Thursday, January 31, 2013


The bowling team participated in the South Section Assessment games this weekend at Ryan Family Amusements. A member of our team was asked to read the Special Olympics players oath during the beginning ceremonies.  All the kids had a lot of fun, and team spirit was in full blast. 

Go Hawks!

Submitted by:
Frannie Quirk

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

School News

Latham will have their first annual school assembly today. We will meet once a month to discuss school-related topics. Please feel free to stop by! Here is our agenda:

  • Brief Introduction by Gerry followed by Mindfulness/Icebreaker
  • Hall Passes (Katie/Fred)
  • Student Council Presentation w/ support from Tristan and Brittni
  • Direct Deposits by Keveney and Brandon
  • Hallway etiquette by Gerry
  • Dismissal

Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clear the Clutter

We have begun the New Year with a plan of “clearing the clutter."  Students have been working in their suites and rooms to look at what they need and do not need. This might sound like house cleaning to some, yet we could also use the opportunity to make it an exciting process as well. Our entire community has been working together.

The process of “clearing the clutter” can be a powerful tool to help anyone heal and transform their life. Clearing clutter gets rid of the old stuff in your life, and in the process creates new space. The reason most people avoid “clearing the clutter” is not because it takes effort and is time consuming. It's because clutter clearing is a very emotional process that feels like therapy and it takes emotional stamina to go through it. The good news is that once you clear most of your clutter and have a system to avoid its accumulation in the future, you will start experiencing more clarity and energy. Wouldn’t you agree that this is definitely worth all of the hard work and extra effort?

Some say there are 3 types of clutter:
  • 1  Dirty clutter – clutter that needs to be tidied or cleaned 
  • 2    Big piles of clutter – the stuff that accumulates and piles up
  • 3  Broken or old clutter – “stuff” that you have outgrown

If you are ready for a breakthrough in your life, take some time to “clear the clutter”.  The physical clearing of clutter can help you heal from the inside. Use this weekend to clear away your clutter.  It could help you with new opportunities and ideas.

Nancy Crimmins Warner, LICSW
Clinical Director

"Out of clutter find simplicity"
~Albert Einstein

Friday, January 25, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Getting Back to Baseline

Our kids can often be redirected before they enter meltdown mode but when they can't we need to wait it out, keep them safe and try to get back to routine as soon as possible. Once a meltdown or tantrum begins there is little that you can do to stop it. Most kids can't regulate their emotions well enough to deescalate once frustration and anxiety take over. When you first notice escalating emotions, that is the time to use distraction, a calm and slow tone of voice, reminders of positive upcoming events in their day and little to no external stimuli. If a behavior becomes out of hand or dangerous, clear the environment of people and objects (either objects that could hurt the child if damaged or objects that you would be heartbroken to lose) and keep the child safe from hurting themselves until the behavior is over. After, the child will often become very tired or fall asleep. Let this happen. It is the body's way of regulating itself and is the best calming tool. Post incident, wait several hours before going over what happened and realize that your reality of what happened may be very different from your childs. Pay attention to what they say because you may find the antecedent or trigger in their account of the events. And don't forget to take time for yourself to calm your nerves and get re- energized so you can move past the event and get on to the fun stuff.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Independent Living Means to Me

I like living independently. What living independently means to me is being capable of making responsible decisions for myself. I can come and go freely whenever I want. I don’t have a curfew. I don't have to answer to anyone. Being independent makes me feel good about myself. Being independent has made me realize I have come a long way and I have made good choices and decisions in my life.When I lived in the group homes I felt less independent because there were staff to oversee things. Being independent is good for me because it shows I can handle real life situations. For people who don’t know me, I live independently in an apartment--I do get staff support and I have staff I can contact when needed.

Submitted by:

"I set my own course through the ocean of life."
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Winter Landscape

Snow! I don’t care how much you dislike the fluffy white stuff, nothing looks prettier than a sunrise with a new snow on the ground. I came into work today, and took in the Latham Campus. It is truly beautiful. The dorm is capped in white with a vivid blue sky overhead. The kids will be up and outside soon. It’s important to remember that appropriate clothing choices can sometimes be a challenge for our students and adults. Please insure that warm socks, gloves, scarfs and hats are part of the routine.  Winter hangs on into early Spring in this part of the country. Let’s all be prepared for it!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

“January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.”
~Sara Coleridge

Friday, January 18, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Just Breathe

We often overlook the benefits of taking deep, mindful breathes. We have busy lives, little time and rarely put ourselves first but this is one thing that we can make time for and the health benefits are extraordinary. Did you know that 30 seconds of deep breathing everyday actually improves your tissue function, increases your immune system and acts as a detox for your blood cells? Not to mention the calming effect it has on your central nervous system.

Our kids often have a difficult time taking an effective deep breath. Try these tricks and let us know if you see an improvement:
  • Blow the biggest bubble contest. Encourage exhaling for as long as is comfortable and a deep inhale will follow.
  • Take a pong pong ball and draw a "goal" at the end of a table. See how many breathes it takes to blow the ball over the goal line. Try to improve their score everyday.
It is important for kids and adults to practice deep breathing everyday but it is equally as important for their caregivers to reduce stress and increase energy.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Development Office Developments

The New Year is upon us and already the Development Office calendar is filling up!  It is important that we tell Latham’s story to impart the various needs of our individuals by grant writing and holding events throughout the year in order to not only bring in the needed funds, but to welcome all to our Latham family.

Since fundraising is our focus, we are always researching and submitting grant proposals to foundations for various funding needs.  The process can be daunting, as each foundation has a myriad of guidelines for writing and sending proposals. Spring will see our appeal to families, friends and businesses that have been so generous to Latham in the past and to prospective donors, those who don’t know us as well, that need to know about the important work we do, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year!

In June, our year-end ceremonies and annual meeting is an exciting time for students, staff, families  and friends to gather to celebrate the successes of our students, as well as those of the agency, as we communicate to all our plans and needs for the future. August is a great time for us to say thank you to those who have generously given to Latham.  A splendid donor appreciation event held at Ocean Edge is a highlight of the summer. We also hope to participate in the 41st Falmouth Road Race, Numbers for Nonprofits Program.   Are you a runner?  We’ll keep you posted.

This year, Latham will host the 3rd Annual Prader-Willi Conference in September with the help of our friends from Advocates and PWS Association of New England.  Planning for this wonderfully informative event is about to begin!  Stayed tuned! October 21st will mark the 4th Annual Latham Centers Charity Golf Classic held at Ocean Edge Resort.  It has been a resounding success and an enjoyable day for everyone involved.

There is a lot to accomplish as always and we look to you, our Blog friends, to be a part of it all. Thank you for your support!

To sign up for regular event communications, click HERE. And to learn about ways to give to Latham, Click HERE  or visit

Best wishes to all in the New Year!

Submitted by:
Carol Sullivan

Friday, January 11, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Change is Hard

Change is hard. When we have a plan or an expectation and it changes we feel frustrated, anxious, irritated and uncertain. These feelings are experienced with greater intensity for the person diagnosed with PWS.

We recently went through a major change at Latham. We moved 2 groups of students to different dorms in order to better serve the group as a whole. This is no easy task because we know that kids with PWS have a difficult time when even small things in their environment need to change. We also know that not giving them any opportunity to experience and live through change does not prepare them well for adult living. So how do you do the balance? You prepare, you explain ad nauseam what to expect and stick to that. You distract and get back into a familiar routine as soon as possible. And that is exactly what we did. We involved the kids in packing, planning and once the move was over we got back into our routine. We survived with few, if any incidents and the kids learned a very valuable lesson- change may be hard but it won't kill you and the other side is that sometimes it's as good if not better than where you were before.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wintertime on the Cape

The holidays at Latham may have been a blast, but there’s nothing like finding the time to enjoy all of the fun Winter on Cape Cod has to offer!  We’re looking forward to weeks of brisk hikes, cozy movies with friends, and, with a little luck, building the first snow fort of the season.  While the rest of the Cape settles in after the holidays, the Latham community is free to get out and explore.

Here’s to another Cape Cod Winter shared by all the members of the Latham community!

Submitted by:
Hal Johnson

"The color of springtime is in the flowers; 
the color of winter is in the imagination."
~Terri Guillemets

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Will 2013 Bring?

I am always surprised when changing to a new year is easy to absorb into my documentation. Granted, with electronic banking I write few, if any, checks these days. Yet, I struggle some years to make that last digit leap to the next number. I spent the better part of this weekend laying out a blueprint of a “to do” list. I realized that 2013 just sprung easily off my keyboard. It seems this is one of the easy years and I welcome that. My list for 2013 is extensive and broken down into personal and professional objectives. I plan well, what I struggle with is completion. So, 2013 for me is about finishing strong. There will be more edits to the list, but those that remain are to be completed. Today, we will examine our 2013 Orientation Program and look for ways to make it stronger and more useful to newly hired staff. Now that is a great way to kick-off a new year!

Wishing all of you health and happiness for 2013! Happy New Year!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"Approach the New Year with resolve 
to find the opportunities hidden in each new day." 
~Michael Josephson

Friday, January 4, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Self-Injurious Behaviors

Self-injurious behaviors provide a lot of sensory input but for health, social and long term mental health reasons it is dangerous and paradoxical. Head banging, slapping, biting and hair pulling typically occur in response to a sensory processing difficulty. Replacing the maladaptive behaviors with adaptive and positive coping skills will create positive input. If done often and long term the self-injurious behaviors will be less necessary and less effective in relation to sensory input. Sensory tools used daily will reduce symptoms of distress and will provide optimal health, adaptability and well-being.
Examples of sensory tools that can be used daily:
  • Weighted blankets with or without heat. Please be aware of low muscle tone and temperature dis regulation when using this tool. Consult your child's doctor to determine the correct weight and degree of heat to use.
  • Massage
  • Joint compression ( squeezing a ball, lifting weighted objects, pushing hands and feet against solid objects, weight lifting- again, consult your doctor or PT/OT)
  • Swinging
  • Walking barefoot in grass or sand
  • Head rolls
  • Rolling down an incline
  • Soothing sounds or scents
Using tools such as these could improve your child's overall quality of life if it decreases self-injurious behaviors. Not only does it replace socially unacceptable behaviors but it improves overall self-esteem. Don't hesitate to contact is if you have a specific problem that you are struggling with.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Latham Students Donate Proceeds to Charity

What do you do when you aren’t quite old enough for the Best Buddies Dance? How about heading out for a tour of the Cape Cod Times. Extra, extra read all about it, we had a great time. The Editor- in- Chief, Paul Pronovost, conducted the tour. We had a blast and learned plenty, from the newsroom to Paul’s gag gift collection in his office. Like us here at Latham, news people love joking around and getting the story first. We might have some budding reporters in our midst.  We can’t wait for the future tour of the printing press.

We were also thrilled to be delivering a big fat check to the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund. We made $702.55 from the proceeds of our Annual Holiday Craft Fair. Last year we raised $519.23 for St. Jude’s, and we thought that was a lot. It was wonderful for our students to present the check to the head of the Needy Fund, Betsey Sethares.  We were especially pleased to be making the donation because we found out that the Needy Fund hasn’t been receiving as many donations as usual this year. Boy are we glad to help! We are going to watch the front page of our favorite paper, The Cape Cod Times. We can’t wait to see the red line on the Needy fund’s donation thermometer rise after our contribution.

Contributed by:
Shauna Kelly

"Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, 
but from doing something worthwhile." 
~Wilfred Grenfell