Monday, December 31, 2012

Technology at Latham

At Latham Centers, we rely on technology around the clock to enhance delivery of curriculum and services, and advance our mission. We connect with our extended Latham community through technology. 
  • Worldwide presence:  Latham embraces technologies utilized in reaching out to the world. We communicate with friends, families, staff, volunteers, and prospective Latham family members through our website,, and through the Latham Blog, Prader-Willi Syndrome and Beyond. Latham continues to expand its networks well beyond our Cape Cod community through social media, including Facebook, Crowdrise, and Constant Contact. 
  • School technology:  Latham School has kept abreast of technology through private funding (charitable donations) as well as the Federal Government’s e-rate program. Interactive smart boards are used in classrooms, as are computers. Our Educational Technology Plan is nearly complete for the upcoming e-rate funding cycle, and wish-list items include additional audio-visual hardware and software components for our students as well as the possible implementation of technology for long distance communication and consultations.

Submitted by:
Dawn Dinnan

Friday, December 28, 2012

TIP of the WEEK: Shall We Dance?

It is true that many of our kids don't hit the typical milestones that are set for the general population but that doesn't mean that those milestones will never be achieved. Development, especially social development is more about learning, having the experiences to be able to grow, rather than an IQ score. If we are not allowed to take risks, make mistakes and achieve then we cannot develop and that is no different for our kids.

Yesterday the kids attended their annual holiday dance and it was filled with all of the joy, drama and heartache of a typical high school dance. One might argue that our kids need to be spared the potential rejection or lows that often come with teenage dating but I wholeheartedly disagree. Without the lows we don't experience the highs; the fun, curiosity, and growth that comes with being in a relationship. Keeping them shielded from heartache or upset will only keep them young and immature. It is so hard to let them make mistakes and allow them to experiment with life but not allowing this is a disservice to their potential.

At the end of the day, the dance was a great memory and even with all the drama no one was the worse for it. Friends were made, first dances happened and even under watchful eyes I have no doubt that someone had their first kiss. And there is no better feeling than that.

From everyone at Latham Centers, have an amazing holiday and don't forget to thank the staff and teachers who teach, coach, cheer for and love your children everyday.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll,
Manager of PWS Services

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Latham Staff & Holiday Plans

Scheduling for the Holiday seasons starts off with planning. A major part of scheduling involves the holiday parties that both the adults and children look forward to attending. Latham works hard to be sure there is a joyous start to their holiday vacation week. 

Our staff help the individuals and students decorate their suites or homes with holiday decorations as well as making or shopping for gifts for friends and loved ones. Staff are scheduled to facilitate community outings so that all can enjoy the colorful lights and holiday displays on their evening rides through the Cape Cod neighborhoods.

Scheduling and planning ahead makes for a Christmas day filled with fun and activities, topped off with a special holiday meal that both our PWS and non PWS clients all enjoy. The dedicated staff who are working these holiday shifts always provide this for the individuals and students, often coming up with plans and activities to make the holidays extra special for everyone who calls Latham home.

Submitted by:
Missy Adle

Monday, December 24, 2012

The “Gift” of Life: CPR and First Aid

Need an idea for a person who has everything? Consider the gift of a CPR class. You just might save a life! Learning CPR and First Aid is incredibly important. Parents, care-givers to the elderly, employees, neighbors. It doesn’t matter if it is for your job, for yourself or for the person who has everything. If you can’t access this through your employer, contact your local provider of services. These can include (but are not limited to):
  • The American Red Cross
  • The American Heart Association
  • Adult Education Programs
  • Local / Regional Fire Departments

There may be a charge for the course but in my experience, I have found it to be nominal and in some cases, free.  Frankly, I have enough sweaters. I would be delighted to receive this under my tree!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Planning at Latham

I have worked at Latham Centers for 11 years now and the holidays are always the best time of the year.  I believe this is the time when our staff shows how much they truly care for the students of Latham. Many of our staff spend their days before Christmas assisting the students with packing and helping reassure them that their visit will happen without any problem. For the students that have their holiday at Latham, the staff here makes the day so special and magical.  The staff working the overnights play “Santa” and put out the stockings for the students to open when they wake and the kitchen staff makes an amazing meal for everyone. The students also gather together and open presents in front of the big Christmas tree. Many staff will sign up to work with the students on Christmas even if it is their day off just because it is such a fun day and everyone here truly enjoys themselves. 

The staff that work at Latham are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met and I feel privileged to work next to them every day.

Contributed by:
Melissa Weber

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Moment of Silence for Newtown

One week after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Governor Daniel Malloy has asked the entire nation to join Connecticut in a moment of silence this Friday, December 21, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. 

Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have asked that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts join them in taking a moment to remember and reflect on the lives lost in Newtown, CT and to stand in solidarity with the families and loved ones of the victims.

Anne McManus

"Guapo's Gives" Fundraiser

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Week at Latham

The Marconi class will be delivering the craft fair money to the Needy Fund tomorrow, December 20th. Other events this week include:

  • Best Buddies Dance: December 20th
  • Holiday Party: December 21st (1:00 concert with presents to follow)

Thank you to Gerry D. for offering this opportunity to the Marconi class. The students are genuinely excited to donate the money.

Happy Holidays!

Gerry Pouliot,
Assistant Principal

"Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons." 
~Ruth Ann Schabacker

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Transitioning to Winter

I make no excuses. I am not a fan of winter. It’s getting cold, it’s getting dark, the windows are closed and I need to put on shoes and a coat to walk the dog now. Unless I relocate, this is the way it will be for the next 4-5 months. Adapt I tell myself! Easier said than done I answer back (in my head). I ask for patience for my attitude and my mood. 

Kids can be frustrated by a change in the seasons. We now ask them to wear more clothing, not less. It seems like they just stopped over-dressing and now we are sending them back for socks or jackets that they forgot or misplaced. It’s going to take time to get back on the seasonal band wagon. Patience is hard when you want instant results but patience is what we need as we transition from one expectation to a new one. 

Hang in there, deep breaths everyone! Change sometimes takes a little longer than we thought….

Contributed by:
Chris Gallant

" To exist is to change, to change is to mature, 
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." 
~Henri Bergson

Monday, December 17, 2012

Companion Animal Program

Latham staff Frannie Quirk is proud to announce that Cleo has passed her AKC therapy test and is now a member of CAP (Companion Animal Program)! Frannie, Cleo, and trainer extraordinaire VLG were welcomed with open arms at the CAP Christmas Party this weekend. They had the pleasure of spending time with the great people and pets of the CAP program which includes former Latham board member Debbie Cobb.

CAP visits the Latham campus every month and the students are delighted to spend time getting to know and interact with them. It is a great program, and Frannie and Cleo are proud to now be a part of it.  VLG did an amazing job helping Cleo and Frannie train. Her dedication, patience and love for the dogs is evident when you see her on campus working her magic.

Holiday Holidays to all our CAP friends!

Contributed by:
Frannie Quirk


Friday, December 14, 2012

TIP of the WEEK: Learn to Love the Dandelions

M. P. Horban once told the story of a retired businessman who took great pride in his yard. But he had a problem. Try as he would, he could not get rid of the pesky crop of dandelions that ruined his otherwise perfect turf. He used the finest grass seed and the newest weed killers. But the dandelions still appeared, bright yellow over his beautiful lawn. Finally he wrote to a gardening expert. The reply included several suggestions and closed with this advice: "If none of these work, I suggest you learn to love dandelions."

I think of this story at least once a week when I find myself over focusing on changing a behavior. We can try all of the tricks in our bag but they don't work for every child. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait and watch and love the dandelions no matter what form they take!

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Best Present Ever!

I am tapping my feet and looking at my watch as I try to do some paperwork at my desk. The truth of the matter is that I can’t wait to go downstairs in 34 minutes (and counting) to the best craft fair of the year. Students from Latham School have made beautiful hand-made gifts that I love giving as presents. That would be enough for me—giving a hand-made item to someone I care about. It doesn’t end there though. The generosity of the Latham students means the total proceeds from the craft fair will go to a local charity. For 2012, they voted to contribute their earnings to the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund. So, the reality is my purchase is really moving on, not only as a gift to someone I care about, but will be a gift to someone in need. As I said, The Best Present Ever! I am so very proud of their hard work, artistic talent and generosity.

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Transition from School to Adult Life

Recently Latham Centers opened a new adult program located in South Yarmouth. The Hazelmoor residential program will be able to offer a successful transition from Latham School to adult life for these young adults. As students prepare for their transition, they will be exploring their interests and opportunities as they approach this next stage in their lives. The students are able to meet current adult residents and tour many of the adult residential programs starting the process early and thinking about what they want to be able to do in adult life. This residential transition planning includes exploring post-secondary opportunities and employment options when he or she graduates or turn 22 years of age. Residential staff members offer on-going supportive services and mentoring to encourage independent living skills, mood management skills, achieve a balance between physical health and fitness, maintain an organized environment, establish healthy relationship patterns, and build self-esteem and values.

Submitted by:
Elton Cutler
Residential Manager

Monday, December 10, 2012

Therapy Donkeys Bring Smiles

A donkey’s gentle and affectionate nature brings a calming effect over all who they come into contact with. Donkeys especially enjoy human interactions and this helps to lift people's spirits. Their nature acts as a type of magnet drawing all people to them. Recently, this was especially true when the donkeys had a couple of visits from some students from the Latham School. The students really enjoyed interacting with the donkeys. This was a unique experience for the students and it brought lots of smiles. It was a visibly uplifting experience to the students spirit during donkey petting. The students had many questions about working with the donkeys and taking care of them. The donkeys always seem to bring out the best in people-- this is typically immediate and significant. Many of our individuals have stated that their interaction with our donkeys has been one of their life’s highlights.

Submitted by:
Elton Cutler
Residential Manager

Friday, December 7, 2012

TIP of the WEEK: What is My Child's Future?

I am frequently asked by parents what the future will bring- "Will my son ever learn to read?"  "Will my daughter ever fall in love?" "Will they ever see a day when they can live on their own?" "Drive a car?" "What if they start having all of those behaviors that people talk about?" "What if they need more than I can give them?"

My answer is, don't worry so much about it. I know that it is easier said than done but you have what it takes to do this, whether you know it or not. Your child is amazing and no matter how bad the day has been he or she is worth everything that you go through to make them the best kid that they can be.
I have had the honor of knowing parents of newborns with PWS and watching them raise their children to young adulthood. What I have learned from them is that worrying about 5 years from now isn't nearly as helpful as focusing on 5 minutes from now. As bad as the days got, and there were very bad days, their kids have grown to be loving, funny, creative young men and women who still have bad days, and that's ok. I am a firm believer in "you don't get more than you can handle" because I have yet to see otherwise. So during the very bad times hold onto what's good; your child's smile that could melt the heart of the greatest cynic, their ability to make friends with perfect strangers within minutes and their perseverance that allows them to meet challenges with the courage unmatched by anyone.

The future will bring what it brings and you'll be there to give everything that you have because that's what you do. You're the parent of a child with PWS. There are not a lot of you but your community is strong and your children are stronger. Reach out for help when you need it and offer help when you have the strength. And as always, we are here when you need us, for support, advice or just to listen.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Transitioning to Adult Services

Over the past six months we have welcomed two individuals to Adult Services from our Children’s Services Program. Both women have adjusted well to the new programming. I sat down with the two of them asking about the new changes around them. They commented on enjoying their day programs and “getting out into the community often”.  They also spoke of how they feel more empowered to make decisions on activities; “I can visit my friends next door everyday”.  Both women are planning their first quarterly dinner to attend out in the community. 

Four times a year individuals choose a restaurant for dining out in the community. Both women are enjoying their time in adult services and speak often of the wonderful memories they have made over their years here at Latham.

Submitted by:
Jeff Strimaitis
Residential Manager

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." 
~Ralph Waldo Emerson