Friday, July 31, 2009

Adult Services Holds Annual Picnic

Latham Centers adult services held their annual picnic on Sunday, July 25th at the beautiful Gray's Beach in Yarmouth, MA. More than thirty five individuals, along with their parents, staff and board members enjoyed a festive day that included a barbeque followed by swimming and socializing in the sun.

The picnic is a wonderful opportunity for families to meet with one another together with their children. The picnickers dined on grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, home made pasta and tossed salad, and fresh fruit for dessert.

Judging by the smiles, a great time was had by all!

"Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you."

~Annie Dillard

News From PWS Children's Program...Our Outing to Krista Kays!

Krista Kays is an ice cream shop where the kids can get ice cream for a total of 32 calories. The kids go here twice a month as a little treat (choosing to give up their chocolate milk at dinner, in order to get this treat.) At Krista Kays everyone is allowed one “base” ice-cream and two flavors. This is a lot of choices for them! Most of the girls went with chocolate, cheesecake and some other random flavor like mint or bubble gum.
Tuesday night I took five of the girls out to ice cream after dinner. I had them decide what they were going to get before we left campus so there would be no confusion or anxiety when we got there. I wrote down what each kid wanted with their initials next to it. When we got there, all of the girls sat at a table while I ordered their ice cream. I asked that their cups be labeled with their initials rather than what they were eating. The girls loved this idea and felt a certain sense on security knowing that there would be no mistakes around their food, this is what they ordered and what they are getting.
I found a good way to keep them occupied on something positive. Instead of being anxious about all of the yummy treats at the ice cream shop, I gave each of them little jobs to do while we were there (they really enjoy being able to help out!) Since I had a new staff with me I asked a couple of the girls to help her to decide what is good. The girls loved this and even ended up convincing me that coconut, kalua, and chocolate ice-cream would be the perfect mix for me (and it was not!) But I tried it anyway.
We all had a wonderful time and they were so well behaved & appropriate, even remembering to thank me when we left for taking them!

Article submitted by: Kelly McCarthy

"Ice cream is happiness condensed."
~Jessi Lane Adams

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rock Harbor Fishing Trip 2009!

On Wednesday July 22nd, twelve Latham students went out fishing on Rock Harbor. The students were Kevin, Jeanne, Ashley, Brian, Richard, Trevor, Brennan, Jessie, Max, Leona, Stefanie, and Dalton. It was a Special Olympics event that was canceled earlier in the year and we thought it wouldn’t happen at all. The fishermen donated their boats and their time to give our kids a wonderful day of fishing in Cape Cod Bay. The students had a great time and everyone caught at least one fish. Most students caught blue fish, but a few students caught bass. Leona won the event with her 41 inch bass!

Click HERE to view the article in the Cape Cod Times.

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea."
~Isak Dinesen

Friday, July 17, 2009

News From The International Prader-Willi Conference

Jonathan Smith, Director of Children’s Services, and Christine Gallant, Director of Training and Marketing, recently attended the International Prader Willi Conference in Herne, Germany. This international group of doctors and other practitioners from 17 countries met to develop standards and best practices for working with individuals with PWS. It is expected that we will have the proceedings of this event as well as last’s years conference by the end of the summer.
Dr. Janice Forster from the Pittsburgh Partnership chaired a group facilitated by Jonathan on the array of relationships that individuals with PWS have. Other groups met to discuss Environment, Self-Determination, and Behavior Management which were identified in last year’s conference of deserving a more in depth discussion. Christine and Jonathan then went on to Paris to meet with physicians and government officials, including the health advisor to the President of France, on the need for developing PWS specific programming for French citizens.
The photo is of Jonathan Smith standing in the courtyard of the Elysee palace after his meeting with Raphael Radanne, advisor to the President for health.

"Teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success."
~Author Unknown

Friday, July 10, 2009


Latham Profile for: Holly Hanlon
Residential Supervisor for Simpkins Cottage and the North Wing Childrens Program

What is your job? Describe your specific responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.

Holly: "I supervise the Children’s Program Prader Willi houses. I make sure the houses are kept clean and everything is in working order and that the staff have everything that they need to run an activity rich sensory program for our students. I often check in to make sure the staff have the right behavioral tools to deal with our students when they are experiencing a stuck moment. We are in the process now of making sure we have “carrot” incentives to get our students through their difficult behaviors."

What skills are the most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS? What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff?

Holly: "Don’t try and have a lengthy conversation with the PWS student that is in a shut down. They will only hear the first 3 words out of your mouth. Make sure those 3 words count and make them appealing and positive."

"Make sure you offer options that work for you the staff, as well as the PWS individual.
The PWS individual needs to be heard, but not over and over again. If they are perseverating and you have answered the question, ask them what you said. This works some of the time."

"It is not prudent to revisit a particularly bad incident with our PWS students. Once the issue or behavior is over, bringing it up again may start the whole behavior you were trying to avoid up again."

"It is our responsibility to keep them safe. That means keeping all food items safely out of sight."

"If there is a change in activities always assure them that their meal will still be given to them at the regular time. Their world revolves around food."

What do you love about working with individuals with PWS?

Holly: "Their enthusiasm for life. I always marvel at how they are always welcoming to new individuals who visit our program and how exited they are to hear we may be having company."

What is most helpful to individuals with PWS?

Holly: "Patience, understanding, fairness, respect and your undivided attention."

What do you do when you are not working at Latham?

Holly: "I’m always working at Latham. On those rare occasions I’m not, you will find me enjoying one of the many beaches on Cape Cod."

"Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. 

Autograph your work with excellence."
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brewster Whitecaps Host Latham

Monday July 6 was Latham night at the Brewster Whitecaps baseball game. Kids have been looking forward to this night for quite a while and they were excited to go to the game. The Brewster Whitecaps are a part of the Cape Cod Baseball League, one of the best amateur baseball leagues in the world.

Prior to the start of the game, the kids were invited to come on to the field and stand with the teams as the National Anthem was performed. The organization was also kind enough to provide dinner for all the kids and staff who attended. There is little else that says summer more than enjoying a hot dog, cold drink and watching a baseball game.

The Latham Centers has another connection to the Brewster Whitecaps through two of its players. Mark Canha and Stephen Yarrow are Whitecaps and members of the Latham maintenance team. They are wonderful summer additions to our campus and we are grateful to have them here.

Latham gives sincere thanks to the entire Brewster Whitecaps organization for treating us so nicely. You created a memorable night for a group of special kids and they will remember it for a long time to come.

"Why does everybody stand up and sing 

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" 
when they're already there?"
~Larry Anderson

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

PWS Diet News

Persons on the low fat PWS diet are most likely deficient in both omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. These nutrients have been reported to have beneficial effects on depression, dementia, immune function, diabetes, cardiac health and cancer. They also have a beneficial side effect of decreasing constipation. The most effective way to provide these supplements appears to be using a liquid preparation of fish oil (Omega -3) and plant seed oil (omega- 6). (Do not use cod liver oil!) When purchasing you should be looking for a high quality product purified by molecular distillation.
Thanks to Linda M. Gourash, MD and Janice L. Forster, MD from the Pittsburgh partnership for this information.

"Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well."
~Marcus Valerius Martial

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Student Photo Club Photos Are Now On Flickr!

Our kids are an amazingly talented group. After seeing some of the fantastic work that was created for our campus art show, Latham decided to create a Flickr site so the whole world could see their beautiful photography. Flickr is an online photography community that celebrates the photography of people from around the world. Visitors can visit our page by clicking HERE and browse our student’s photo submissions and comment on any photos that you find especially good.

Presently, the submissions are from our school photography club, but in the future we may allow other students to post their artwork also. The purpose of the Flickr site is to highlight the art of our student body. It is important to our kids to have other people see and appreciate their work. It is also helpful for our kids to be a part of this larger community and to see where their passion can take them. The site is open for all to visit. Please stop by and enjoy their work!

"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul - and you answer." ~Star Rich├ęs