Thursday, June 28, 2012


·         Will I get married one day?
·         Will I have my own children?
·         Can I become a firefighter/pilot/doctor or nurse?
·         Will I go to college?

We hear these questions so often and many parents struggle with what to say. Do we take away their dreams by being honest or do we provide them with a false sense of hope?
The answer is somewhere in the middle.

Although we know that our girls will likely never give birth, that does not mean that they won’t be a strong presence and role model to a child. We know that many adults with PWS have strong romantic relationships and here at Latham we have an example of how that can be supported. We have two adults, one with PWS who live in their own apartment but it is attached to a home with 24 hour supports. They live as a married couple but because their benefits would have been negatively affected they chose to have a civil union. I know of another couple who live with similar supports and their children are their pets whom they dote over and care for, and they are a family. So the answer to will I get married and have children? – If you want to, yes. It may not be the traditional family but how many of us can claim that we are traditional anymore? We see our kids with passions and interests that start young and seem to grow with age. 

Will I become a college professor?
My answer to that is “ I want you to work towards that and if it doesn’t happen then I have no doubt that you will work on a college campus."

Will I become a pilot?
My answer is  “Let’s research all of the jobs that have to do with planes and then we will have a backup plan.”

A goal is a wonderful thing to work towards but it will be helpful down the road to have a number of smaller goals that you are working on as well. We know that the future is brighter than it has ever been for our children and the real truth is that we don’t know what the next 20 years will bring. We don’t know that our kids won’t achieve all that they set out to so let’s support them to dream while giving them concrete skills to have full lives regardless of the outcome. I admire their creativity and often unwavering belief in themselves so why take that away? We can help them work towards these goals, support them every step of the way while at the same time, teach them life skills that will provide them with options.

Patrice Carroll,
Manager of PWS Services

"Sometimes the path you're on 
is not as important as the direction you're heading." 
~Kevin Smith

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6th Annual T-Shirt Contest

May marked the start of Latham’s 6th Annual T-shirt Contest! Every year about half Latham’s students voluntarily enter the contest. The theme is, “What Latham means to Me”. Consistently the student’s designs are filled with positive messages. A former student, Niki, wrote, “I like Latham, I like Me.” Last year’s winner, Samantha, wrote, “Latham Makes Us Bloom”.
 Another former winner, Diane, wrote, “Latham is like another Home to Me”.

There is a secret ballot and all students and staff have an opportunity to vote for their favorite designs. The shirts are printed at a local silk screen shop. The day of the Art Festival, T-shirts are distributed to all students. All participating students are acknowledged for entering the contest, runners up get a set of markers and the winner gets a $20 gift certificate for art supplies. This year’s winner, Kristos, is featured above with his design, “Latham Sharing Caring”. The first runner up was Lyra, Alyssa and April tied for 2nd runner up and Jessica and Alexandra tied for 3rd runner up.

"All art requires courage."
 ~Anne Tucker

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Amy Carroll Honored with 40 Under 40 2012

Latham Board member Amy Carroll was recently honored with a "40 Under 40" award by the Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine. The annual award program recognizes distinguished businesspeople under the age of 40.

Working in conjunction with the Cape Cod Young Professionals and South Shore Young Professionals, this program spotlights the region's top young business leaders who excel in their industry and show dynamic leadership and a commitment to community service.  Amy was selected from a competitive pool of more than 250 nominations! She received her award on  June 14th at Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston at a special ceremony where Latham board members, staff, friends, family and colleagues attended in support of Amy's much-deserved recognition.

A resident of Barnstable, Amy is extremely active in her community and professional life. As a trained psychotherapist, assistant director of programs at Riverview School in East Sandwich, and a board member of Latham Centers, Amy's life is entirely committed to working with adolescents and young adults with learning challenges. At Riverview School, Amy's management position helps this independent, coeducational boarding school provide a caring community for adolescents and young adults with complex language, learning and cognitive disabilities.

As a volunteer board member of Latham Centers, and a family member of a Latham adult resident, Amy has served on the board's advocacy, development, human resources, and strategic planning committees over recent years. She also worked for a short time at Latham School early in her career. As Amy pursued her Masters of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology, she interned at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention Against Cruelty to Children in Hyannis.  She continues to volunteer annually for the Simon Youth Foundation during the holiday season toward fostering and improving educational opportunities and career and life skills of at-risk youth.

Submitted by:
Gerry Desautels

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome Summer!

There are few things I anticipate with more excitement & joy than the approach of Summer! Sunny days, daylight till 9pm, high tides, warm sand, and friends. This is what makes Cape Cod the place to be for hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.  I have always considered myself to be lucky to live and work here. This beautiful place has an emotional hold on me.  I believe this is my geographic soul-mate; the place I am meant to be.

In the coming weeks, new members of the Latham Centers community will be joining us. For some, it will be their first time “over the bridge”. They are not tourists, they are coming to find a new way to cope with their own challenging needs. We welcome them to our campus, to supportive homes in the communities around the Cape. We look forward to learning their stories, sharing our knowledge and working together to improve their quality of life. Some will be with us for a short period of time, some for longer. Regardless of their challenge, we believe that Latham Centers is a place for new beginnings.  So…Welcome, Summer of 2012. Welcome to Latham, new students, adults and families!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Friday, June 22, 2012


No matter what your plans are for this summer you no doubt have a different schedule and routine than you do during the school year. This change in routine can be very difficult for our kids with PWS, not to mention the constant challenges of BBQ’s with family who may not understand your child’s needs. And how about those ice cream trucks driving up and down the street blasting music announcing their arrival?

Below are a number of snack and ice cream treats that some of our families use during the summer months to beat the heat or just to add a little something extra to a long summer day. We would love to hear your ideas for great, low calorie summer snacks!

Low calorie/low fat ice cream sandwiches- 80 calories
4 chocolate graham crackers broken in halves
1 carton lite Cool Whip, thawed

Break graham crackers in half. Spread Cool Whip about 1 inch thick on graham crackers. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze till firm. This is a great low fat, low calorie snack/dessert that will satisfy cravings for chocolate and ice cream.

Chocolate malt ice cream sandwiches- 100 calories
2 1/2 cups skim milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup malted-milk powder
3 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Blend milk, sugar, dry milk, malted-milk powder and chocolate in a blender until fairly smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking almost constantly. Remove from the heat.
Pour egg whites into a large bowl and whisk in the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until cool, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Freeze the ice cream mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's directions. If using the ice cream for sandwiches, freeze until its firm enough to hold a scoop shape.

Tropical Fruit Ice- 60 calories

1 11-1/2-ounce can frozen passion fruit concentrate
2 cups water
2 tablespoons lime juice
Combine passion fruit concentrate, water and lime juice in a medium bowl.
Pour the juice mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. (or, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth.) Serve immediately or transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in chilled dishes.

Banana ice cream- low in calories (exact calories depends on what you add)
Peel your bananas first. 
• Cut them into small pieces. 
• Freeze for just 1-2 hours on a plate. 
• Blend using a food processor or blender - scraping down the bowl when they stick.
 Add an ingredient if you want ( a little peanut butter, cocoa powder or honey)

Cooked bananas – 60 calories

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 
Cut Large banana in half and then in half again to have 4 quarters. Place pieces on baking pan or cookie sheet Sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Mileage of a Blog….

I admit it, I like the spontaneity of blogging. An idea pops into my head and before I forget the thought, I can communicate it to…well, you.  Who though, are you?  I wondered if anything we write about at Latham is interesting to a greater audience so I decided to remotely venture into the geographic areas where our blogs are read. First let me assure you that I am not going to show up on your doorstep. I don’t know who you are; your name or address. I do know geographically where the blog is read and this I found quite amazing. You might be in the next town over or around the world. If only I earned airline points for where the blog travels to!

In the last month, people from the United States, India, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, Pakistan, France, Taiwan, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, Ukraine, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Slovakia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Luxembourg found a reason to open our blog or website. I hope we were able to help in your search for information or support.  I imagine you may care about a person with Prader-Willi Syndrome or other challenging needs. You may be curious about our programs, locations or services. We hope you come back to visit and if you want to, please comment on our blog. Just because you are geographically far away doesn’t mean we can’t communicate (or visit)!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click." 
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Latham Attends 4th Annual PWSANE Walkathon

Several students, adults and staff members attended the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of New England  4th annual PWSANE walkathon! As always Latham students helped out by supplying the water and passing it out to make sure that all of the walkers stayed hydrated. We had a wonderful day seeing old friends and meeting new ones, getting in lots of exercise on a beautiful day and all for a great cause. We can’t wait for next year!

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time." 
~Steven Wright

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lions & Tigers and BEARS, Oh My!

Cape Cod said goodbye to one of her most unique visitors yesterday…a wandering black bear. This bear’s internal “GPS” was somewhat screwed up (or it was looking for a pre-season vacation rate). Instead of heading north, it came east. Our Cape Cod bear became the media darling of our communities and his adventures up and down this sand bar we call home kept us smiling for the last two weeks. With dogged determination our bear went from Sandwich to P-town. Would he swim back to the mainland? Would he turn around and start all over again? Where and what is he eating? His adventure ended when the environmental police managed to catch him and relocate him to a more natural environment back over the bridge.

This made me think of the struggles our families have to go through to bring their child or adult child to Latham.  No, they didn’t have to swim across the Cape Cod Canal and wander along the highways and byways of the Cape.  In fact their journey to us was more arduous. They had to convince other countries, states, schools, courts, and just about anyone who would listen that their loved one needed the help and support that we could provide. Talk about perseverance; some of these families have worked for years to find a place that understands the needs, wants and dreams of their son or daughter. Finding us is one thing, getting the funding approved is quite another. We hope your quest for services, whether from us or another provider, is met with success and understanding.
And I admit, I will miss our furry tourist to the Cape. 

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant
Director of Training & Marketing

“I was walking along looking for somebody, and then suddenly I wasn't anymore.”
~A.A. Milne -Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Latham Tip of the Week: What to Do about Sensory Overload

Many children with PWS find everyday hygiene routines almost unbearable. Sensations like brushing teeth, hair brushing and bathing send them into sensory overload and you find yourself fighting to do the most basic routines. Try having your child bite on a vibrating toy made specifically for biting just before it's time to brush his or her teeth. You can find these online or from the OT in your child's school. Before hair brushing use a vibrating scalp massager. Going into a shower or tub can feel overwhelming to a child with sensory integration issues, try to add different sensations just before bath time. For example; roll them in a blanket, have them lay under a light weight bean bag chair, have them squeeze their muscles one body part at a time. Stimulating their senses will make the transition into water less shocking. 

Using these methods will make for a cleaner child and a saner you. There are many more sensory "tricks". Feel free to ask us for more.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Latham School Update

We have had a busy semester at Latham School! In addition to our continued focus on daily academic skill building across all subjects, students have had several recent opportunities for some academically-related field trips. One trip was to Heritage Museums and Gardens, in Sandwich. On this trip, students participated in a hands-on program regarding recycling, called Project: Earth Care. During this active session, students learned to understand and 
apply the earth-friendly practices of “the three Rs.” Students worked in teams to learn about composting, recycling, and alternative power sources. Groups discussed plans to make a difference in our world. Not only was this experience informative and engaging for students, but the focus ties in well with our upcoming Arts Festival, where our theme is also about recycling. Additionally, students from each of our transitional classrooms participated in a visit to our neighborhood T.D. Bank. Students were given a tour of the bank, learned about the basic functions of the bank, and they were treated to a visit to the actual vault!

It is exciting to see the connections that students are able to make when we carefully pair functional academic skills with real-life community experiences. Such lessons serve students well in the present, as well as in the future. One of the goals at Latham School is always to help prepare students with the skills that will help them to be as independent and successful as possible in life.

Pam Nolan, M.Ed.
Director of Education

"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry."
 ~Thomas Fuller

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Latham Centers Tip of the Week: THE ROAD TRIP!

A lot of parents with children diagnosed with PWS avoid that old family pastime- the road trip. Yes, the idea can be daunting:

  • What do we do about the food?
  • My child is so dependent on his/her schedule--we couldn't possibly spend a day or days in the car.
  • How do we keep him/her occupied for hours at a time?
  • What if there are behavioral issues and we're far from our support system?

These are all important things to consider and none of these should be taken lightly. However, it is possible not only to survive a road trip with a child with PWS but to have a great time making family memories that last a lifetime. Here are some ideas that can make this experience enjoyable for the entire family:
  • Write out the daily menu and stick to it. For example-Abby's menu for Thursday on the road:
8am breakfast at the hotel- 1 cup of cereal with 1/2 cup of skim milk, one piece of  fruit and veggie sticks
10am snack in the car- one granola bar
                        12pm lunch at a rest stop...

You get the idea. To ensure that there will be no surprises check the web for lists of rest stops and what they offer. Every state lists the rest stops along each major highway and what services they offer. That way you won't get stuck having to serve apple slices from one fast food restaurant instead of the promised parfait from another. A change that we all know could ruin a perfectly fine day!

  • It's a vacation- an end of the day treat is ok. A low calorie treat at the end of the day will also give you some leverage. Don't threaten to take it away but remind him/her what's coming.
  • Establish a vacation routine. It will be different from home but will still be structured and predictable. Write it down or use picture schedules for non-readers.
  • Let your child pick out activities for the car. The more he/she is involved in the planning, the more successful it will be.
  • Start slow with day trips and work your way up to the trip that you've been dreaming of but have been afraid to try.

We all know that children with PWS bring those who love them incredible joy and pride every day. Vacations can bring out the best in every member of your family if planned and executed well. Have fun and let us know about your adventures!

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services 

"Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car."  
~E.B. White

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Latham Individuals Speak with Students

What do you get when two adults address a group of students with loads of questions about adult services and being an adult? Great information straight  from the source! Today, Max M and Lauren B, joined by Great Hill Supervisor Elton Cutler and Nursing Supervisor Paulette Jacinto met with students who will be transitioning into adult services.  Frankly, Max and Lauren owned the room and the rest of us were unnecessary! They listened and thoughtfully and straightforwardly answered questions ranging from “Can we have a phone?” to “Can we have sex?” Without skipping a beat they explained the rights of adults along with the responsibility of adulthood. 

I was so proud of all of them—the wisdom of the adults and the curiosity of the students.  This event could not have taken place without the support of the educational, clinical and adult service staff. I think this is one of the reasons Latham Centers excels on so many levels; teamwork and a commitment to those we support.

Submitted by,
Chris Gallant
Director of Marketing & Training

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers." 
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Latham is Blooming!

Take a look at the beautiful gardens that the students and facilities staff have been busy cultivating this Spring! The students can be proud of creating beautiful spaces filled with color and scents that welcome all.

" You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt." 
~Author Unknown