Thursday, July 28, 2011

Latham Students Participate in Cape Cod Dream Day at Nickerson State Park

On Wednesday, July 20th, Latham students participated in the Cape Cod Dream Day at Nickerson State Park.  They  learned how hard it is to pull a string on a bow during Archery, the strength it takes to oar a boat during Canoe Racing and the thrill of wondering what is on the other end of that fishing line during a Fishing Derby.   There was much to learn about nature at Camp Man-Ke-Rafe-Path.  Students loved the touch tank set up for the study of such “wild life” as turtles and fish. And what is a day at camp without Arts and Crafts projects and a sing along? Students  were able to experience both. Lunch was, of course, a cookout. After the events were over, the students got to relax by a campfire.  They arrived back at Latham tired, happy and thankful to Kathleen Giorgio and all the wonderful staff at Camp Man-Ke-Rafe-Path.

Contributed by
Kathy Thonet,
Assistant Principal

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet 
and the winds long to play with your hair."  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Students Pay Tribute to Tsunami Victims

As a tribute to students in Japan who lost their lives and their schools in the March 2011 tsunami, students will be creating various art projects this summer that include sakura trees (cherry blossom trees), sensu and uchiwa fans, koi fish, bento boxes, paper kimonos, kokeshi dolls, and sumi-e calligraphy.

Students in this class enjoy a brief slideshow followed by a hands-on demonstration before they create their own works of art while listening to relaxing, Japanese music.  At the end of the summer, students participating in art class will plant a sakura tree on campus commemorating Japan’s loss as well as our appreciation for the beauty of their country and its people.

Contributed by
Angela Cloutier

"During the darkest indigo midnight, yet will countless stars blossom."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Development And Support

Since the successful Council on Accreditation  site visit to Latham this spring, Latham Development efforts have been in high gear. COA’s visit affirmed that Latham is a wonderful agency with committed support and employees, and we are now working to build upon our international recognition by COA.  The Development Department, which includes Director Gerry Desautels and me, as administrative support, could hardly take a breath before we delved into many important projects underway for the close of Fiscal Year 2011 and the start of Fiscal Year 2012 on July 1st.

First, a Spring Appeal went out in May, resulting in donations of $10,050, to benefit in part our children’s and adults’ summer activities.  Next was the Year-End Celebration on campus, with our talented students performing for friends, donors, Latham directors and parents.  Awards were presented to staff and community partners, as Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club  in Brewster once again provided a delicious meal, and the Maintenance Department wowed our attendees with a campus that looks more beautiful than ever!

On the horizon, Latham will organize its first Major Donor Appreciation Event later in August at Ocean Edge’s beautiful Mansion House.  Two other events coming up also slated for Ocean Edge include our second PWS Conference on September 16-17, featuring keynote speakers and other professionals from the Cape and Boston area on such topics as PWS Across the Lifespan, Puberty and Growth Hormone, Policy: MA21, Transitions, including Supported Education and Employment, Life After High School, Family Trusts, Sleep disorders and a panel discussion on various topics.  Latham is co-hosting the conference with Advocates Inc. and PWS New England.

Finally, on October 17, Latham and Ocean Edge host the Second Annual Charity Golf Classic.  Last year’s tournament was a huge success. Sponsor and player registration is available online by CLICKING HERE. Players earn a registration discount through September 1st, so don’t delay.  It’s a fun and active way to support Latham and the individuals we serve with special needs.

As you see, there’s never a dull moment in the world of Development and Fundraising at Latham.  Stayed tuned for the premier mailed version of the Latham Centers FY11 Annual Report and our Year-End Appeal—both later this fall.  In the meantime, continue to follow us on Facebook and this Latham blog.

Submitted by
Carol Sullivan,
Latham Centers Executive Assistant

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." 
~C.D. Jackson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Online Safety at Latham

 The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. CIPA imposes certain types of requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program – a program that makes certain communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries.

Latham Centers protects the students with a Smoothwall Guardian Web Security appliance which is CIPA compliant. It performs scans of You Tube videos and removes inappropriate comments and material. It forces Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines into “safe search” mode preventing searches of inappropriate words, phrases, and images.

Computer safety is a part of our responsibility to our students that allows them the opportunity to use and enjoy this extraordianary resource.

Contributed by:
Gregory Hall
Network Administrator
Latham Centers, Inc.

"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom." 
~Jon Stewart

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Latham Center’s Asinotherapy Program Grows

If two is company and three is a crowd, then what is four?  A “herd” if the four are miniature donkeys. 

Latham Centers’ Asinotherapy program is excited to announced the arrival of two new miniature donkeys to our Great Hill Rd., Sandwich residence/farm on Friday, 7/1/11.  Curly and Jake are coming to Latham Centers from Sunshine Farm in Yarmouthport, MA due to the generosity of Jim Nichols, a Cape Cod gentleman farmer.  

Curly and Jake will be arriving on Friday afternoon to the excitement of the Great Hill residents and of course Angus and Moonbeam, are two current resident miniature donkeys who will be welcoming them to their new home.  Because miniature donkeys are by nature herding animals, we expect that Curly and Jake will quickly be accepted and become part of our growing “herd.” Also, four more individuals recently graduated from donkey care/safety training and are now ready to begin working more closely with the “herd." Congratulations to Jennifer, Justin, Antoine and Kevin.

Stay tuned for future donkey updates and pictures of Curley and Jake!

"Usefulness is happiness, and... all other things are but incidental." 
~Lydia Maria Child

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summertime, Exercise & PWS

I admit it. I love summer! I love the long days, access to the beach, tidal flats, the smell of sunscreen, summer league baseball and the sounds of children playing outdoors into the evening. It is a very good thing I live on Cape Cod! One of the best sights I see on a regular basis is our students with PWS outside playing, walking and exploring their community. Whether they are walking the campus dogs, taking a stroll around campus, playing sports or heading down to Main St or the bay they are always in motion. Walking, laughing, and talking with friends. This is what summer should be about for kids.

Latham’s Summertide program is full of activities and interests for all. Seeing and hearing staff and students outside of my window enjoying themselves makes me smile and wish I was outside joining in more often.

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability." 
~Sam Keen

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Trust Hormone May Help Curb Symptoms of Devastating Disease

Life for those with a genetic disease called Prader-Willi syndrome, which affects an estimated one out of 15,000 people, can be challenging both for the patient and his or her family. Sufferers have an insatiable hunger that can lead to life-threatening obesity if access to food is not restricted. And worse, they have behavioral problems akin to autism. Tantrums and tears are common because these patients have difficulty understanding the motives of others and controlling their own emotions. But treatment with the brain hormone oxytocin may help bring both emotions and eating into balance, according to a new study.

Several clues pointed to the potential of oxytocin, often thought of as the "trust hormone." Research conducted on the brain tissue donated after death from Prader-Willi patients showed that the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat) has abnormalities in the nerve cells that produce this hormone. Moreover, the hypothalamus releases oxytocin in response to touching, social interactions, relaxation, and trust—all the things people with Prader-Willi syndrome have trouble with. And oxytocin treatments have improved the social skills of autistic patients. Finally, the hormone is thought to contribute to feelings of fullness after eating, "satiety" in scientific parlance.

To see whether oxytocin could benefit individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, endocrinologist Maïthé Tauber of the Children's Hospital in Toulouse, France, and colleagues injected oxytocin or a placebo into the noses of 24 adult patients. The researchers monitored the patients' behavior; they also used cartoon stories to test patients' grasp of social interactions and pictures of faces to see how well they could recognize emotions.

For the 2 days that patients were studied after treatment, those who were given oxytocin were significantly more trusting and less sad. They were less disruptive and had fewer conflicts with others. They also had higher scores on the tests evaluating social understanding, compared with the placebo-treated group.

The study, appearing online today in the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, focused on behavior issues, which Tauber says "are harder to control than food intake." However, the patients did eat less after the oxytocin treatment, and five did not finish everything on their plates, which Tauber says is unusual in Prader-Willi syndrome.

"The research of Tauber and colleagues is meticulous and very exciting," says Daniel Driscoll, a geneticist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. There is currently no treatment for the disorder except behavior modification and diet control. Driscoll says a better understanding of the role of brain chemicals, such as oxytocin, may lead to better treatments at the various stages of this complex disorder.

The authors write that although longer-term, larger studies will be needed, the present work opens new perspectives for patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. "Because previous research shows abnormal oxytocin secretion, we hope that the treatment may not only improve the patient's mood and behavior but also help correct the underlying problem," Tauber says.

Original post by: Elizabeth Norton

"Nature composes some of her loveliest poems 
for the microscope and the telescope."  
~Theodore Roszak

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Musings of a Child Care Supervisor…

Being mindful of the consistency of nighttime routines with our students is extremely important.  All children benefit from a routine that helps them with their personal hygiene needs: bathing, showering, brushing teeth, etc. By having a caring adult tuck them in, children can fall asleep while listening to a favorite book and wake up in the morning feeling ready for their next adventure.  This consistency assists our students with feeling safe, secure, and cared for by the best child care workers in the world.

Contributed by:
Bonnie McGee

“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.”
~Mark Twain

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Belated 4th of July

Boys from the Upper Deck celebrating the holiday. 

"I love my freedom.  I love my America." 
~Jessi Lane Adams

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Longtime Latham Supporter Dr. Russell S. Boles, Jr. Honored by New England Baptist Hospital

(Pictured: Russell S. Boles, Jr., MD, honoree with Trish Hannon, President and Chief Executive Officer of New England Baptist Hospital.)

Longtime Latham Centers supporter and former Latham board member Dr. Russell S. Boles, Jr. of Cape Cod was recently honored by his former employer—the New England Baptist Hospital.  The renowned Boston hospital has named a new suite of state-of-the-art operating rooms after Dr. Boles, a distinguished gastroenterologist, following a $2 million gift from the Yawkey Foundation II for the project.  Among his many patients, Dr. Boles treated Tom Yawkey, the late owner of the Boston Red Sox, before retiring in the mid-90s to Cape Cod. The Yawkey Foundation has also provided generous support to Latham Centers over the past decade.

In a press release, the hospital called Dr. Boles “a beloved Baptist physician, steward and ambassador.”  Latham couldn’t agree more and holds the same regard for Dr. Boles and his volunteer service on behalf of Latham as a board member and staunch advocate over the years. In 2010, Latham Centers named the Clinical Services Building on the Latham School Brewster campus after him in appreciation for his outstanding service to the agency.

Contributed by:
Gerry Desautels (Dez-oh-tel), M.Ed.
Director of Development

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  
It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Latham Centers Adult Resident Wins Silver and Gold in Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece

Alexandra “Zanders” Pope, a young adult with Prader-Willi Syndrome, Zanders first took the Silver in the A-1 Equitation category on June 30th, and later snatched the Gold in the Working Trails Run A-1 competition on July 3rd.   She was presented with her medals by Timothy Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics. Pope was selected to represent the U.S. in the equestrian division of the Games along with only nine other riders in the country. She resides in West Yarmouth in an adult group home operated by Latham Centers for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

A native of Connecticut, Zanders began riding horses when she was 12 years old.  At the time, she refused to participate in Special Olympics and insisted on riding in a regular program.  As she grew older, her riding became more limited due to weight gain, a common occurrence with individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome who often face lifelong growth, metabolic and behavioral problems from the disorder.  Zanders trained hard and lost significant weight while a Cape resident with Latham Centers—now with two Olympic medals to show for her hard work and discipline, and strong support from family and community.
“My favorite thing to do is ride and care for horses.  I've done this since I was a little girl. It is my passion in life,”  
shared Pope, who trains at Diamondsedge Farm in West Barnstable with coach Brenda Tri. The Latham resident loves animals and stays busy volunteering at the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable. The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games closed on July 4 after hosting more than 7,500 athletes from 185 countries across the world.

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games closed on July 4th after hosting more than 7,500 athletes from 185 countries across the world.

Way to go Zanders! We are all so proud of your accomplishments. You are an inspiration to all.

Contributed by
Gerry Desautels (Dez-oh-tel), M.Ed.
Director of Development
Latham Centers, Inc.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Latham students and school staff are ready for Summertide 2011, Latham’s 10th specialized Summer Program. This summer will combine classroom academics in the morning with activities in the afternoon that combine learning with fun. This year a new class will be added to the morning studies of reading, math and writing: Interactive Learning with Promethean Boards.

In this class, students will use smart boards, which all classrooms will be equipped with, to study topics such as internet safety, internet etiquette and the use of search engines for learning and leisure. Students will also use these smart boards during morning academics for interactive learning. The afternoons will have students in the community doing Community Service, visiting places of business for Vocational Exploration, and visiting the beautiful waters of Cape Cod for a Science Class that uses the beaches, bays, streams and vernal pools of the Cape as a laboratory for understanding the importance of water to the proper functioning of planet earth. Field trips will include an OceanQuest cruise to collect items from the sea, Mudflat Mania at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and a visit to Waquoit Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve. As always, one afternoon a week will be spent swimming! When not off campus, students will explore such topics as Japanese Art, Summer Theater, Pottery Making and Reading Adventures.

Staff and students hope this will be a summer to remember!

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


You wouldn’t have noticed the overcast skies in Brewster last week  if you had the good fortune to attend the Latham Center’s End of Year Celebration on Friday, June 24, 2011.  Under the canopy of white tents, students, families, alumni, friends, staff and the Board of Directors gathered to reflect and offer thanks and congratulations for a great year at Latham.  Students sang and danced; parents, alumni, and friends chatted over a wonderful luncheon provided by our friends at Ocean Edge Resort. The Morgan Awards, given to outstanding staff in Children’s and Adult Programming went to Melissa Weber and Helene Delaney. The McClennan Award  for outstanding support staff was given to Missy Adle and Community Awards went to Charlie Sumner, Brewster Town Administrator, Bob and Kris Thompson of Great Hill Farm and Janice Baltrushunas of Capewood Labrador Retrievers.  We sincerely congratulate these extraordinary people and look forward to another year of great programming at Latham Centers!
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." 
~e.e. cummings