the Connell Michael Kerr law firm, owned by Erin Connell, Catherine Michael, and Sonja Kerr. Her duties have now expanded to assisting with federal court cases.
the World -- One Child at at Time."
Patricia L. Howey, B.A., IRP
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117