Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Salute You

You know it’s tourist season when you call to get your dog groomed and the first appointment available is six weeks away. This gives new meaning to the term “dog days of summer”. I find my patience running out much quicker as I add on the extra time necessary to my commute, food shopping trips, appointments, and errands. I totally get why people are coming to Cape Cod for their precious time off but must you all be on the road at the same time? Deep breaths; take deep breaths. Six weeks left and I’m counting down to Labor Day.
But you know what? I know how fortunate I am. No small children to load, secure and entertain in the car. No sporting equipment taking up (and smelling up) the back. Hockey equipment is, by far, the worst stuff in the world to be carting around. I have no need to find handicapped spaces or have a grand plan around meal time. My complaints are nothing more than minor inconveniences in my life. MINOR!
So to the parents and caregivers out there battling the daily grind, I salute you. I want you to know how truly remarkable I think you are. You are schedule-maker royality, prepared for every potential curve ball thrown your way. You have back-up plans, know where all the rest rooms are enroute to your destination and carry wet wipes, band-aids and healthy snacks in your bag. You are the masters of distraction—you know your child’s musical likes and play it in your car over and over again. You count trucks, school buses, traffic lights and you do all this while driving your precious cargo to school, activities and medical appointments. It is no wonder that you are exhausted at the end of the day. In between this you have a job, a home and other responsibilities. Corporations, governments and the military would benefit from your efficiency and time management skills.

I plan on remembering that all this is a minor inconvenience the next time I have to sit in traffic, in my car, by myself. And when I get home tonight I recognize my day is done but yours is still going. That’s what parents do. And you are mighty, mighty parents.

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Saturday, July 19, 2014

100 Hours!

The Latham Works staff is proud to announce a milestone we reached today. For the first time our student employees surpassed 100 hours of clocked-in work time in a two-week pay period!  39 students contributed to this total – some worked a half-hour, some worked over ten hours, but everyone has pitched in beautifully to start a busy, busy Summer Tide Vocational schedule.

Submitted by:
Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Dream Day on Cape Cod!

Students attended the Dream Day Games today at Nickerson State Park! The students participated in archery, fishing, craft projects and a delicious cookout!!!

TIP of the WEEK: In Home Caregivers

Although the idea of taking time away, running errands solo or just being able to finish a thought sounds wonderful, the idea of leaving your child with family members or paid help can be daunting at best and dangerous at worst. Here is what to plan for, look for and expect in people left in charge of your child.

  • If it is a family member that you have entrusted to watch your child be sure that it is a mature, considerate, and proven ally. Tempting as it may be, your 14 year old niece who texts more than she talks is probably not the right choice but siblings, parents, and grandparents can be a great support to you given the correct information and expectations.

  • If your child has challenging behavioral or medical complications plan for two or more caregivers at once. Multiple caregivers ensures that your child’s needs will be met and will also give you a more accurate picture of what happened while you were away.

  • If you are using an agency to schedule short term caregivers, insist that whoever they send watches one of the many PWS training videos. You are paying for this service and are well within your rights to ask for this to be done. You can also ask for the person who will be watching your child to come to your house to meet your son or daughter beforehand. This is a reasonable request that can ease a lot of anxiety on the part of you and your child.

  •  If you are not satisfied with a caregiver, either from an agency, the school or even your own family, offer feedback and support before switching to someone else. We are used to many of the common behaviors and idiosyncrasies of PWS but for someone new to the syndrome they can be confusing and baffling. Take time to teach and explain, support and foster before giving up. This is, of course, barring any egregious acts.

Whomever you decide to use take the time to train them to the needs of your child. Have them spend time with your child while you are home to get an idea of the dynamic between them and to offer help in the moment when any issues arise. Being present initially allows the caregiver to see how you would handle a difficult situation and allows your child to see that everyone is on the same page. Be sure to go over your expectations with your child before you go and hold them accountable for any undesired behaviors that occurred, this sends a clear message of your expectations for them regardless of who they are with. Most importantly, if you find a good caregiver that you trust- treat them well and hang on to them tightly! Good, trusted caregivers are hard to find and are so necessary to your overall well-being.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Place Matters: A Latham Centers Reunion with Susan Lindquist

As one of the Lower Cape's largest employers, Latham Centers has many "alum employee" friends in the community.  One of those individuals is Susan Lindquist of Brewster. Latham Development staff Katrina Fryklund and Gerry Desautels met with Susan Lindquist at Lower Cape TV in Eastham to record for Cable TV and WOMR radio “This Place Matters.” Lindquist, former Program Director at Latham Centers in the early years, is the host of the show.  “This Place Matters” features interviews with Cape Cod Professionals about important matters in the community.  The show will air on television channels 99 and 22 on July 23rd at 12:30 as well as on WOMR, 92.1 FM and WFMR, 91.3 FM.  Please see the TV schedule HERE.

Susan, Gerry, and Katrina reminisced about Latham’s past and celebrated Latham’s future.  View the show online or in a compatible listening/viewing area to learn of the dramatic changes in Latham’s training processes and the progress Latham Centers’ residential clinicians and staff have made over its 44 year history, specifically in regards to PWS programming.

The show also touches upon Latham's newest vocational initiative--Latham Lifelong Pet Care. As individuals with complex special needs are highly underemployed, those with PWS can face even more severe obstacles in finding meaningful and safe employment environments. Latham Lifelong Pet Care sees individuals with PWS not only as hirable, but essential to the new program's success and vitality. Moreover, Latham Lifelong Pet Care meets the pet care needs of the Cape Community through dog walking and short and long-term care options.

To learn more about “This Place Matters” please click HERE.

To learn more about this program please visit www.lathamlifelongpetcare.org.

Submitted by: 
Katrina Fryklund

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Rainy Day at the Beach

If I had planned a vacation on Cape Cod, this would have been the week. Why? Basically the weather has been, how shall I say this…awful. Yes, truth be told, we occasionally have nasty weather and with my luck, this would have been my week. So, as a parent and an employee of an agency specializing in complex special needs, the question becomes….what does one do during spells of bad weather?

First, always consider the safety factor and don’t underestimate Mother Nature. If thunder & lightning are forecast, get inside! If you live with other weather related hazards (tornadoes, hurricanes, etc...), follow recommended safety protocols. However, I have found the beach to be a particularly great place to go on a drizzly day. Less worry about the sun, fewer people, and no ice cream truck! The kids are going to go in the water and get wet anyway so, why not? That beach umbrella can double as a rain cover too. You can still find shells, explore jetties for periwinkles and crabs and build sand castles. In fact, the sand becomes perfect for sand castles. It is easier to watch your kids and with more beach available you can have the space you need that your child is comfortable with. Also, more parking spaces mean less distance to cover with toys, equipment and mobility issues.

Many beaches have adaptive wheelchairs that not only go on the sand but can take your child right into the water.  Check with the visitor center in your town to see where these are available. Always go to life-guarded beaches. As the mom of former lifeguards I can tell you that they still work on those days (they might not be happy, but they are working). And if they aren’t available, that’s probably a good indicator that you shouldn’t be there either. Inform the lifeguard of any special concerns that you are comfortable sharing. It has been my experience that these heroes of the beach can make a positive lasting impression on kids and offer parents an extra pair of eyes scanning the water. And never assume anyone else is watching your kids more closely than you.

Bring back shells, driftwood, beach glass, pebbles (leave the live things there please) and make a memento of your time on vacation. Nature trail walks, bike rides, outdoor exploring can all happen on days the sun doesn’t come out. It doesn’t have to mean sitting in front of the TV all day. Especially when there are adventures to be had!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Brewster Ladies’ Library receives the “Big” Check! 

On Saturday May 3rd, The Latham School of Brewster welcomed the public to join staff and volunteers on guided tours through the exquisite campus. On the tour, the community was given an opportunity to view a variety of buildings. The tour ended with Latham President & CEO, Anne McManus speaking on the history of the Captain Elijah Bangs Main House.

One spot in particular that seemed to be of interest was the student craft fair table located right outside of the Main House. Students sold a variety of goods ranging from jewelry to students paintings. Members of the community were given an assortment of soaps as a token of thanks. All proceeds from the student led craft fair were donated to our friends at the Brewster Ladies Library. The students are forever grateful for the opportunities that the Brewster Ladies’ Library provides us. In response to the money being donated to the Brewster Ladies’ Library, Latham student Gordon K. stated; “I’m so happy the money went to them, because they always do so much for us!” 

Latham Student Brendan P. had the honor of distributing the “big” check on Tuesday July 8th, 2014.  Brendan happily presented the check in the amount of $554.40 to Nori Morganstein; Assistant Director; Youth Services Librarian from the Brewster Ladies Library. Nori is a familiar face to all of the students at Latham. When spotted on campus Tuesday, she received a wholehearted welcome!

I think it is safe to say that the Latham School campus tour was a huge success!

Submitted by:
Brittni Taylor
Assistant Principal

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Reasons to Work at Latham Centers


1. You will not find a better group of adults and children to help. Staff who work at Latham always point to the relationships they have with the adults and children they serve as one of the best things they love about their job. Over time, staff develop a sense of connection and care with our individuals that makes their work truly meaningful and important. At Latham your work is directly changing the world for the better, one person at a time.

2. Latham is an international leader. Latham is one of the few programs in the world that works with both children and adults with Prader Willi Syndrome. Each day our blog, website, Facebook Page, and Twitter feed are viewed from individuals from around the world looking for help. Although we are located on tiny Cape Cod, the work we do is recognized as progressive and innovative.

3. We are a Mission driven team. As an Agency, we are bound together through our focus on achieving a single Mission: Latham Centers compassionately and creatively helps children and adults with complex special needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome, to lead meaningful, abundant lives. In order to be successful, we must work collaboratively with each other. Working with others who “get it” is comforting and enjoyable.

4. No experience is necessary. Many of our best employees came to Latham as a first step. If you have no formal experience that is alright; in fact, fresh eyes and ears can sometimes be very beneficial to our overall team. All you need is a genuine interest in our adults/children and a true willingness to learn. We provide ample amounts of training for all staff to ensure that they have the tools they need.

5. There is room for advancement if you develop your skills. Our jobs allow for advancement and provide career development in-house. Many of our supervisors, administrators, clinicians and nurses, -started as direct care staff in entry level positions. If you are looking for a job with potential, Latham has opportunities.

6. There are a variety of schedules to fit any lifestyle. We offer full time, part time and substitute positions. For some staff this is their full time profession while others work only one weekend a month. If you have an interest in the work, we can figure out a way to have you join our team.

7. We will help pay for you to go to school. Latham has tuition reimbursement for staff obtaining their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Many of our staff work and attend school at the same time.

8. Dress code is casual. We prefer that you be comfortable. That’s something you don’t hear at most jobs.

Paid time off, full benefits and occasionally free donuts. Latham provides reliable and consistent employment. We provide excellent benefits that rival any employer on the Cape. The doughnuts regularly show up at trainings and meetings. Who doesn’t love an occasional free doughnut?

10. You would be doing really, really important work. Latham has a very stable team of employees. The average length of service is six years. One-third of our staff has been here over five years. Employees stay with us that long because they believe the work they are doing is important.

If you feel the need to impact the world around you, then please consider joining our team.