Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Latham Works News

Evie did an awesome job working the cash register in the school store accurately and INDEPENDENTLY. Fred had to get something from the office so there was no one standing next to her to guide her.  I was watching from the door as she rang several items in accurately, clicked the subtotal button, rang in the amount of cash received, and came up with the correct change based on the register’s readout, with 100% independence and accuracy. Great Circle of Courage action from Evie!  Mastery and independence for sure, with a bit of belonging to boot (she was polite with her customer too). Great job!

Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Successful Year to Benefit Latham Programs & Facilities

Fellow Latham Staffer and Accounts Payable Specialist Anne Haglof
(second from left) with her Golf Foursome
On Monday, October 20th, 2014 Latham Centers held its 5th Annual Charity Golf Classic on a beautiful and brisk autumn day at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club. Thank you to all of our community-minded sponsors, golfers, donors, volunteers, and staff who supported Latham Centers and contributed to another successful annual fundraising event. The day Golf Classic attracted a sold out roster of 132 golfers; additional guests arrived for the evening dinner banquet to bid on some 45 diverse live and silent auction items.

Red River Oil Painting by Carroll Sivco sold in the Live Auction.
This year there were a few highlights in the event that were “close to home!”  Latham Centers’ Children’s Program Nurse, Carroll Sivco donated one of her beautiful oil paintings entitled “Red River” (seen above) selling at the live auction.  Several staff, family members, and Latham vendors played and/or volunteered and donated to the Classic along with two adult residents playing on the Nicklaus© Design 18-hole, private course!  Latham School students created charming seasonal centerpieces for the dinner banquet with the help of teacher Suzanna Requa-Trautz (below).

Partial proceeds from this year’s Golf Classic support the Latham Community Center Capital Campaign, and help to more fully enrich the life-changing and -enhancing programs offered at Latham Centers. 

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL in making the event such a success!

Gratefully Submitted by
Katrina Fryklund & Gerry Desautels
Latham Development Office

Monday, October 27, 2014

Latham Centers Announces New Director of Children's Services

Latham Centers is pleased to announce that Gerry Pouliot, III has been appointed the new Director of Children's Services, working from the Latham School Children's campus in Brewster, MA. As a native Cape Codder, Mr. Pouliot began his career as a special education teacher in the public system before choosing to join Latham in 2010 as the lead teacher in our Nauset classroom. Mr. Pouliot has been Latham School's Director of Education since 2012. Under his leadership, the school and its education program have experienced a number of improvements. During his tenure, Mr. Pouliot has demonstrated skill in creating community, recognizing and developing talents in others and fostering collaboration.

Having worked up "through the ranks," we are especially excited to have a leader that intimately knows the program. In recognition of this, we have asked Gerry to explain why he believes Latham is the best place to work. Here are his Top Ten Reasons:
  • Love working in an environment that promotes creativity and outside-the-box thinking!
  • Staff, staff, staff... I may be biased but Latham staff members are the most dedicated group of professionals that I have ever worked with.
  • The curriculum allows educators to educate our students with a hands-on approach that meets the core curriculum.
  • The moment when a student smiles because they achieved an important milestone such as passing the MCAS, scoring a touchdown at Special Olympics, or participating in a residential social skills group.
  • Watching the campus-wide after school activities (I just recently learned the game of SPUD!)
  • Observing our students working so hard in Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapy. I do not think everyone truly knows the dedication and commitment our students have to excel with these specialized therapies.
  • The Community Meeting! Once a month all components get together with the students to celebrate student and staff accomplishments over the course of the month. Watch out, I personally give out the "Hey, that's really cool award."
  • Sensory Art, Lights, Camera, Action!, Woodworking, Maintenance staff, and classes they offer our students, Seasonal Crafts, Student Council, Gardening, Book Club, Science, and Swim Outings, the Nauset Garden Club Ladies, Visiting Companion Animal Dogs, and the PWS Club, and 21-Club―just a few clubs/activities that Latham has to offer.
  • The parents. As the Director of Education I was responsible for communicating the Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) with parents/guardians and funding school districts. I have learned so much about our population through the parents of our individuals. I have learned that compassion, patience and focused guidance are key attributes that one must have when working with our unique population.
  • Finally, our students. It is their courage that inspires me and the staff on a daily basis. It is the everyday occurrences that serve as minor miracles that we may take for granted; but once we can take a step back and breathe, we collectively realize that we wouldn't want to work anywhere else.

Friday, October 24, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Help in Realizing Meaningful Relationships

We often hear people with PWS described as being the “mayor” of his or her community because the ability to make acquaintances comes quite naturally. Parents of PWS children often describe their kids as someone that everyone in the town knows and likes; but the challenge comes when it is time to move from acquaintances to being and having a true friend. The ability to have meaningful relationships is essential for anyone to have an abundant, quality life, including those with PWS.

There are a number of things that you can do (and not do) to help your child along in obtaining meaningful and fulfilling relationships:

1. Play fair. It is tempting to let your child win at games because he or she has so many challenges. Why not let them have some success when you have control over it? While it is true that success breeds confidence, always winning also makes for a child with unrealistic expectations.

2. Hold your child accountable. Poor behavior is poor behavior, regardless of the diagnosis. After a behavioral incident, give your child some time to calm down and regroup and then go over the incident. If you allow your child to say or believe that any acts of violence, tantrums, or verbal outbursts are because of PWS, you are doing a disservice to your child. Children will often meet the expectations put on them and a child with a developmental disability is no different in that regard. There will likely be slips along the road, but continue to make your expectations clear.

3. Practice saying nice things about people. Get your child in the habit of complimenting others, especially peers.

4. Focus on the positive. Finding one good thing about someone you don’t like teaches children that people are not all bad. There may be something about a person that they don’t like but asking them to talk about something good about a person that they don’t get along with is an important life lesson.

5. Mistakes are okay and human. Never give up.

6. Allow for risk taking. We grow and learn as a result of our successes and our failures. 

7. Keep trying.

8. Have fun!

9. Avoid blaming other people in front of your child. You may have legitimate issues with 
teachers, other parents or providers but being critical of them in front of your child teaches them that it is okay to be disrespectful. 

10. Embrace every success and learn from every failure.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Latham Works News

Today Liam broke in the new power sander during woodworking club.  After a brief training session, Liam put on all of his protective gear and got to work. He smoothed out the piece pictured thoroughly and followed directions to near perfection!

This 4 Box Shelf is being custom painted to fill the order of a staff member.  Our woodworkers would work for you too! Give a shout to Fred or Andy for more info at:

 Latham Works: 508-896-5776 extension 258.

Andy Needel
Vocational teacher

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Visiting at Latham

Well, I have to ring the doorbell for access to my old office and to be honest, that will take some getting used to. I have had the pleasure of visiting the campus and administrative offices on several occasions since my departure and nothing, I mean nothing, is better than a warm welcome from students upon arrival back at “work”.  Being greeted with shouts and hugs does wonders for your soul. Among the happy hellos was my favorite response…”You again? I thought you retired.” But there was a smile attached to that face and to those words. 

I was here to celebrate the dedication of the school to former Latham Administrators, now friends and fellow retirees. Kathy Long and Matt McNamara were here when I arrived at Latham and nurtured this agency through the early years--much in the way a parent helps to support and guide their child through elementary, middle and high school. It was great to reminiscence about the old days and see how far Latham has come to advance the care, treatment and support of people with Prader Willi Syndrome and other complex special needs.

I hope there are many reasons in the future for me to drop in at Latham. I love seeing the kids working diligently in school and our adults engaged in the community. And I absolutely love to hear those words…You, again?

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Latham Dedicates Campus Schoolhouse the McNamara-Long Schoolhouse

Yesterday Latham Centers dedicated its campus schoolhouse for children with complex special needs the McNamara-Long Schoolhouse. Amidst an intimate crowd of staff, students, and members of the Latham Board of Directors, Latham President & CEO Anne McManus unveiled the new schoolhouse sign with the assistance of honorees Matt McNamara and Kathy Long.

Together, Mr. McNamara and Ms. Long dedicated years of service to the children and adults who call Latham home. Kathy and Matt were involved with Latham in leadership capacities during its formative years and set up a foundation for its future growth and development and, for that, we are forever thankful. Their compassion, professionalism and commitment continue to serve as a model for all of us. Today, Latham School serves approximately 45 residential and day students on its tightly-knit Brewster campus. The schoolhouse houses a library, multiple classrooms, occupational therapy and nursing, technology, and administrative offices. 

Originally dedicated in 2002 as the McNamara Schoolhouse, an addition to the building has since been added while honoring the combined and collective work of Mr. McNamara and Ms. Long, dating as far back as 1974 through 2003.

Matt began his involvement at Latham (formerly Residential Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.) in 1974 assuming the role of Director of Education. Subsequently he served as Latham’s Executive Director, a position he held until 1984. 

Matt then went on to work with the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools as Director of Membership Assistance and Deputy Director until 1991 when he obtained his Law degree at Suffolk University. He then pursued a successful and meaningful career as an attorney helping children and schools throughout the Commonwealth. After his retirement, Latham was fortunate to have had Matt rejoin us as a member of the board of directors.

In 1974, Kathy began her tenure with Latham Centers in a social work capacity. As the scope of social services increased in the late 70’s and early 80’s and the social service department at Latham expanded accordingly, Kathy assumed new roles and responsibilities including supervisor and social services coordinator. In 1981 Kathy was one of three people responsible for the design and implementation of the Gilbough Center, the second program in the nation developed to address the unique needs of people with Prader-Willi Syndrome. With the inception of the Gilbough Center and the implementation of a mentoring program for Latham School students called Options for Independence, the demands for agency-wide regulatory and programmatic accountability increased significantly. Kathy assumed the role as Director of Programs, a position created to address the evolving needs of the agency.

In 1985 Kathy left Latham Centers but returned in 1988 as its first Director of Human Resources and Training. In this position, Kathy developed or revised many of Latham’s personnel policies and practices and instituted the agency’s first comprehensive staff training pertaining to therapeutic crises intervention. 

In 1993, as the agency’s administrative demands increased, Kathy was appointed to the position of Associate Executive Director - a position she held until her retirement in 2003.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PWS Conference News

What an amazing week for conferences! Over the weekend I had the honor of speaking at the Ontario PWS Association in Toronto. I met new families and had the pleasure of seeing old friends. The conference presenters were made up of parents, caregivers, physicians, and attorneys all speaking to what matters most- helping our kids succeed.
This week I am in Virginia at the National Organization for Rare Diseases conference celebrating 30 years of advocacy and renewed hope offered through the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. What incredible people, dedicating their lives to improving medical care and research for the hundreds of rare diseases that many health professionals ignore. Today is day one and I am looking forward to learning and spreading the word about PWS. 

Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services