Tuesday, September 2, 2014

10 Reasons Why I Teach at Latham Centers


1. Our unique population of students.

2. Creativity and freedom in lesson planning.

3. Opportunity to learn about many different intellectual, developmental, and behavioral disabilities.

4. Amazing co-workers!!!

5. Extremely supportive administrative team

6. Work closely with students' clinicians

7. Always something new to learn or discover about the students

8. Your thoughts/ideas/concerns are heard and taken seriously

9. Never a dull moment

10. There is no other organization like it!!!

Amie Gould
Teacher at Latham Centers

Interested in a career at Latham Centers? Click HERE to view our current job postings.

Friday, August 29, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Back To School Part 2

By this time, most of your kids have started their first week of school. You have either experienced a honeymoon period where everything went smoothly and according to plan or you have been thrown into the fire. Both are normal responses to new environments and experiences. Here are some ways to make it the best school year that you can.

1. Communicate. You should have some form of daily communication with your child's school. You may see patterns of behavior or triggers before the school staff does and your input is valuable. Always speak up if you see something that is not working but remember to point out what is going well also. Critical feedback is important and should be welcome but if that is the only time you speak to your child's teacher you will build a relationship based on tension and animosity.
2. Be active in the creation of your child's IEP. Your child's teacher is the expert in special education but you are the expert on your child. Both viewpoints are just as important as the other and joining together will create a document that allows for the most success for your child.

3. Be honest. It may be difficult to reveal some of the more embarrassing behaviors that you have seen your child do but withholding that information will set your child and the teacher up for failure. The more they know the better they can prepare. You will also hear about behaviors at school that you don't see at home. This is normal and is not necessarily an indication that they are doing anything wrong. The school will likely not see everything that you see at home and this also is not an indication that they are doing something better than you are. This is a normal reaction to different environments.

4. Follow the rules. Your child's classroom will have different rules than you have at home. That's life. Your child should be expected to follow those rules and will quickly figure out that different environments have different rules. Unless it is medically or clinically necessary to change the rules for your child- don't.

The key to a successful school year is careful and compassionate communication, holding both your child's school and your child accountable for their part in the education process and allowing everyone involved the chance to succeed.

Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why I Work at Latham Centers


The ability to create special, personal memories with the students is why being a teacher at Latham beats anywhere else. Being able to create a mural in my sensory room with all of my students AND being able to attend community outings with all of my students are memories I will never forget.
And the administration team is pretty awesome, too.

Kara McDowell

Interested in joining our team? Click HERE to view our latest employment opportunities.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Latham Lessons

Someone asked me today how many years have I worked at Latham. Thirty. 3 – Zero. Thirty years at this wonderful place. Some of the staff I am now training aren’t even that old.  I have witnessed enormous change in that time. I think I can recall every nook and cranny in the main house--parts of which no longer exist. I remember sitting in the upstairs porch (gone) sorting socks in the 1980’s. I remember going down the back stairs (gone) into the art classroom (gone) and out to the side porch (gone) to collect milk from a milkman (gone, too) to bring to the kitchen (remodeled).  This was before we had a school building. Before a clinical building.  Before moving the administration off-campus. Before we had a beautiful dorm. Before the idea of a “Museum Campus” was even thought about. Before we had cell phones, computers, smart boards, and yes, even before we had boys. Even before donkeys.

Sometimes I think about the kids, now adults, whose lives have touched mine. I try and remember them all and many stand out for their courage and frankly, their feistiness. Those pesky HIPAA regs prevent me from sharing details but know that Brenda, Charmaine, Anna, Debbie, Donna, Wits, Stephanie, Kathy, Donese, Lisa, Crystal, Julie, Maria, Cheryl, Allison, Sarah, Misty and so many more made their presence known and I have never forgotten them. I think they taught me much more than I taught them. I believe I became a better parent through my apprenticeship journey and still say that it was easier to get 32 Latham students up and ready for school than it was to get my own three kids out the door.

I have had the honor of working with truly wonderful staff. Staff whose dedication, generosity, guidance and professionalism helped me chart my own career course in this field.  More than a few times I have had new hires who looked somewhat familiar to me—and of course they did…I have their class photos from 2nd or 3rd grade when they were in school with my kids.  I’ve worked with their parents, occasionally even their grandparents. It is important, meaningful work and I am preparing to leave it in good hands as I finally make good on my plan to retire. Leaving Latham is really hard. And I’m not sure that Latham will really ever truly leave me. It has worked its way into my heart and soul and I am forever grateful for the opportunities and life lessons it has taught me. As I finish up this October, I hope I can tell you how much you meant to me without choking up. If my experience writing this is any indication, I will fail miserably….

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"You have been my friends. That in itself is a tremendous thing." 
~E.B. White - 

Friday, August 22, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Teaching Boundary Skills

Learning and respecting appropriate boundaries is the cornerstone to making and maintaining friendships and becoming a functioning member of society. Unfortunately this is an area where many of our kids struggle immensely. Here are some ways to help your child learn how to improve their boundary skills.
1. Role play. Act out with your child both good and bad interactions. It may also be useful to video tape your role play so your child can see first hand what is acceptable and what is not. As is the case with so many unwanted behaviors, they simply may not know how they are coming across to others.

2. Be consistent. If they are close talkers then teach arms length personal space and redirect them every time they step too close. This behavior will only keep presenting itself unless it is corrected every time it happens.

3. Don't be tolerant of any sexualized behavior. We know that undressing during moments of high anxiety is a behavior that is not uncommon and we also know that the intention is not to be sexually threatening however, this behavior will cause enormous problems later in life. A 5 year old stripping in public is manageable, a 25 year old is not and will likely bring legal action. This behavior should be met with zero tolerance for their own sake. This is also true for masturbating anywhere other than their own room or bathroom.

4. Learning empathy. The majority of our kids have great empathy for others. Their level of empathy can be compromised if there is personal gain involved. The best way to teach empathy is by showing it yourself. It is crucial that your child never hears or feels that you are excusing their behavior because of the syndrome. Likewise do not allow your child to hear you blame someone else for their misbehavior. Their actions are their responsibility and we teach the necessary skills from there.

Even though our kids struggle with standing too close, repetitive question asking, over attaching to certain people, and sometimes disrobing it does not mean that these are life long behaviors. They are often a result of either heightened anxiety or simply not knowing that it is not appropriate. These skills can be learned and should be taught from a very early age.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Vacation Week at Latham!

What types of activities do the students excitedly wait for during this week? Here is one that we truly enjoy. It is  educational but mostly…it’s fun. What a great resource in our own back (or maybe it is the front) yard!

Canal Kids, Sandwich
Drop in and join the Canal Park Rangers for fun & educational programs exploring different aspects of the canal w/ hands-on activities & games, learn what Park Rangers do, about marine life, and more.
Presenting on 8/26:  Birds of a Feather

Submitted by:
Kristi Dolbec