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teachingtall 11-16-2016 11:35 AM

Helping a student understand body changes
I need some help. I am a male teacher and one of my female students is starting to have cramps and we are fearing (hoping) that she is going to have her first period soon. The nurse has been very helpful. Mom and dad are going through a divorce so that is also impacting her.

She has a cognitive impairment and I don't know how to support her. I have 2 amazing paras (both female) and they are great, but the student comes to me often for support and I don't know how to help her.

eeza 11-16-2016 05:37 PM

body changes
I would just phrase it as male and female bodies are different. This particular thing is something that happens to only females and you don't have any advice because you've never experienced it. You can then direct her to her mother or another trusted female adult. You could also contact the parents to let them know what is going on and to see how they would like you to approach this since she is cognitively impaired.

GraceKrispy 11-18-2016 01:57 PM

I agree with eeza- I'd definitely contact the parents first before you even consider doing any sort of education around menstruation. I'd recommend to the parents (and maybe a copy in your room would be good) books like: "The Care and Keeping of You 2" by Cara Patterson, "Personal Hygiene? What's That Got To Do with Me?" by Pat Crissey, "The Body Book" by Nancy Rue, or "Growing up: It's a Girl thing: Straight Talk about First Bras, First Periods, and Your Changing Body" by Mavis Jukes.

Those books can help guide the parents (and you) as to how to approach things around body changes. If you have a nurse or health aid at your school, that would be a good place to refer her.

God luck!

teachingtall 11-19-2016 08:23 AM

Thanks for the ideas. I have deferred a lot of it to the parent. I have only gotten comments from the mom like "okay." The nurse is helping with some of the hygiene issues.

I just am walking down a fine line with this student. If she knows she can go to the nurse when her stomach hurts, her stomach will always hurt. I am building in breaks to allow her to go to nurse once in the morning and then judge how she is doing the rest of the day.

Those books look helpful, but do you know if there are any books that are more picture books for a non-reader?

GraceKrispy 11-25-2016 01:40 PM

I tried looking for books that were more pictures, and I don't see any. I was more imagining that someone would go over it with her (versus her just looking at pics) or the adults could look at them and better know how to approach it with her. The American Girls one is pretty low level in terms of verbiage (but maybe not low enough to be at her level).

I know what you mean about not wanting the girl to go to the nurse at every opportunity. You're smart to be thinking of that. Built in breaks are a great idea. You could also give her a "pass" that she could use at one point in the day to visit the nurse, so she knows she can go at one other time (if you feel she has the cognitive level to understand that concept).

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