Friday, May 31, 2013

Latham Centers Debuts Playhouse Charity Raffle at June 1st Wellfleet Harborfest!

This summer Latham Centers is the grateful beneficiary of Cape Associates’ renowned Charity Playhouse Project. As the chosen beneficiary, Latham will raffle off a custom-made replica of the Captain Elisha Bangs’ home located on Latham School’s Brewster campus. This could easily double as a garden shed—measuring 10 feet long, 5 feet deep and 8 feet high. Meticulously built by Cape Associates craftsmen, the handsome wooden structure is valued at $6,000!

Wellfleet Harborfest runs from 9am to 4pm on the eastern side of Wellfleet Town Pier this Saturday.  Be one of the first to see the Playhouse and the mini version built for Latham School student field trips this summer.  Both houses can be viewed at the Latham Harborfest booth staffed by new Latham Development Associate Katrina Fryklund—a Wellfleet native.  Admission to Harborfest is free. Playhouse raffle tickets are $10 for one ticket or $20 for three tickets with multiple runner-up prizes—all to benefit Latham programs.  The playhouse raffle winner will be drawn on October 21st at the Fourth Annual Latham Charity Golf Classic at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club .

Learn more about Harborfest HERE!

More about the Captain Elisha Bangs House:
After years of navigating the world by sea, Captain Elisha Bangs turned his focus to his family and home in 1854, building this Brewster landmark.  From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Captain’s House was the site of the popular Latham Restaurant and Inn on Bittersweet Hill. Now an integral part of Latham’s Brewster School Campus at 1646 Main Street, the Georgian Style structure, its portico, quoins and bay windows are used daily by our amazing Latham community. Since occupying the building in 1970, Latham has served more than a thousand children in need of life-changing residential services and supports on Cape Cod.

Cape Associates—a Cape-based custom building company—has annually constructed a children’s playhouse for charity raffles since 2001. Various landmarks across the Cape have been the subject of Cape Associates’ inspiration and good will. To view past playhouses, visit

Submitted by:
Gerry Desautels
VP of Development and Community Outreach

TIP of the WEEK: Surviving Summer Vacation

Just a few days of being off schedule and routine can cause havoc, let alone three whole months! Here are some suggestions for keeping your sanity over the summer:

You may not be able to keep an exact routine but try to keep a schedule with similar activities on each day. For example; every Monday is for visiting friends or family, every Tuesday is a water day (lake, beach, sprinkler in the back yard), every Wednesday is an activity inside the house, every Thursday is a picnic (this way you can go wherever you need to as long as you keep the picnic promise), every Friday is an animal day (zoo, dog park, bird watching, fishing) etc... You can't plan every day to be exactly the same each week but you can work off of themes and this will soon become a workable routine but will still allow for some flexibility.

Use a visual schedule. For kids who can't read a visual schedule offers some peace of mind and reduces anxiety around the unknown. It may also reduce (but not eliminate!) questions about what is on the agenda for the following days.

Don't stop learning. Children with PWS can lose a lot over the summer and each fall can be like starting over. Take time each day for "school" even if it means adding and subtracting seashells or spelling things that you find on a nature walk.

Most importantly reach out for help. You need some time off too. Ask family, friends, neighbors to help you watch your child, even if it is just a second set of hands at the store or an opportunity for you to take a nap or an extra-long shower.

Summer is for having fun and considering that it is 90 degrees in May I think we're in for a long one!

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." 
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Related Posts:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

PWS Awareness

As we close out the month of May, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the parents, siblings, family members, professionals, providers, advocates and staff who work diligently to make the world a safer and more accessible place for people with PWS. In the last few decades, so much has changed for a person with this syndrome. While significant challenges remain, outcomes have changed for the newly or more recently diagnosed.  Our senior statesmen and women with PWS would not be here today without the help and support of their community and the advocacy of their families for much needed services.  It is certainly not a “done deal” yet.  Clearly more needs to be done on many fronts. More research? Yes! More PWS specific residences? Yes! More vocational and educational options? Yes! Fewer food focused celebrations? Yes! Whatever you are passionate about, find your voice and join in. Visit those PWS chapters, organizations, foundations, social media groups, etc. that you feel welcomed and supported by. Join one, join many. Wrap your arms around families new and experienced living with this syndrome and know you are not alone. 

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"Success will never be a big step in the future, 
success is a small step taken just now. " 
~Jonatan MÃ¥rtensson

Related Posts:
Learn about Prader-Willi syndrome
The Value of Specialized PWS Placement
Amy Carroll Shares Her Story

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Latham’s Bright and Beautiful Gardener and Gardens!

VLG is a very talented and gifted young woman. An extremely hard worker, VLG recently weeded many of the flower beds on campus as part of her vocational program. I went with VLG to a nearby nursery and we discussed the different types and colors of flowers that she wanted to purchase and plant. We looked carefully at what each of the plants needed, whether it was full sun, or partial shade. We discussed the heights that each plant and flower would reach so that she could determine where she wanted to plant them. We talked about whether to purchase annuals or perennials, and what that meant. VLG shopped carefully and made excellent selections. Once we were back on campus, she worked determinedly for hours to get the garden just the way she wanted it. I think the results speak volumes. Congratulations on a job well done, VLG!

Submitted by:
Pam Nolan
Director of Children’s Services

"Gardens are a form of autobiography." 
~Sydney Eddison

 Related Posts:
Campus Improvements Update
Latham  Students Learn Leadership
Best Friends at Turtle Pond

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In the News

Miniature donkey therapy program pays big dividends

EAST SANDWICH — Diane Gaudet gently guided a curry comb across Jake the miniature donkey's coarse mane, smoothing out the wiry hairs on his brownish-gray coat.

Her subject was no dismal Eeyore on this late spring afternoon; in fact, Jake seemed to tilt his head in approval at all the attention.

"OK, Jake, keep your head still," Gaudet chirped. "Your hooves are next there, buddy."
Then came a sort of donkey pedicure. Using a hoof pick, Gaudet scraped some dirt and gunk off Jake's hind hoof — an important daily duty to prevent infections. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE


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Monday, May 27, 2013

Latham Attends National Organization for Rare Diseases Gala

The National Organization for Rare Diseases  (NORD) invited Latham Centers to its 30th Anniversary Gala at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington DC earlier this month.  The gala marked both the support of the founding of NORD and the 1983 Orphan Drug Act which have continuously helped to fund and support initiatives for people with rare diseases. Performing at the gala was singer Siobhan Magnus (Cape Cod resident and former American Idol finalist). Siobhan was invited to perform at the Gala by NORD COO Pam Gavin who has family ties to the Cape.  Coincidentally, Magnus also has ties to the Prader-Willi and Latham community on the Cape and beyond.

There are some 8,000 classified rare diseases, so you can imagine our surprise when Siobhan was introduced at the gala amongst a crowd of 500 and Prader-Willi Syndrome was mentioned as her affinity rare disease. Siobhan made us proud once again, and helped to bring further awareness to PWS during May-national Prader-Willi Syndrome Awareness month. Jonathan Smith, VP of Children’s Services was also interviewed by Gala videographers about PWS. Thank you to NORD and Ms. Magnus for their generous inclusion of Latham in this momentous gala.

Submitted by Gerry Desautels,
VP of Development &
Community Outreach

"Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." 
~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Friday, May 24, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: The Importance of Speech-Language Therapy

Language is the vehicle for most learning. Speech, language, and communication are closely linked with learning, behavior, social skills, and self-esteem. Many students with PWS have some type of speech-language disorder and have difficulties with their emotional well-being. Speech, or communication disorders include problems with articulation (speaking clearly); fluency (speaking smoothly and without effort); voice and resonance (having a healthy sounding manner of speaking); oral motor skills. A student may have difficulty understanding or processing language (a receptive language disorder), and/or the student may have difficulty putting words together correctly, he/she may have limited vocabulary and difficulty or an inability to use language in a socially appropriate manner (an expressive language disorder).

A Speech-Language Pathologist is able to evaluate and assess individuals in each if the mentioned areas and create a targeted and effective treatment plan. With consistent and proper treatment, students can learn strategies to help them improve in all areas of communication. Speech, language, and  overall communication skills are essential in the development of skills for life.

Pam Nolan
Director of Children's Services

Related Posts:
Going to the Doctor
Sensory Overload

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sale rescheduled. Save the date!

At Home Again Fine Consignment Sale has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 1st. Mark your calendars and don't forget to tell all of your friends!
You'll find great art and many decorative styles including: shabby chic, traditional, cottage, shaker, mission, antique and contemporary.
 At Home Again only accepts high-quality furniture and accessories. Learn more at

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nature Appreciation Club

On Friday, May 17th, Latham students in the Nature Appreciation club visited several trails at the National Seashore. The club’s first stop was at Fort Hill in Eastham where they enjoyed a picnic lunch. After lunch the students then explored White Cedar Swamp. The students were amazed by the trail’s beauty. Student Michael R. stated, “I feel like I am in Jurassic Park.” As the students continued their hike, they took notes on what they saw, felt, heard, and smelled. “This is the most beautiful place I have ever seen,” exclaimed student Kristos C. After the students left White Cedar Swamp, they continued on to the Salt Marsh Visitor’s Center—the gateway of the Cape Cod National Seashore. At the visitor’s center, the students were able to ask the park rangers several questions about what they saw on their walk. Seeing the students so happy and content put a smile on everyone’s face. It was a warm feeling for everyone on this educational trip, including the staff.

Submitted by:
Kristi Dolbec

"Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird."
~Jules Renard

Monday, May 20, 2013

Amazing Day!

What a day! I want to thank ALL of you that helped out today. This day was truly amazing. Many community members were able to see our students at their best today. The volunteers also were able to see our amazing staff in action.

Thank You;

Nursing:     For being flexible with our students today.
Brooke:      For your help in supporting Brian.
Trish:         For gathering our Latham dresses that were much needed.
Gina:          For your leadership during the fitting, many behaviors going on.
Anthony:    For transitioning the gentlemen after their fitting.
Jesse:         For all of your hard work with Anthony C.
Chris:         For all of your assistance with both the students and community members
West Wing and The Deck:   For allowing the volunteers to use your space.
Ed. Staff:    For keeping the students engaged with their Generosity project.

I wish everyone could have seen the joy in EACH of our student’s faces. The attached picture tells it all.

Thank you,
Gerry Pouliot

Friday, May 17, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Reasons Behind the Behavior

"He is constantly bumping into things."
"She never sits still!"
"He would wear shorts in the middle of winter if I let him."
"She just starts screaming for no reason."
"He just falls asleep when he doesn't want to do something."

These are things that I often hear from parents and teachers about their child with PWS and their frustration comes through clearly. The reality is, many do show signs of being uncoordinated, fatigued, antsy and agitated but there are very good reasons for this. Sensory processing disorders make life so difficult for those living with the inability to make sense of their environment. Imagine living with extreme sensitivity to sound, touch, temperature and sight? Think about how you would respond to constantly feeling itchy, cold or hot, tired or living with external sounds or light that are so distracting that you lose concentration and focus every time you hear or see them? This is what our kids live with every day and the fact that they are able to get through their days as well as they do is a testament to their resilience. If you start to see or start getting reports from school that your child is more easily distracted, beginning to disrupt the classroom with frequent outbursts, layers their clothing or takes it off at inappropriate times- seek out the help of an experienced OT. You may be seeing the results of a sensory processing disorder and there are dozens of activities that can help make your child more comfortable and live with a better quality of life. 

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services 

Related Posts:
Sensory Integration 
Self Injurious Behaviors 
Strategies for the Classroom 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Check This Out!

You'll find great art and many decorative styles including: shabby chic, traditional, cottage, shaker, mission, antique and contemporary.
 At Home Again only accepts high-quality furniture and accessories. Learn more at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Day at Latham

It was a pleasure to be able to spend a shift with our residential staff at Latham School. It was a bright, sunny afternoon and students and their coaches were practicing for the upcoming Special Olympics track and field event scheduled for May 18th. The campus field was alive with a variety of field and track events including the broad jump and the ball toss. Students were riding their bikes and there was even a siting of our VP of Adult Services circling the field with his bike helmet securely in place. It is clear that our students will be wonderful competitors.  

Because the weather was so great I was able to enjoy my first picnic of the season with students and staff on the lawn. It was a relaxing interlude with good conversation and lots of questions about the evenings activities.  It was “beauty night” and there was something for everyone.  Students and staff donned stress masks. Some students had their hair done and others were intent on doing their nails. Everyone was involved and having a good time.   By the time bedtime arrived everyone was truly ready for a good night’s sleep.     

Anne McManus
President and CEO

Related Posts:

"I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful." 
~Author Unknown

Monday, May 13, 2013

Get Out Your Calendars!

Latham Centers is quite busy planning many PWS conference presentations! As we celebrate PWS month, we look forward to meeting families and professionals across the globe! Just last month, a delegation of Latham staff attended the PWNY Alliance conference in Syracuse, NY. Latham staff Jonathan Smith, Pam Nolan and Patrice Carroll gave informative workshops for families on the topics of residential placement decisions and sensory integration.

In July, Patrice has been invited to present at the IPWSO Conference in Cambridge, England. Patrice will be called on to again speak on the topic of sensory integration and how those with PWS can benefit from incorporating more of it into their daily routine. 

July 17th-21st, 2013

The excitement continues into September when Latham Centers, along with our friends and colleagues at Advocates, Inc. and PWSNE host our third conference at the beautiful resort, Ocean Edge, in Brewster. This event has been carefully planned to aid families and professionals on topics they have been asking us about: PWS Best Practices.
PWS Conference 2013

Click HERE

Click Here to View Conference Schedule
Friday September 20th only: $75 per person

Saturday September 21st only: $100 per person

September 20th & 21st: $150 per person

And finally, we are looking forward to seeing many friends and colleagues down in Orlando at the PWSAUSA Conference in November, 2013 too!  More to come on all of the conferences as details firm up.  Please be sure to stop by and say hello if you are in the area—or if you are attending any of these wonderful events. We would love to see you!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Friday, May 10, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: Happy Mother's Day!

You are the mother of a child with special needs. In the early years you may have mourned and been jealous of the moms of " typical kids" and then as time went on you accepted that you have been given a gift; a gift of a child that has brought you joy beyond your wildest expectations. You would not trade your life for one that may have been easier because an easier life would not have left you with the strength and tenacity that you now have. An easier life may have been less lonely and more self indulgent but an easier life would leave you without the child that has defied all odds, that brings pride in every milestone even if those milestone happen years later than those of their peers. You are the mother of a child who has survived and thrived in a world that isn't always kind to them and they have made it because of you. You have been on their side, been their champion even when every "expert" and doctor has told you otherwise. You are brave and irreverent and compassionate beyond what seems possible because you have witnessed miracles first hand. Today I say Happy Mother's Day to you and ask that you please do something nice for yourself because you have earned it.

Happy Mother's Day from everyone at Latham and rest in the knowledge that we may never love your child as much as you do but we come pretty darn close!

Patrice Carroll
Manager, PWS Services

Related Posts:
Caring For Yourself
A Life Lesson 
Learn to Love the Dandelions

"Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible." 
~Marion C. Garretty

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Latham Students Attend Plymouth Whale Watch

Six students and two staff braved the elements on a chilly Cinco de Mayo and rode on the Tails of the Sea out to Stellwagen Bank in Cape Cod Bay to see the whales. The day was not promising and we did not think we would see many whales. As it turns out we must have encountered a bunch of Hispanic whales celebrating the day, breaching and broaching their way in a feeding frenzy.  The kids loved all the action and were extremely well behaved and courteous to others.  It was obvious the whales, (humpbacks and Minke) did not enjoy food security as they feasted their way in green, bubbled water, with tons of gulls following their every move.  Poor Jake’s legs were as blue as the water.  Little did he know that he would be spending his day on the high seas.

Submitted by:
Jonathan Smith, 
Vice President Children’s Services and
Program Development

Related Posts:
Latham Goes on a Snow Tubing Adventure
Trip to Roger Williams Performing Arts Center Fun for Everyone
Summer at Latham

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves-
 in finding themselves.” 
~Andre Gide

Sunday, May 5, 2013

TIP of the WEEK: PWS Awareness Month

May is a special month. It is a month when we take time to spread the word about a syndrome that is near to our hearts. Although many of us do this year round, May is the month that congress established PWS awareness month in 2009. The meaning of this is best described by PWSAUSA:

  • Please help spread awareness of Prader-Willi syndrome and help save lives.
  • Please help to create a compassionate environment for those who bravely struggle with this disorder, living in a world where the biggest threat to their lives is food-the very item they need to live.
  • Please help create acceptance of our loved ones with PWS, who struggle in a society that shuns those who are overweight.

Those with PWS just want to live a healthy life with acceptance of who they are, just like anyone else.

At Latham, we take this month to focus on community awareness. Today, myself and other members of the Latham team gave a training for the Cape Cod Hospital emergency room staff. While in our care our children and adults are guaranteed quality care and adherence to best practices and we need to ensure that when the care gets shifted that those people are also well trained. I'm happy to say that we were met with interest and compassion from the hospital staff.

We are all familiar with the quizzical stare that we get when we talk about PWS to an outside person who has never heard of it (which is just about everyone!) and the frustration when even after our explanation someone decides that one lollipop or cookie can't possibly hurt.This is our time, our month to spread the word and teach our communities about the needs of our kids and adults.I have experienced that most people welcome the knowledge and people in general want to do good and want to do what's right. All they need is a little information and the more people who have that, the better off our kids will be.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Related Posts:
Rare Disease Day
Raising Awareness
Students Helping Students Understand PWS

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Latham Campus is in the Midst of Spring Cleansing!

Wow. It seems like overnight, the gardens, trees and birds have erupted all around us! Spring has gloriously arrived and Latham School is shaking off her winter coat! The painters are coming, the grass is being mowed, the kids are prepping the gardens and picnic lunches, long overdue, are happening. Latham School is situated on a beautiful campus and making it a home is our shared responsibility.

Maintenance staff, housekeepers and staff from all parts of the program are helping students and the program de-clutter and organize for the outdoor season. Gone are mittens, boots and coats. Hello to sunscreen, baseball hats and tee shirts! This is a learning experience for students to assess what gets put away, given away or tossed away. Not easy concepts for any of us who become attached to the familiar.

So, take a cue from the kids. What can still be used by others will be gratefully received by any number of local groups in your area. Feel good about helping someone else in need. Lightening your clutter will lighten your mood. Now go outside and play!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
~William Morris

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Best Small Town EVER!

The Latham campus is located in the beautiful town of Brewster. Brewster is a small, idyllic town that has a strong connection to the sea (we are known as the Sea Captains town), but is also very rural and not at all flashy. Brewster is a place that still cares strongly for the members of its town. It is a strong, vibrant community that encompasses all that jumps to mind when you think of small town New England. Our students are important and celebrated members of the Brewster community. This weekend one of those “small town” events took place. The annual Brewster in Bloom Festival celebrates the arrival of Spring and allows our students chances to access all that is great about living in a small community.

On Saturday, the Latham Centers had a table at the Brewster in Bloom Craft Fair. For the previous month, students have been creating crafts to be sold. They made jewelry, framed photographs and painted pictures. From 10-3, student volunteers greeted customers and sold the merchandise. This type of activity is what we strive to do since all the work involved is meaningful and has value. All proceeds from the sales at the Craft Fair are going to a charity that the Latham Student Council will decide on in the near future.

Ryan is a student that has been training to run the Falmouth Road Race, which is a 7 mile road race that takes place in August. He successfully ran the race last year and has been working to improve on his times this coming year. Ryan ran the Brewster in Bloom 5K this past Saturday as a way to train and have fun. Although he says his knees were a bit sore after the race, Ryan related wonderful stories of people cheering him along as he ran his hardest. At the finish line, a group of supporters both from Latham and the larger Brewster community were waiting to congratulate Ryan on his success.

Just about all the students that were on campus went out into the front yard on Sunday afternoon to watch the Brewster in Bloom parade. Sitting on the grass with the sun shining down was an ideal way to celebrate Spring; especially after the long Winter we have had. Nothing is more small town than a parade. As the trucks and floats came by there seemed to be an extra flurry of waving between our kids on the ground and the participants in the parade. Everyone knows they will get a huge welcome when they pass our campus.

Thank you Brewster for taking such good care of Latham. We are grateful to be a part of the community and thankful to so many of our neighbors who support are students in so many different ways.

Submitted by:
Tim Vaughan
Residential Director

Related Posts:
Come On Out and See the Parade 
Spring Begins With a Running, Jumping, Throwing Start
Latham Children Celebrate Spring With a Concert 

"Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!" 
~Wallace Stevens