Friday, May 30, 2014

Latham Lifelong Pet Care at Paws in the Park!

Tomorrow, Saturday May 31st, from 11am-2pm, Latham Lifelong Pet Care (LLPC) will have a booth at Paws in the Park. We are excited to attend this annual event at Drummer Boy Park and inform the community about LLPC, especially since it is the newest vocational program for Latham Centers’ children and adults with complex special needs, specifically geared towards those with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and specializing in a variety pet care options on Cape Cod. Paws in the Park is one of the largest Pet Fundraisers on Cape Cod and raises money for the Animal Rescue League of Brewster! Learn more about LLPC at

More about Paws in the Park:

Paws in the Park includes the below activities and involves a $3 admission fee for adults, but is free to children 12 years and under: 

• Climb aboard the ARL’s mobile Spay Waggin’
• Kids – try on the ARL rescue team’s ice suits and watch a mock cat-in-tree rescue
• Flying High Frisbee Dog Show
• Police K-9 Demonstration
• Caricature artist doing caricatures of people & dogs
• Book signings with local authors
• Awesome raffle prizes!
• Make your dog a free fleece, tug toy
• Photo “Doggie” Kissing Booth
• Food vendors (come for lunch and ice cream!)
• A DJ playing tunes
• Contests (Is your dog the best kisser? Does he have the waggiest tail on the Cape?)
• Shopping
• Free giveaways
• Face painting
• Joe Rossetti & Stephanie Viva from Cool 102 and WCOD as emcees
• Latham Lifelong Pet Care booth

Learn more about Paws in the Park, here.

See you there! Don’t forget to look for Latham Lifelong Pet Care to learn more and support Latham Centers. For questions about LLPC or Paws in the Park please contact Katrina Fryklund in the Development Office at 774.487.7612 or

Submitted by:
Katrina Fryklund 
Development Associate

TIP of the WEEK: Fighting the Fight

In the final week of PWS awareness month I have been thinking ahead to the possibilities that this new generation will have but am distracted by the current state of insurance claims being cast aside, accommodations for a fair education being refuted and needed in-home services being rescinded. It confounds me how we are still fighting this battle and then I realized why- because they don't know our kids. That's all. If they knew them they would love, admire and fight for them the way that we do. They would not give indirect answers denying their necessary accommodations to get a fair education. They would not use their antiquated laws to refuse our kids the support that they need in adulthood, and they would not reject scientifically proven medications because a simple modification to their insurance policy would just be too overwhelming for them to manage. If they knew our kids they would make the changes, find the loopholes, fight the system. But they don't know them so they don't bother and that is the greatest injustice I can think of; to blindly turn away.

We are not asking to give people with PWS a great advantage, simply to give them what is needed to be safe, healthy individuals with the same rights as every other citizen. That is not too much to ask and yet we are still fighting. So what do we do? We make it personal, because it is. We create teams of people who know and love our children to make the calls, insist on the meetings, reject plans that are subpar, that don't stop even when the odds look incredibly stacked against you. It may take an army but guess what? We have one. May ends in a few days but our fight doesn't and we have what it takes to make the changes that will allow our kids to get the services that they deserve. I'm in. Are you?

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Related Posts: 
Latham Consulting
A Message from Christine Gallant
Tough Decisions

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Perfect Prom for a Positive Pupil (with Help from Community Partners)

Annually our students highly anticipate the Best Buddies prom. This year is different because for the first time Neiman Marcus Natick has donated a plethora of beautiful dresses to be worn and loved by Latham students. Often times our individuals with PWS battle with fluctuating weight, which makes finding a prom dress a difficult adventure. This year we’d like to share a story of one of our students who has struggled to find a dress in the past, but not in 2014! With healthy weight loss and new dress selections our student has bloomed into a prom queen – ready for the Best Buddies prom feeling confident and excited.

The student walked into our prom fitting area with the same optimistic smile she always has. For the first year, however, she had multiple options - some that were too small, some that were too big, and some that were just right. Here you will see her in her final selection, and she is beaming – even the staff behind her is beaming as staff becomes family here at Latham. She looks great and feels fantastic, and the dress does not need even one alteration. This is one of the many beautiful pieces Neiman Marcus Natick generously donated after an in-store dress donation campaign resulting in a selection of lightly used, and even new dresses off the racks.

Community and corporate donations make attending the Best Buddies prom a stimulating experience, and everyone at Latham Centers thanks the surrounding community ten-fold. Specifically, our thanks goes out to Neiman Marcus Natick for their dress donations, as well as their willingness to send five volunteer Neiman Marcus Make-Up Artists to adorn the girls on Monday, June 2nd. Thanks also go to the many Cape Cod women who saw and shared our post on Facebook and sent in beautiful gowns for our lovely prom attendees. We’d like to thank The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod for sponsoring all tuxes from our community partner, Puritan Clothing, and Puritan clothing for fitting our gentlemen with handsome tuxes. Lastly we’d like to thank a slew of local hair stylists volunteering their time on June 2nd to help prepare our students, and The Candleberry Inn for supporting our cause and opening their doors to our overnight make-up team!

Cheers as we celebrate our students’ excitement to attend the Best Buddies Prom! More details to come soon!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Latham Centers to host Charitable Gift Annuity Informational Seminar with Local Professionals June 11th

Latham Centers invites the public to a free informational seminar on Charitable Gift Annuities on Wednesday, June 11th from 3:30-5pm at the Orleans Snow Library located at 67 Main Street.  Latham staff will be joined by Christopher J. Ward, Elder Law Attorney at LaTanzi, Spaulding & Landreth, P.C., and Ms. Leslie A. Watt, Vice President of Private Trusts with TD Wealth.  The session, to be held in the Craine meeting room, will cover charitable giving and estate planning options, including charitable gift annuities (CGAs), and the option of earmarking a CGA to benefit Latham Centers’ Pet Therapy programs for children and adults with complex special needs.

A Latham Pet Therapy CGA affords the investor/donor a monthly income despite retiree status, as well as a partial annual charitable tax deduction. In turn, a Pet Therapy CGA provides funding for Latham Centers’ Asinotherapy and Latham Lifelong Pet Care Programs to ensure the longevity of therapeutic and vocational Pet Programs at Latham Centers.

Informational session highlights will include:  An overview of investment options, including Charitable Gift Annuities and their risk-free investment benefits. ● What is Latham Lifelong Pet Care and what is the Pet Therapy Charitable Gift Annuity? ● A Question and Answer session with Attorney Ward who specializes in Trusts and Estates, Taxation and Elder Law; Ms. Watt, who specializes in Private Trusts and Wealth Management; and Latham program staff.

More about Latham Lifelong Pet Care
Latham Lifelong Pet Care is the newest vocational opportunity at Latham Centers offering multiple pet care options, including Long-Term and Lifelong pet care in Latham residences, and dog walking services in the community.  Its goals are to:
  • Provide paid vocational opportunities to Latham Centers adults and transitional students with complex special needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome, who are otherwise underemployed.
  • Provide the Cape Cod Community with Dog Walking, Long-Term and Lifelong Pet Care at a reasonable and competitive rate. 
  • Provide an opportunity to elders to invest risk-free in Latham’s Pet Care programs while receiving tax benefits and guaranteed monthly income.

RSVPs to the event should be made to Katrina Fryklund at 774.353.9126 or by email at
For more information, visit

Friday, May 23, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Safe Summer Fun

With the unofficial start to summer happening this weekend it's a good time to talk about all of the summer activities that we love to participate in. Cookouts, picnics , family get togethers seem to happen every weekend and all of them are completely focused on the F word. That's food, of course. If your child has a particularly high food seeking drive you may choose to stay away from these activities or you can try these tips that may lessen the stress of our favorite summer pastimes.

1. Arrive after lunch has been served. It may be extremely difficult to remove your child from the get together before the meal is served but arriving after allows you the social interaction with the group without the stress of explaining to everyone there why one more cookie really is a big deal.

2. Don't go it alone. Bring at least one other person who knows your child if food is going to be out and available for the whole event. This will allow you to have at least some time "off duty" from monitoring food intake. Remember though, always assign one person to watch your child. When everyone is watching, no one is watching.

3. Have the party at your house. You have more control over the food and where it is served and the environment is familiar to your child making it less stressful.

Whatever you decide to do be sure that it is what's right for you and your family. If you think your child can safely attend, then go, but if you are unsure then stay home. There is no shame in knowing what your child can handle. Not every friend or family member will understand this but that is not your main concern. If large get togethers are too much then plan small events with close friends and immediate family. Summers can be a wonderful time filled with activities that everyone can enjoy. Trust your gut and do what feels right for you and your family.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Related Posts:
Summer Safety Tips
Surviving Summer Vacation
Summer Snack Ideas

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” 
~L.M. Montgomery

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Prom Dress Fitting Day in the West Wing!


The West Wing girls spent their morning having their dresses fitted for the upcoming Best Buddies prom! This years prom will take place on Monday, June 2nd. It was a very exciting day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rites of School Passage

There is a buzz in the air here at Latham. I’m not sure who is more excited, the students or the staff. Next week is Prom. That is the marquee event of the season for teens concluding their school year. While many teachers’ world-wide shudder and sigh over the Prom and all that it entails, we celebrate it. Prom dresses, tuxedos, up-dos, high heels, flowers, make-up, and sparkling accessories will adorn our students.

This event takes a lot of cooperation and planning. Latham School has a band of merry helpers to insure that this day is one of life-long memories for the students. Many are our dedicated and resourceful staff who will create an atmosphere of glamour here on campus. Community volunteers and program partners are joining in on the excitement too. How did they pull this off?
First came the dresses. Generous donors of galas gone by who contributed their party frocks so that the girls could experience selecting their dress from racks of beautiful gowns. Cape Cod women who shared our story on social media sent in dresses. Neiman Marcus Natick generously donated dresses, accessories, and three make-up artists to pamper our girls the day of the event; Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod is under writing the costs of the tuxedos from Puritan Clothing Company that our young men will be wearing. A Cape Cod corps of hairstylists are donating their time and will arrive early in the morning to pin, spray and style. The Candleberry Inn of Brewster is offering a place to stay for those traveling from Natick on their day off to powder and gloss. All are generous friends of Latham and more importantly, generous benefactors to a great group of kids.

I have always felt that we live in a special place. This is Cape Cod. This is community. This is Latham. I can’t wait to share the photos of this celebratory occasion!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Friday, May 16, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Sneaking in Exercise

One of the best ways to get your child to exercise is to not call it exercise! Getting active and having fun together doesn't have to be a chore and once the habit of being active is formed it will be hard to break. Here are some ideas for exercise that you can sneak in without anyone knowing it's good for them!

  • 1. Have an outdoor scavenger hunt. This can be on a nature walk, the beach or just during a neighborhood walk. Kids will be more likely to keep moving if they are distracted with the hunt.
  • 2. Get competitive. We have had great success with the use of pedometers. The person with the most steps at the end of the week is the winner. Their competitive nature kicks in and over time we found that even the prize for the winner was unnecessary. They simply wanted to be the winner.
  • 3. Go to a playground. Most towns have community playgrounds and they are highly underused. Don't discount the exercise value of climbing, swinging and many of the upper body building equipment found on playgrounds.
  • 4. Impromptu games of catch and tag are wonderful ways to get exercise in and have fun at the same time.
  • 5. Anything that can be turned into a contest; who can get to the mailbox the fastest, who can throw the farthest, who can carry the most books. Literally anything that has a winner will be met with enthusiasm.
  • 6. Walk for charity. Our kids have such sweet spirits and are typically very willing to help out someone in need. During the nice weather there is some kind of charity walk happening almost weekly.

Whatever you choose to do be sure that you are equally as involved and excited. Your child will model after your attitude towards being active. Standing with a stop watch and telling them to get their exercise in for the day will last about 5 minutes if you're lucky. Exercise can be fun but shhhh, don't call it exercise!

Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Related Posts:
Exercise Wisely
Outside Play
PWS Walkathon: Beautiful Day for an Important Cause

"Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well."
 ~Marcus Valerius Martial

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Remember When

Years can begin to blend into each other when you have worked at the same place for a long time. I have begun to confuse the years when I “think” a student spent some time with us at Latham. I am so sure it was only 10 years ago I worked with her when, in fact, it was 22. Wow. Not off by much, am I? I think it is because it stays so fresh in my mind that it shocks me how fast time truly does fly. I can see and hear the commotion of the morning routine, of kids getting ready for school. My absolute favorite time was the evening. Helping kids prepare for bed--making sure they felt cared for and safe so that sleep could come without fear.

Working in a residential school program offered me the opportunity to witness the tremendous growth and success our students struggled mightily to achieve. I am forever grateful to the corps of child care workers who joined me in meaningful work that is often unrecognized by many. This is a worthy career choice for the right kind of person and you may wonder why I am once again rambling on about the “old days”.  Well….. Last week and again today, three former students crossed my path.  Let me say that Madonna was the young Madonna when one of them was at Latham and that cell phones didn’t exist when I first met the others. So, that gives you some context in how long ago this actually happened. I say this because of the conversations that sprang up either in person or on the phone with these women. Separately, without the benefit of each other, they all started saying to me, “remember when” or “you used to say” ….
What struck me was how ordinary the things they remembered were. I’m also quite sure I said some things over the years that I don’t want repeated and fortunately they didn’t choose to remind me of my less than stellar moments. But things I didn’t put much thought into meant a lot to them, enough so that they recalled them as if it was happening in real time. I was floored that these memories were so important to them and it made it clear to me how important our work truly is.

Our jobs are not glamorous. Trust me, we are probably the only people besides nurses and parents of children with PWS who know the Bristol Stool Chart inside and out :).  However, what does stand out to me is this: We have an important role in the growth and development of our students, both current and former. And the connections we make can last a lifetime.

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

"Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator."
~Robert Orben

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Love Poem From a Parent About her Child

In the spirit of Mother's Day, a love poem from a parent about her child. Happy Mother's Day to all who cherish, care for, protect, teach, and inspire children.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
For sixteen years I bandaged his cuts so he wouldn't pick,
counted his calories so he wouldn't gain weight,
hiked wooded trails and swam in the  bay with him so he would stay fit,
redirected him so he wouldn't obsess,
changed his sheets in the middle of the night so they wouldn't be wet,
played with him so he wouldn't be lonely,
and loved him as I know no one ever will.

So now when I entrust him to you please understand,
if I become impassioned and overwrought,
it is because I'm frightened for I know,
that he will not be cared for as I always did,
and no one will love him as I always will...

Poetry by
Susan Packard

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Long Pond Classroom Celebrates Cinco de Mayo!

The classroom was alive with Spanish music and busy students making Sombreros. The students made their hats out of newspapers and then painted them with festive colors, all taking place during their weekly Sensory Art Class.  The students then donned their Sombreros and enjoyed making Mexican Bird Maracas.

What a wonderful class!

Adios Amigos,
Long Pond Class

Friday, May 9, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Taking Care of the Caregiver

For the first week of PWS awareness month I would like to address the needs and challenges of professionals working with the PWS population. Personally I have never worked with a population that was more profoundly rewarding and also at times formidable and confounding; but always worth it. I have found that each time I have felt defeated or to the brink of throwing in the towel, I myself have not been at baseline. My state of peace and self awareness has had a direct impact on the situation at hand. When I was able to regroup and look objectively it was clear that my state of being had a direct effect on the outcome. It takes a special and dedicated person to work with people with PWS and on this first week of PWS awareness month I want to thank you for everything that you do everyday for our children and adults. Here are some ways to keep your approach positive and still have some energy left for you at the end of the day.

  • 1. Take a break from technology everyday. I am one of the biggest offenders of being glued to my phone and email but taking a break from the things that we plug into allows our minds and souls to recharge. Putting down the phone gives us a chance to make face to face connections instead of just screen to screen.
  • 2. When you're at work, be at work and when you're at home, be at home. Being in the moment is being the best of you. Practice mindfulness before and after each shift to help you make that transition.
  • 3. Take time off. Use your vacation time and be off when you are off. Try to avoid reading email or checking in when you are not working.
  • 4. Be as kind to yourself as you are to the people that you care for. Use the same level of patience and encouragement for yourself  as you do for others.
  • 5. Practice self care everyday. Eat well, get outside, do leisure activities that make you happy.

As rewarding as our jobs are they are equally as demanding and taking care of yourself is crucial to your overall success both at work and at home. Since I know that you do not hear these words enough- thank you! You are coaches, friends, surrogate parents, cheerleaders, nurses, therapists, referees, and confidants all in the matter of an 8 hour shift. If you have any doubt look at the faces of the kids when you come back after being off for a few days and you will know without question how loved you are. You are an essential part of their lives and the work that you are doing now will matter for a lifetime. So take good care of yourselves and keep up the good work!

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Related Posts:
PWS Awareness Month 
Latham Attends National Organization for Rare Disease Gala
The Value of Specialized PWS Placement

“Gentleness towards self and others makes life a little lighter.” 
~Deborah Day

Announcing Latham Lifelong Pet Care at Paws at the Beach Pet Party!

Latham Centers announces its new vocational program, Latham Lifelong Pet Care! This program offers paid opportunities for our children and adults via community dog walking and pet care services.  

Katrina Fryklund now accepting dog walking referrals 774.587.7612
Learn more at

Look for our Latham Lifelong Pet Care vendor booth at Paws at the Beach Pet Party on Saturday between 11 and 3pm, at Craigville Beach 997 Craigville Beach Rd. Centerville,  our first pet focused event. 

Latham will be amongst 40 other exhibitors celebrating dogs on Cape Cod. This is your last weekend to bring your furry friends to this popular beach until fall, so bring your entire family to enjoy this fun-filled day!

Katrina Fryklund, MSC
Development Associate

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We parked the car in Harvard yard…literally!

I went to Harvard yesterday! And our biggest challenge was finding the parking garage. While that was, in fact, the most difficult part of our day, it wasn’t the most gratifying. I didn’t really know what to expect at a scientific symposium filled with students whose SAT scores were higher than I can count up to, but it was by far a memorable experience. 

We were there for the Genetic Disorder Symposium. My fear was that talking with young, student scientists would be way too scientific (not my forte) and not “human” enough. Our panel was made up of a scientist and CFO of an emerging pharmaceutical company, a parent, myself and Latham’s President and CEO, an adult consumer living in a Latham residence and his staff. All of us faced a lecture hall filled with students studying genetics and in particular, Prader-Willi Syndrome. Everyone there came to the discussion with a different focus and perspective on PWS. In total, the students heard about the challenges and joys of parenting a child with PWS, the emerging treatment and drug trials under way, the history of Latham’s PWS journey and a peek at the daily routine in our adult program.  We finished on a hopeful note of a more promising future for those diagnosed with the syndrome.

What was a pleasant and comforting surprise was the content of the Q & A portion of the presentation. I feared the majority of the questions would be pure science based--questions I felt least confident answering. It was therefore reassuring to see that the individual perspective we shared was driving the questions into areas that all of us could contribute to. Our staff person and individual described our nutrition program. Our CEO explained how our asinotherapy contributed to the quality of life of people with PWS. I spoke of pre and post GH treatment outcomes and promising environmental developments; the pharmaceutical members of the panel explained the drug trial process and where research currently is in this field. I believe the most questions were directed to the parent on the panel. Her thoughtful responses to the students’ questions gave them much to think about and ponder as they continue their studies in this field.

I hope several of the students I spoke with take me up on the offer to visit Latham. It was great to see their place; now I’d like the chance to show off mine!

Chris Gallant

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Brewster (and Orleans) in Bloom This Weekend!

Saturday’s spectacular weather was a show-stopping backdrop to Latham School’s Open House and evening benefit concert by Cape Cod American Idol Siobhan Magnus.

Latham staff and board volunteers hosted two widely attended interactive Brewster in Bloom Open House tours with several planned stops. Tours commenced in the Latham Schoolhouse and traveled on to the Yawkey Dormitory, a Dog Training exhibition on the playing field, an art show in the Board Room, followed by a peek into the history of the Main House and a Student Craft and Soap Sale on the adjacent lawn. Proceeds from the Craft and Soap Sales will benefit our community partners at the Brewster Ladies’ Library. The day was capped off by a sold-out concert hosted by Guapo’s Tortilla Shack of Orleans featuring Magnus and her new band Elcodrive in honor of “Cinco de Mayo” weekend.  Many Latham friends were in attendance including residents and staff of one Adult Program house cheering the performers on throughout the night. Magnus and Guapo’s have supported Latham programs previously and we appreciate all they continue to do for us.

Special thanks to the staff and volunteers who made the day such a success. In the end, Latham makes us all Bloom! We are fortunate to have such strong community support and dedicated staff and volunteers and engaged students and adult residents.

Submitted by
VP of Development & Community Outreach

Friday, May 2, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Visual Schedules

Students with PWS thrive on a structured environment as well as a structured schedule.  Some students benefit from visual schedules that offer both dense reinforcement and a high level of intensity.  Boardmaker is an essential tool that provides visuals in order to support students in obtaining individualized schedules, which meet their personalized needs.  The Boardmaker program offers teachers, therapists and parents, a tool to support language and literacy goals with assistance from adaptive learning materials.   Boardmaker helps to compile a rather complex structured daily schedule into a step by step clear plan.  This allows the students an opportunity to remain in the moment with a clear focus on the task at hand.

Here is an example of a student’s visual schedule:

The front cover identifies the amount of work to be completed, in the specified activity and what the 5 minute incentive will be.

The student/teacher decides together the amount of work the student is to complete before obtaining the incentive.  It could be anywhere from 1-5 problems or 5-15 minutes of work.  If the task is in minutes, the timer is set and started.

The students are able to quickly change the activity/incentive with the help of Velcro adhesives.

Submitted by:
Brittni Taylor
Assistant Principal

Thursday, May 1, 2014

PQI: Mining the Data

Data analysis is an on-going process here at Latham Centers. We strive for excellence and work hard to show that what we do has a positive effect on those we support and employ. To that end, it is not unusual for different groups to receive surveys from us. Parent and guardian satisfaction surveys, staff training surveys, technology surveys, new staff surveys are just a few of the more recent requests for information that have been sent out to different groups of our customers. And you are all our customers. As with many things that come your way, this asks for your input. It is easy to discard or ignore or forget. There is so much competition for your very valuable time already that a survey can seem an easy thing to put off. But your opinion matters. If a survey should come your way, please take a few minutes to complete it. Are we doing a good job? Are there opportunities we are missing? Where can we do better? Communication with all of you can only make us a better organization.

Program Quality Improvement at Latham is transitioning to Craig Anderson, our new VP for QA. Craig brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in this field to Latham and we are thrilled he has joined our agency. Craig will be researching some best practices approaches for surveying not only service recipients, but also staff, parents/guardians, funding, and referral sources.  His goal is to create some user friendly tools which can provide some tangible feedback to use for service improvement, as well as provide us an overall rating on our customers’ satisfaction.  Once in place and field tested with Adult Services he will do the same with Children’s Services.

We recently held our PQI committee meeting to discuss and review the initiatives currently under review. These included:

  • Performance measurements of students identified with high, out of class time.
  • The increase of community involvement of adults in a variety of areas including: vocational, recreational, educational, etc.
  • The technology intranet initiative.

In all areas, input from survey respondents and professional communication from staff gave the committee valuable information and recommendations. These included:

  • Satisfaction surveys will be translated into Spanish to increase participation.
  • Identified that grade improvement & time in class moved students off a behavioral risk list.
  • Increased time in the community included diversity in activities and improved quality of life.
  • Streamlining the Latham library will offer upgrades and conveniences for staff seeking or working on a variety of documents.

Our multi-disciplinary PQI committee is always looking for new members. If you would like more information about the committee, time commitment, etc., please contact:

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant