Latham Profiles: Katherine Atwater
May 19, 2016
Current Position: Special Education Teacher
Time at Latham: 7 Months
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Previous to Latham, I spent 11 years teaching elementary school in northern New Jersey. There my task was to teach a state mandated curriculum that didn’t necessarily map to student need. At Latham, I find I can pursue a much more creative approach to my profession. Lessons are developed that respond directly to my students’ needs. Curriculum is revamped as needed to teach skills that will allow our students to live productive and fulfilling lives.
What do you love about working with individuals with PWS or other complex special needs?
There is a tremendous sense of community on campus, both among the students and with the staff. One student reported to me that in his program at his public school he had no friends and he felt angry all the time. He said at Latham he has made friends who understand what it is like to live with PWS and he has learned to control his anger. There is a lot of satisfaction in being part of a community that restores a sense of belonging and mastery to individuals with special needs.
How do you spend your time when you’re not working at Latham?
We just purchased an old sea captain’s farmhouse on the Cape. My time off is spent renovating, painting, and gardening to bring this old place back to its former glory.
What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career at Latham Centers?
There is a steep learning curve, and it takes time for the kids to learn they can trust you. If you invest yourself in them, the relationships that are developed, and the growth in which you get to participate will provide returns many fold!