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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Clinical Department at Latham Centers Meets the Ice Bucket Challenge!


This week’s science outing: Seal Tours at Monomoy Island Seal Tours!

Now this is the way to learn science! Latham heads out to sea to explore the habitat of the seal. Monomoy Island here we come!

Top 10 Reasons Why I Teach at Latham Centers

1. Being part of a multi-faceted approach to the entirety a student’s care and growth.

2. Being part of that approach with a large group of people who are not ego driven, but focused on the kids.

3. Getting to know the students to the level where you can’t imagine life without them.

4. Feeling like I’m part of something that’s of great value to society.

5. Flexibility to try new ideas and develop the ones that work.

6. Being around co-workers who seem to be enjoying what they are doing.

7. Casual dress code.

8. Flexible days off (we won’t mention the year roundedness!)

9. It’s 10 minutes from home (for me anyhow)

10. A sincere feeling of belief in the organization’s stated mission.

Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Interested in a career at Latham Centers? Click HERE for our latest job openings.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pondering the Future

Sunset at Rock Harbor, Orleans
Sometimes we are so caught up in what comes next that we miss out on what comes now. We look forward to those big events. Occasionally that future vacation is what gets you through a rough patch at work or at home. More often than not, I think we all fall victim to the perils of living for the next great thing. I have come to the realization that I probably missed a lot of wonderful moments in life waiting for the “big” happening  to come about. I am trying hard to train myself to be more present and aware of the small things unfolding all around me. 

Last night I was planning for the high tide hours over the weekend. Hunting for a tide chart, wondering if I needed to go food shopping had me scurrying around my house. My husband decided it was time for a drive, no destination planned—just getting in the car and heading out. As the sun was setting, we went to the harbor and caught the end of an incredible sunset. We sat there silently and watched the sky turn dark. It was one of the best experiences of my summer and almost missed entirely while planning out the weekend. So Latham blog readers, enjoy the small things in life. Your child’s delight in bugs, their giggling and silliness, the warmth of the sun, the smell of sunscreen lotion. It is all great stuff and totally worth paying attention to.

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Monday, August 18, 2014

Team Latham: 18 Victors in 2014 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

A big congratulations to all eighteen runners in this year’s Falmouth Road Race and to all twenty fundraisers! Amidst nearly 13,000 race participants, our 18 charity runners successfully ran through the finish line on a beautiful, mildly breezy day Sunday, August 17.

To date, Team Latham has raised more than $23,000 from almost 300 generous supporters towards vocational and educational programs at Latham Centers. Proceeds will help our students and adults to attend events such as Special Olympics and partake in physical enrichment activities and assistive educational technology. With Team Latham donors stepping up to the plate even today, some runners are going to continue fundraising throughout the week in an effort for some to still meet their individual $1,000 goals, and for others to exceed goal!

To make a general team donation click here, and all the runners will benefit from your kindness. To see a list of all 18 runners and help a specific runner meet or exceed his or her goal, please click here. We truly appreciate all the hard work of our runners, as well as the generosity of our runners’ sponsors who have supported the very dedicated Team Latham!

“If someone can make it from where I was to where I am now, anyone can do it.” –Latham Student and Runner Ryan M.

Thank you to the 2014 Team Latham Runners/Fundraisers:

Steve Bebrin 
Andrew Cramer
Jo-Ellen Erickson
Scott Esselman

 Ryan M.

John Bonanni
Melinda Brennan
Kalyn Mika
Gerry Pouliot
Meghan Pouliot
Travis Tebbetts
Mary Ware
Nancy Warner

Chris Bonelli
Magda Moran
Evan Wilson

Katrina Fryklund
Anne Haglof
Gracie Stark


What do you enjoy most about your job?

The flexibility in the opportunities to implement personalized curriculum here that creates memorable experiences, cannot be found in many schools. Each teacher here at Latham is allowed to be creative in their approach which makes our school extremely complex and unique. I am a part of an amazing educational team that is supportive and dynamic. It makes this job enjoyable and exciting. 

Describe a few of your responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.

As a classroom teacher I am responsible for creating engaging lesson plans, drafting Individualized Education Programs for each of my students, and creating an environment that is safe, social, and stimulating. I spend much of my time teaching my class basic school subjects, as well as providing support in social scenarios, implementing anti-bullying curriculum, and supporting each student’s individual needs. 

What skills are most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS?

Flexibility, resiliency, and patience are all important for working with individuals with PWS. The ability to “think on your feet” and change your plans as necessary, is extremely important. Our students need people who will do anything they can to help them achieve their goals. 

What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff?

The most important lesson I attempt to teach new staff is to listen. Listen to the students’ stories, comments, concerns, etc., and you will learn more about them as individuals. Listen to veteran staff’s advice, helpful hints, stories, etc., and you will learn more about how to be successful with our population. 

What do you love about working with individuals with PWS?

Their perseverance and ingenuity is incredible! All of the students at Latham are capable of surprising themselves, peers, and staff everyday! 

Has this job taught you anything about yourself?

As a recent college graduate embarking on my first teaching career, I did not realize that I was accepting a position that would teach me so much about myself. This job has taught me that I have incredible patience, tenacity to help others achieve, and an amazing sense of creativity and imagination.  

How do you spend your time when you’re not working at Latham?

As a new resident of Cape Cod, I spend most of my time exploring all this area has to offer and enjoying the beach. I also enjoy relaxing in my apartment by reading and painting in my free time. 

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career at Latham Centers?

Learn about what we do here at Latham! Take a look at our website and blog to see what we do and what we are all about. Learning about the individuals we serve and their complex needs is also essential to any one’s success here at Latham. And if you want to be a part of a wonderful team.. apply! We are an amazing group of professionals and we work with an even more amazing group of young individuals!