Monday, November 29, 2010

Our End of Year Appeal

All of us at Latham Centers wish you and yours a happy holiday season and a new year full of hope and new possibilities.

We thank those of you who have supported our end of year appeal with a gift toward furthering the work and mission of Latham Centers.  We are grateful for your generosity. Your financial support is critical in helping our individuals with special needs, including residents with Prader-Willi Syndrome achieve their dreams and improve their lives.

If you have not yet had the chance to make a tax-deductible gift but wish to do so, please  click HERE  and make a difference.

"In helping others, we shall help ourselves,  
for whatever good we give out completes the circle 
and comes back to us."
~Flora Edwards

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

BJ Goff Conducts Training for Latham Teachers

BJ Goff, PhD, the well-known educational consultant expert on Prader Willi Syndrome, came to Latham School on November 10 and 11 to conduct classroom observations and provide advanced training for the Latham teachers. BJ did a presentation on “Universal Design for Learning”. (UDL) UDL is a scientifically researched framework for guiding educational practices. It provides flexibility in the ways that information is presented to students and flexibility in the ways they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills. There are three main guidelines for teachers working within a UDL framework:

(1)    Teachers should provide multiple means of presenting information – for example, instead of giving a written outline, students could listen to the information on a CD and, in many subjects, students could work with or manipulate the information ( as in planting seeds instead of just reading about seeds)

(2)    Teachers must provide multiple means of students interacting with and expressing their understanding of the information – for example, students can access information by use of a smart board with internet connection (Latham has several of these smart boards), students can give an oral report instead of a written report; students can use assistive technologies (such as an “Alpha smart” – Latham has 17 of these small keyboards that foster independence in expression and help with writing).

(3)    Teachers must provide multiple means of Engagement – this is the guide that brings it all together – the UDL approach increases individual choice and autonomy, enhances strengths and values and reduces distractions by requiring a focus on the goals and objectives of the lessons. Teachers have to be sure the students know WHY they are being asked to lean something. Multiple means of engagement also requires teachers to build in coping skills and foster collaboration in reviewing students work – so, for example - project based learning is a valued means of assessing student progress.

Teachers really enjoyed the presentation and BJ gave us excellent feedback on our work with all of the students.

Related Posts:
A Visit From Dr. B.J. Goff
Report From the Behavior Group
A Message from Christine Gallant

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Dangers of Holiday Festivites...A PWS (USA) Alert

Risk of Stomach Necrosis and Rupture
Possibly Related to Chronic Gastroparesis
A Cause of Death from Sepsis, Gastric Necrosis or Blood Loss

Signs and symptoms of stomach necrosis and rupture:
  • Vomiting -Any vomiting is very unusual in Prader-Willi syndrome  
  • Loss of appetite- (ominous sign)
  • Lethargy
  • Complaints of pain, usually non-specific
  • Pain sensation is abnormal in Prader-Willi syndrome due to high pain threshold; rarely complain of pain
  • Pain is often poorly localized
  • Peritoneal signs may be absent
  • Abdominal/ stomach bloating and dilatation
  • Fever may or may not be present
  • Temperature regulation is altered in Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Guaiac positive stools (chronic gastritis)


History may include:
  • History of binge eating within the week
  • Hyperphagia and binge eating are characteristic of Prader-Willi syndrome, regardless of whether obese or slim
  • Frequently occurs after holiday, or social occasion with less supervision of intake
  • History of gastroparesis
  • Common in Prader-Willi syndrome, though often undiagnosed
  • Often slim or history of significant obesity followed by weight loss
  • May leave the stomach wall thinned

For more information go to or call 800-926-4797.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gillette Stadium Hosts the Latham Hawks

It was a perfect fall day for football. The sun was bright, the temperatures cool and the athletes ready to go. The Latham Hawks traveled to Gillette Stadium last weekend and had an enjoyable time. Although the team did not win any games, they were able to play on the same field as the New England Patriots and to feel like superstars nonetheless.

Special thanks to all the staff that have worked with the team this season and attended the game yesterday; Wayne McDonald, Ron Ung, Frannie Quirk, Danielle Allen, Melissa Weber and Gerry Pouliot.

"The ratio of We's to I's is the best indicator 
of the development of a team."
~Lewis B. Ergen

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Seeing Old Friends

Today Latham Centers had one of our “Flu Clinics”. To be honest, I don’t generally look forward to this event even though these nurses are the best at giving the vaccines.  To my astonishment and delight, I walked into the waiting room and saw a group of lively, young people who I have had the pleasure of supporting as students when they were in our school program.  We laughed, hugged and caught up abit on where they are living and what they are doing. I was so pleased to see how healthy they looked. It is hard to believe that I met some of them in the 1980’s and 1990’s! Hearing them giggle and laugh made my day. In fact, it made my year!  Flu shot here I come!

"A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, 

and one of the best things you can be."  
~Douglas Pagels

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Longtime Latham Centers Volunteer William A. McClennan Honored at 2010 Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod

Longtime Latham Centers Volunteer William A. McClennan
Honored at 2010 Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod

Yarmouth Port resident and long-time Latham Centers volunteer William A. McClennan was named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year at the 2010 Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod.  Presented by The Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod, Mr. McClennan received a standing ovation from an admiring, sell-out crowd of 550 non-profit professionals, Cape Cod community business leaders and philanthropists, along with many family, friends and Latham staff and board members. 

The annual award is presented to “a volunteer who demonstrates exceptional leadership skills in coordinating groups of volunteers for major fundraising projects for a nonprofit organization on Cape Cod and the Islands.”  McClennan was an odds-on favorite when he was nominated in one letter by 10 nonprofits across Cape Cod including Latham Centers, Child and Family Services, MSPCC, YMCA of Cape Cod, CapeAbilities, Cape Cod Community College, among others.

At Latham Centers, McClennan was instrumental in raising funds for the addition to the Latham Centers schoolhouse, the Yawkey Dormitory project, and the establishment of a cutting-edge Asinotherapy program at our Sandwich adult group home property.

“This nomination is long overdue and it is only fitting that we have joined together to put forth a true hero of philanthropy; our mentor, our friend, our inspiration, Mr. William “Bill” McClennan,” according to Anne McManus, Executive Director of Latham Centers. “Countless schools, hospitals, human service agencies and churches can thank Bill McClennan for their growth and success in building new buildings, developing new programs and establishing new initiatives.”

A graduate of Springfield College, Mr. McClennan served as a scout executive, building camps throughout the southeast that children enjoy today.  After a successful tenure at the Boy Scouts, he went on to work for a fundraising firm in New York and then established his own fundraising consulting business. 

Upon retiring to Cape Cod in 1984 with his late-wife Evelyn, Mr. McClennan wasted no time in putting his accomplished fundraising career to good volunteer use. Since that time, he has worked with 19 regional nonprofit organizations in need of his energy, charm and acumen; he continues to work with six of them today, including Latham Centers.

One of McClennan’s earliest memories of volunteering dates back to 1929 at the beginning of the Great Depression.  “My mother volunteered my help in distributing Thanksgiving dinners to the poor families in our home town,” recalls McClennan. “I have enjoyed volunteer work throughout my life, recognizing the crucial part it plays in so many kinds of communities, including Cape Cod.”

 (Photo courtesy of Philanthropy Day)

"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks."
~James Allen

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Friday, November 5, 2010

PQI Program News

The PQI Committee met on 10/22/10 to look at the projects we are currently working on here at Latham. PQI (Program Quality Improvement) is collecting and evaluating the data from various programs and departments of Latham Centers. The committee is made up of family members, direct care staff, administrators and a member of the BOD.

We are focusing our efforts in three general areas:

    * Client Outcomes
    * Management/Operations Outcomes
    * Program Outcomes

Data is being collected and measured in:

    * Children’s Services
    * Adult Services
    * Human Resources
    * Finance
    * Nursing

Latham Centers is committed to offering quality care to the students and adults we support. To date, we are examining the reduction of restraints in children’s services among students with high numbers of restraints per month, the completeness of client records in both programs, reducing the number of the elopements in adult services, medication errors in children’s services, updating medical information in adult services, the accuracy and completeness of client financial records and the timeliness of performance evaluations.

For further information on the PQI process, please contact Christine Gallant:

"Ideas can be life-changing.  Sometimes all you need to open the door 
is just one more good idea. "
~Jim Rohn
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

What did you think of the show on Discovery last night?

If you watched the show we would love to hear your feedback. What was your general impression of how William specifically and PWS in general was presented? How did you feel watching the show? What was helpful and what could they have spent more time filming?

"All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind." 
~Martin H. Fischer

Related Posts:
Request for Ideas
My Deadly Appetite, A Discovery Health Channel Documentary
Words of Encouragement and Hope from Latham Residents

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adults Enjoy Halloween Party

Many of our individuals in the Gilbough Program enjoyed a Special Olympis Halloween party held at a local bowling alley. While dressed in costume, they danced and bowled under black lights and to music. This activity was a big hit for everyone involved.

"Clothes make a statement.  Costumes tell a story." 
~Mason Cooley

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reminder: My Deadly Appetite, A Documentary on the Discovery Health Channel

Don't forget to tune into this Discovery Health Channel special tomorrow night at 10pm!

Did You Know. . .

Latham Centers has a new Facebook page!  You can find us by typing Latham Centers in the search bar on Facebook or by clicking HERE.  Once you're on the page, simply click the "Like" button.  It's just a great way of letting you know what's going on at Latham as well as providing you with an opportunity to view photos or videos of all of the exciting things that are going on with us.  It only takes a second.  Show your support today!

"The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side." 
~Margaret Carty

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween's Sensory Activities

Traditionally, Halloween can stir people's thoughts to spooky ghosts, pumpkins, witches, and of quite naturally, candy. For most of us, all of these things come in stride every October 31st, and they come and go like our costumes. For children with Prader-Willi Syndrome, however, Halloween's primary focus is, generally, the high calorie sweets. For most of our kids at Latham Centers, the holiday can conjure up nostalgic memories of the past: chocolate for the taking at the local mall, candy corn in their public schools, or rummaging through a sibling's bag of treats. Even in a residential home, the concept of Trick-or-Treat, eternally present on every television station and in most aspects of community, acts as a constant reminder of all the sweets they can't have. It is, quite frankly, a stressful holiday.

For the children with PWS at Latham, it has been deemed a “cheat day,” in which the children can Trick-or-Treat on the Latham campus from classroom to classroom, from one residential group to another, and finally into the offices of the administration. The amount of candy is the same for each student, as is the type of candy. Because of  much slower caloric digestion among those with PWS, the amount of candy the students receive appears minimal when compared to memories of overflowing pillowcases. So how do we minimize all the Halloween stress?

One answer is a rich sensory diet. Engaging the children in activities such as finger painting and modeling clay can stimulate areas of the brain that strengthen coordination, reduce stress, and develop agility. Girls with PWS in the North Wing decorated their suite by finger-painting Halloween related pictures, and some attempted to sculpt representations of pumpkins with air-dry clay. After pumpkin picking one Saturday, the girls hollowed out the gooey, stringy fibers from the pumpkins with their bare hands. They appeared careful to organize the seeds from the “pumpkin guts,” and expressed excitement over the thought of having them cooked as a replacement for their snack. Overall, for the ladies with PWS, this incorporation of sensory activity into a Halloween-related residential curriculum seemed to help combat the stress of pining for sweets.

John Bonanni
ADL Counselor

"Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must." 
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Halloween Parade 2010!

"Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, 
"Tonight is Halloween!"

~Dexter Kozen