Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Upperdeck and Hazelmoor's Recent Adventures

The students from Upperdeck and Hazelmoor residences look forward to participating in weekly outings around their community. Here are some photos of one of their recent adventures. They always have a blast, and it's wonderful to see the friendships these kids have built with each other.

Contributed by:
Frannie Quirk

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in." 
~Robert Orben

Monday, August 29, 2011

Latham and Ocean Edge Hosts First-Ever Donor Appreciation Evening

Latham Centers, in partnership with Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club,  hosted its first-ever Donor Appreciation Evening on Tuesday, August 17, 2011.  Some 50 guest donors—representing individual and corporate donors, families of Latham individuals, staff and board members—gathered on the stunning ocean view terrace of the popular Brewster resort overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Attendees were welcomed by Robert R. Newman (pictured), President of Corcoran Jennison Hospitality Company and member of the Latham Centers Board of Directors. Keith W. Bradley, President of the Latham Board, and Executive Director Anne McManus, also honored three charter members of the Latham Legacy Circle for planned gifts and bequests: Debbie Cobb of South Chatham; Anna Harper of East Harwich; and Barbara P. Swaebe of Yarmouth Port.  The evening was capped off by a made-to-order Cape Cod sunset breaking through previously threatening skies.  Latham ended its fiscal year on a positive note with increased donor support, attracting sixty percent more donors in Fiscal Year 2011 over the previous year. For more information about Ways to Give to Latham and the Latham Legacy Circle CLICK HERE.

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness." 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Latham Welcomes Principal Pam Nolan

We are thrilled to announce that Pam Nolan has joined Latham Centers as our new Education Director.  Pam has worked in Special Education since 1990, when she volunteered at the Home for Little Wanderers in Jamaica Plain during her junior year at Boston College.  Her experiences there inspired Pam to pursue her Master’s Degree in Special Education which she completed at Lesley College in 1994.

Pam has worked most of her career at The Home for Little Wanderers, advancing through positions as Assistant Teacher, Special Education Teacher, Special Education Supervisor, Principal and Senior Principal.  Pam left that organization in 2010 to work as an Education Specialist for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and it was during her tenure there that, lucky for Latham Centers, she traveled here as part of the State’s licensing team in June 2010.  Pam says she was very impressed with Latham Centers during her visit here.  She particularly remembers the sense of camaraderie and professionalism among staff and how attuned the staff were to the needs of the students.  When the Principal’s position became available earlier this year, Pam applied and it was clear that this was a great fit for all.

Pam’s immediate goals at Latham include growing the vocational program by working closely with the vocational teacher to increase both volunteer and paid positions for our students with local businesses.  Pam also believes that it is essential that our students have a strong foundation in literacy and therefore she is excited about two new reading programs the school will be implementing.  Another initiative involves Latham’s partnership with TD Bank in a math program.  TD Bank staff will be working in classrooms with Latham students this year, teaching consumer math and banking skills, such as opening bank accounts and balancing checkbooks.

As a new full-time resident of Cape Cod, Pam has been enjoying the beaches, the restaurants and bicycling on the Rail Trail.  Welcome Pam and best wishes for the coming School Year!!

"Next to excellence is the appreciation of it." 
~William Makepeace

Monday, August 22, 2011

Greetings from the Science Lab at Latham Centers!!

Phew!  We have been so busy.  I meant to post to this blog much earlier and now the summer session is almost over.   The science portion of Latham’s summer curriculum consists of field trips around Cape Cod.  This year’s topic of study is Water.  Students learned about the importance of clean water and how to test for water quality at the end of the regular school year.  During each of the eight weeks of summer session, field trips go to a different Cape location to study the water and explore the environment. Each school day a different group of students goes on a “science outing” to that week’s location so that by the end of the week all Latham students have had an opportunity to go.  This posting will describe our trip to Woods Hole for an Ocean Quest Discovery Cruise.
Getting to Woods Hole is part of the adventure- especially with summer traffic.  After about an hour in the van we parked at the Falmouth Mall and waited for the Whoosh Trolley and a half an hour ride into Woods Hole.  From there we walked several crowded blocks to the boat dock.  Somewhere in all of that we found the time to eat a bag lunch!   We got on the boat and sailed away.

The boat carried about 30 people divided into 3 groups so we were always mingling with families outside of the Latham community.  The groups rotated between learning stations on the boat every half hour.  The stations included learning about the physical aspects of sea water; a touch tank with assorted sea creatures to touch and hold; and a “classroom” discussion of horseshoe crabs including a chemistry experiment using their valuable blood.  (It clumps instantly in the presence of certain bacteria allowing doctors to rapidly test for spinal meningitis!)  After the boat, we reversed our travels to return to school- exhausted!
This would be an exciting (and tiring!) trip for anyone but for students with Prader Willi Syndrome and other emotional/ intellectual disabilities, it was thrilling and a huge accomplishment.  Walking crowded streets, riding a trolley, eating in public and watching others eat, climbing strange ladders to get on and off the boat and interacting appropriately with families on the boat are just a few of the challenges that were met with ease.  All had a great time, not a single problem.  It’s not just about the science!

Please watch this spot for other (briefer!) postings about other trips.

Sharon Rule-Agger
Science Teacher

"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment." 
~Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Latham Participates in "Bully Proofing" Program

Students in the Pleasant Bay and Mayflower classrooms participated in a “Bully Proofing” program, presented by Educational Facilitator, Karen Gotwald.  Through this interactive session, students discussed how bullies act; how children who bully others learn to be bullies; what bullies may really be feeling inside; and what a bully might really need, like a real friend!

The program also helped students understand the role of a bystander. Students were encouraged to feel empowered to tell a bully not to hurt someone else, because even a small act can have great power. Each student was presented with a journal and a “Good Kid Power” pencil, in order to write down daily examples of positive actions they have taken, or positive characteristics about themselves.

Contributed by:
Pam Nolan
School Principal

"Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons." 
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Announcing Open Online Registration to PWS Conference at Ocean Edge Resort

Whole New Program with More Experts,
More Sessions and Advice
At the Beautiful Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod

Latham Centers Inc.   |   1646 Main Street   |   Brewster, MA 02631   | 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Latham Welcomes Bo Jangles, A New Therapy Aide Dog

Here at Latham we just recently added a new therapy aide.  The living, breathing, furry kind.  Latham just had Mr. Bo jangles added to our lineup of therapy dogs.  Mr. Bo jangles is a 3 year old, tan Labradoodle. The students are absolutely in love with him.  Mr. Bo jangles works a full 8 hours a day.  Students have scheduled times throughout the day when they can come to pick Bo up.  He gets plenty of hugs and kisses as he walks loops around campus.  Just having Bo around when the students are upset helps to calm their moods almost immediately.  Bo greets students in the morning as they wake up, and he also greets them as they enter the schoolhouse to begin their day. He is a true testament to the healing power of an animal’s love.

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face." 
~Ben Williams

Related Posts:
Pony Camp A Big Hit!
Companion Animal Program Holiday Party 2010
Peer Advisory Committee News

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Latham Centers Seeking Donations For New Playground on Campus

Latham Centers, Inc. was recently awarded a Ronald McDonald House Charities grant for $20,000 to build a new playground on our campus. Here’s the hitch, we need to raise at least another $20,000 in donations to fully pay for the project.

The mission of the project is to build a safe, accessible, adaptive playground on campus for our students. The playground project includes building a play structure, seating and plantings to create a park-like environment to foster a healthy and more engaged student body. The construction is slated to commence by spring 2012. Please help us create a playground where our students can play, explore, engage, and grow. Our new and interactive campus playground will improve the level of engagement, enjoyment and benefit that come from exercise for our very special residential population with disabilities. With your help, we can greatly enhance the quality of life for our children to continue on their life-changing paths toward improved mental and physical health.

Please Click HERE to view our Facebook Cause page.

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; 
we grow old because we stop playing.”
~George Bernard Shaw 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Latham’s Behind-the-Scene Support Team

We wear many hats and answer to many titles here in the Business Office (aka Finance Department or Accounting Staff), but we have a clear directive: to support the work of Latham’s gifted staff, and to handle monies for our individuals – both children and adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome and other challenges –  who are members of the Latham family. 

This time of year, we are busier than ever – managing the year-end budgeting, reconciling, audits, contract renewals… the list goes on. Despite our crunch-time challenges, though, we’d like to remind our co-workers, our students and adult individuals and their families that even though we are typically behind the scenes at our computers, we are with you every day as we navigate through our spreadsheets and accounting software entries.   Your financial support team includes Anne (payables), Jean (receivables), Beverly (payroll), Meredith (staff accountant), Dawn (financial assistant), Missy (sub staff supervisor), and Pat (director).  We are here for all of you – for business, finance, accounting, and any other questions about the Business Office that you may have. 

Contributed by
Dawn Dinnan
Administrative Assistant/Ass. Staff Accountant
Latham Centers, Inc.

"To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, 
and your business in your heart."  
~Thomas Watson, Sr.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer 2011 update

Summer 2011 on the Cape has been one of joyous physical and social activity for individuals with PWS! Swimming under the watchful eye of our lifeguard certified staff allows people with PWS additional ways to exercise and enjoy life.

"There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness." 
~Lady Blessington

Friday, August 5, 2011

Second Annual Charity Golf Classic Player Discount by September 1st. Donors and Sponsors Still Needed!

  MONDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2011

$175 registration fee per golfer (by Sept. 1)
$199 (after Sept. 1) based on availability

Bramble Format: Men's, Women's & Mixed Division Prizes

Registration includes:

  • 18 holes of golf, 
  • cart, 
  • welcome package, 
  • lunch,  
  • cocktail reception and awards dinner, 
  • silent and live auctions and raffle.   
A great value to play this Members Only course! 

Proceeds to benefit Latham Centers' internationally-recognized treatment programs for children and adults with emotional, developmental and physical disabilities.
Space is Limited!  

For more information: Please call 774-353-9296 or email
Register, Sponsor or Donate online at  or 

Register, Sponsor or Donate by mail payable to: 
"Latham Centers-Golf"

14 Lots Hollow Rd.
Orleans, MA 02653  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Latham Center Equestrienne Shines in Special Olympics

Kathleen Szmit Photo 
THE DREAM TEAM – Zanders Pope shares a winning moment with trainers Gary Reilly and Brenda Tri and Sonata the horse at Diamondsedge Farm in W. Barnstable.
(Original Article by The Barnstable Patriot)

Many young women can say they ride horses. They can even say they’ve competed, and perhaps won prizes, in riding competitions. How many, however, can say they’ve won a gold medal while competing in Greece?

Zanders Pope can, and does so with her signature shy smile. That Alexandra “Zanders” Pope is a champion equestrienne is certainly noteworthy, but the fact that Pope won the gold medal in the Special Olympics World Games in Athens makes her story especially inspiring.

Pope, who recently celebrated her 26th birthday, was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a congenital disease that can cause delayed motor development and severe obesity, among other mental, emotional and physical issues. At one point Pope weighed nearly 300 pounds as a result of an insatiable appetite caused by the illness. Then Pope made a connection with horses and horseback riding, finding a passion there that changed her life.

According to Gerry Desautels, director of development of the Latham Centers, where Pope is a student/resident, Pope began riding horses at age 12 while still living in her home state of Connecticut.
After relocating to the Cape, Pope began training regularly at Diamondsedge Farm in West Barnstable with instructor Brenda Tri. Pope’s work at Diamondsedge has had a tremendous impact on her life.

“Since coming here, she’s had a dramatic weight loss,” said Mike Marchese, director of adult services at the Latham Centers. “She has really blossomed since working here. It’s a tremendous outlet, to get activity and to get working toward something.”

Marchese said that since many people with PWS work well with animals, Zanders’ connection with Diamondsedge Farm is a definite plus.

“She has a proclivity for working with animals,” he said. “This has been a way for her to create a vocational goal, to exercise and to raise her self-esteem, which is incredibly important.”

Indeed, when Zanders is comfortably in her saddle atop a horse named Sonata, her smile broadens and a look of pure happiness comes over her face. As she brings the horse easily from a walk to a trot to a gallop, it becomes clear that she is perfectly at home in the saddle, a state of being that led to her success in Greece, where she won a silver for A-1 Equestrian Horseback Riding, and the gold for Working Trails A-1 Division.

Pope was presented with her awards by Timothy Shriver, CEO of Special Olympics International and son of founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Tri said that Pope’s gold medal victory was particularly poignant given that she’d had a significant setback prior to winning, performing poorly in the events leading up to the gold.

“The trail was our worst event all year,” said Tri, who followed Pope’s progress via Facebook. “She had a tremendous recovery. She goes out and not only recovers from her setback, but gets the gold.”
The moment was a proud one for Tri and fellow trainer Gary Reilly, who spent countless hours working with Pope prior to her trip to Greece. It was Tri who had nominated her for the trip.

“I’ve been working with Zanders for almost two years,” Tri said. “She’s come a long way since the day she started, from being really shy with students to going to shows and interacting with students.”

It helps that Tri is just as stubborn and strong-willed as Pope. “She’s met her match,” Tri joked.

Pope isn’t sure what to make of all the attention her winning performance in Greece has garnered, preferring instead to focus on her beloved horses.

“You just have to be calm with them,” she said. “And trust them.”

The sentiment makes Tri smile. “She is becoming a horsewoman,” she said. “Not just a rider.”
Courtesy of:
The Barnstable Patriot
Read original article HERE

"Follow your passion, and success will follow you." 
~Terri Guillemets

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Few Tips From the Admissions Coordinator

Hi. My name is Susan LaPlant.   I am the Admissions Coordinator for Latham Centers.  I often get phone calls from parents looking for information on how to approach their school about residential treatment placement for their son or daughter.  Here is one little tid-bit that came from another parent.  If you think your son or daughter will need placement in a Prader-Willi Syndrome specific residential program, then on his or her IEP, the parent should include a statement to that fact.  This parent explained that the school would be more likely prepared and agreeable if or when the student did need residential placement. 
Whether or not you have done this first step, if your son or daughter with PWS is in need of residential treatment, there are a number of steps that must be taken.   First,  take the time to speak to your IEP team member and then put into writing that you reject the IEP in regards to placement.  The IEP team will then have to meet to discuss your objections.  Get ahead of time and bring letters from professionals that are in agreement that your son or daughter now needs residential placement (i.e. therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologist, therapist, primary care doctor etc.).  If you feel that the school will reject residential placement, often parents hire a professional, either a PWS specific advocate, or a disabilities lawyer.  Sometimes parents have to take their case through the appeal process to litigation.  If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail or give me a call.

"The first step binds one to the second." 
~French Proverb

Monday, August 1, 2011

News in Nursing

Welcome Jean Copeland, LPN to Adult Services, who comes to us with a well-rounded clinical and educational background. Also, in Adult Services, Paulette Jacinto, LPN has been working towards formalizing her workshops for our individuals regarding healthy relationships.

In our Children’s program, Barbara Bauer, RN, Liz Durr, RN, Anne Seyffert, RN and Bill Greenwood have been collaborating in making the switch to electronic documentation. It has involved, streamlining processes and finding ways to more efficiently care for our students.

Contributed by
Francie MacDougall, RN
Director of Nursing

"A nurse will always give us hope,
an angel with a stethoscope."
~Carrie Latet

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