Saturday, November 29, 2014

Latham Works News

Greetings All,

The Latham Works crew thought it was a good time to get the ball rolling with some holiday items for sale.  With that in mind, we offer our inaugural effort with “Scrabble Ornaments”.  They can be customized for any word or name up to 8 letters (keep it clean please!).  They’re a ton of fun! Who doesn’t love Scrabble?  Never has attaining PEACE during the holidays been so easy.  “Peace” is so much more than just a 9 point word.  And now it can be yours…

Please email or
call 528-896-5776 x-258, and we’ll help you out.

We will have order sheets and some finished products for sale at the Latham Craft Fair at 3pm next Friday, December 5th at 1439 Main St. / Rt 6A - Brewster (Former site of New England Fire & History Museum).  We’ll have a lot of our woodworking products and soap, too! Please come check out all of the students’ offerings.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Friday, November 28, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Following Directions

Here are some ways to help your kids follow directions:

1. Keep instructions clear. Use as few words as possible when giving your kids an instruction.

2. Wait several seconds after telling your child to do something. Our kids often have a processing delay and need up to 20 seconds after hearing something to fully process what they heard.

3. Tell, don't ask. If you want your child to do something, don't present it as a choice. Asking infers that they have an option to say no.

4. Give one instruction at a time. Multiple steps can be overwhelming. Often the last thing you say is what he or she will process. This can cause confusion and may lead to acting out as a result.

5. Finally, ask them to repeat what you just said. Many times our kids are not being defiant; they simply did not understand the request or what they need to do to fulfill that request.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Latham Lifelong Pet Care Strides into December – Dog Walking and Pet Sitting available!

As the weather gets chillier and the holidays approach, don’t forget to tell your friends and family about Latham Lifelong Pet Care. Latham Lifelong Pet Care continues to offer dog walking and pet sitting at a competitive rate into the winter months. Whether you need ongoing dog walking support or temporary pet sitting/dog walking for a weekend or a couple of weeks – Latham Lifelong Pet Care can help.

Dog walking is conducted by a Latham Resident, accompanied by a Latham Centers staff person, lasting from 15 - 60 minutes per user. For the price of $15/walk a dog owner can create a schedule in which his or her dog continues to exercise during these cold months while providing vocational opportunities for students and adults with complex special needs. Moreover, these pet care opportunities provide yet another outlet for students and adults who benefit from animal therapy. Walks are offered between Orleans, MA and Wareham, MA.

Pet Sitting, or “Long Term Pet Care” is a program which offers pets cage-free living and opportunities for play and exercise, fresh air and full-time caring staff in one of our supervised residences. The routine, schedule and price are all customizable.

Please take the time to tell your family and friends about Latham Lifelong Pet Care and these win-win-win opportunities for animal welfare, special needs vocational opportunities, and animal therapy.

Questions? Please contact Katrina Fryklund at 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Latham Centers participates in #GivingTuesday

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Latham Centers is part of this global celebration the whole year through. As our students and adult residents with complex special needs do, #GivingTuesday inspires people to give back and improve their local communities whether through monetary donation or volunteer action.

Volunteering at a variety of for- and not-for-profit locations ranging from animal care facilities to local churches and elder care facilities, our residents continually give back to our community. Along the way, our students and adults take pride in volunteering while gaining valuable work experience and therapeutic benefits.

Latham Players, a musical and theatrical troupe comprised of Latham adult residents, regularly performs at local churches, arts centers, and elder care facilities around Cape Cod, spreading joy wherever they go.

And just around the corner, the Latham School Annual Holiday Craft Sale, hosted by our students features a variety of handmade holiday crafts. Proceeds are donated to a charity of the students’ choice.  Friday, Dec. 5, 3-5pm. The event is open to the public at 1439 Main St. / Rt. 6A (Former site of New England Fire & History Museum).

To mark #GivingTuesday, we invite you to consider a year-end gift to Latham in honor of our students and adult residents with complex special needs. Rest assured, your compassionate, philanthropic support on #GivingTuesday or any other time of the year, will help provide cutting-edge educational and program support for the amazing individuals who call Latham home on Cape Cod.

Prefer to mail your gift? Please make payable to Latham Centers at:

Latham Centers
14 Lots Hollow Road
Orleans, MA   02653

All of us at Latham wish you a Happy and Joyous Holiday Season!

Friday, November 21, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Being Thankful

Well here it is―the biggest food holiday of the year right around the corner. While we spend the next few days planning, worrying, and trying our hardest to make a stressful event go smoothly, I encourage you to find the good and be thankful for everything that you have.

As you can imagine, this time of year is our most challenging and in an effort to minimize my own stress, I wrote out my list of what I am most thankful for:

1. I am thankful that our kids and adults have a place like Latham Centers―a place where people with extra special needs can flourish and grow in an environment of safety, love, and understanding. So many people living with rare diseases are left to manage complex needs and multiple challenges with no access to specialized care. I am thankful that our loved ones have Latham.

2. I am thankful for our parents and families who entrust the care of their children to us. We are better people for having worked with your children; and we do not take that relationship for granted. Thank you.

3. I am thankful for our staff that come to work every day with passion and creativity. I am filled with pride when I see how incredibly hard our staff work and how excited they become when they witness growth and success in our children and adults.

4. But mostly I am thankful for the smiles that greet me every morning. Smiles from students and adults who wake up every day facing unimaginable odds with bravery and courage.

My time in the world of PWS has run the gamut from being awe inspiring to downright humbling. The individuals with PWS have taught me that no challenge is too big, and to never, ever give up and to never assume that you have seen it all. And for that I am eternally thankful.

Please take some time this week and take note of the good.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Every Trip to Stop & Shop or Peapod purchase can earn money for Latham!

Sign up before you start your Holiday Shopping!

By signing up for the Stop & Shop A+ Rewards Program (two easy steps online), employees, friends and families can help Latham earn reward money every time they shop at Stop & Shop or Peapod! 

Stop & Shop rewards card holders simply register HERE
by entering their Rewards Card ID# and selecting Latham as the recipient.

Step 1: Enter your S&S Rewards card #
Step 2: Select Latham by searching Brewster / MA schools or using our School ID# 07054.

Your participation will ensure that Latham Centers continues its innovative treatment, such as:
  • Pet Care Programs that helps individuals who have suffered trauma build trust;
  • Sensory therapy to promote greater well-being and enhance overall learning and calmer focus;
  • Art and performing arts therapy and sports, recreational, and vocational programs designed to enhance the health, confidence and socialization of special needs individuals

This program does not affect your current Rewards offerings -- you will still receive your gas and other rewards points. For answers to other frequently asked questions about the A+ program, click on the FAQ link at

Community Outing News

Pictures taken by Alanna Murphy
Latham students attended another successful community outing to the Cape Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum. Students were able to explore the local museums to learn about Cape Cod’s wild life and culture. Everyone involved enjoyed interacting with the exhibits and asking questions about the displays.

Submitted by:
Meghan Pouliot

Friday, November 14, 2014

TIP of the WEEK: Transitions

Transitions are the single most challenging part of any day for the person with PWS. When a person with PWS is faced with a big transition, it can be that much more challenging.

Here are some ways to make transitions a little bit easier:

1. Practice with social stories, verbalizing what each step will look like, and doing dry runs. This will allow your child to mentally prepare for some of life's bigger transitions like changing schools or moving.

2. Validate and plan for anxiety. Transitioning from the familiar to the unfamiliar is extremely difficult for our kids. Plan to have extra supports around for both you and your child.

3. Allow for setbacks. In being patient with the process, it will allow for long-term success; and you will be teaching your child that the best things are worth fighting for.

4. Most importantly, be there for your child without doing the work for them. Allow for some of the bumps that inevitably come with a big transition and show him or her that they can do this even with increased anxiety.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Related Posts:
A Transitonal POV
Living with Anxiety
Coping Strategies

Belonging at Latham

As the admissions assistant at Latham Centers I regularly give program tours to parents and families.  I was recently on a tour of Latham School in Brewster with a young man and his father. We were anticipating an admission, so the young man was scheduled for a classroom visit after the tour.

While on the tour, we paused to discuss one of the quadrants of our Circle of Courage™ tenants known as Belonging.  The father and I discussed recently passed bullying laws.  I commented that I was really glad that there were bullying laws that prevented children from being ostracized.  He quietly replied “Yes, but they don’t always work.”

His eyes fell on his son who had become preoccupied with a bee collecting pollen. He then shared with me that his son had felt bullied at times in public schools, and that for his entire educational experience, he never really had any true friends, and that he certainly didn’t feel that he belonged.

As we concluded the tour, I asked the young man if he was ready to join the classroom and meet his new friends. His eyes lit up as he looked at me with awe and asked, “Do I have friends here already?”  I replied “Of course you do, everybody is friends here. All of the students are friends with each other!” He happily skipped along as we made our way to the main schoolhouse eagerly anticipating the group of friends he was about to meet. 

When we got to his classroom, the students were in performing arts class; but his new teacher and aide were waiting for him. They showed him his desk, which was covered in cards that his classmates had made to welcome him. His jaw dropped when he saw all of the cards and his hands began to shake with excitement as he carefully read them. I walked over to him and asked him if he had seen the whiteboard behind him. 

When he turned around, he saw a huge welcome sign with his name on it in bright colorful letters.  He squealed with delight, “Dad, look at what my friends made for me!” showing his father the cards and pointing to the whiteboard. His teacher took him to meet his classmates and join the class in session while his father and I went to my office to fill out paperwork.

When we returned at the end of the school day to pick up the young man, we watched him saying goodbye to all his new friends/classmates.  When I asked him how his day went, he replied, “It was the best day of my life!” He said I was right that all of the kids here were his friends, even the kids that weren’t in his class. He said to his father, “This place is better than Disney!”  The father said he had never seen his son so happy. 

This is what Belonging is all about. This boy finally had a place where he felt like he was accepted and could and would belong.

Rachel Dewees
Latham Admissions Assistant

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Latham Works News

Horticulture is one of the most popular jobs on campus.  There is much to do, as we grow plants from seed, root cuttings, or purchase young ornamental plants to raise.  Also, through our relationships with local businesses, we receive donated cut flowers that students arrange and deliver around the Latham campus.  It is a truly amazing experience when you bring our students and flowers together. Flowers have such a positive effect on everyone’s mood.  Walking into the greenhouse changes people; some are stimulated by the colors, aromas, and textures while others are calmed; appearing less anxious or agitated. 

Preparing flowers is an art form. Our students can explore their creativity in arranging and learning what works and doesn't work with much opportunity to improvise. Students may work individually or in groups, but when the work is done, it is time to deliver their bouquets or plants. The students have a chance to brighten someone else’s day.

Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Celebrating Philanthropy on Cape Cod

Bob Newman of Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club Accepts the Business of the Year Award at Philanthropy Day 2012

On Wednesday, November 12th, ten Latham Centers Board Members, staff and affiliates will attend Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod in Hyannis, MA, hosted by Philanthropy Partners of the Cape and Islands. This is one of the largest nonprofit events of the year on Cape Cod with some 600 attendees. Offering a variety of educational speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, including a Luncheon Awards Celebration, Philanthropy Day is in its 18th year.
The sold-out conference celebrates philanthropy on Cape Cod and the Islands by bringing together a plethora of philanthropy professionals, philanthropists, volunteers, and community leaders under one roof. Latham has a had a close association with this high-profile day having nominated several past winners in the volunteer and business of the year award categories. And Latham's own Gerry Desautels, VP of Development and Community Outreach, has served as Event Co-Chair in 2013 and 2014, managing a committee comprised of some 20 volunteers. The committee meets year-round to plan the big day in November which is National Philanthropy Month. Latham is very grateful for the generosity of the community and enjoys giving back through its engagement with Philanthropy Day. To learn more, visit

Friday, November 7, 2014

Latham Employee John Bonanni Receives Notable CCYP Scholarship

He is Second Staffer to Win this Prestigious Scholarship in 2014  

Latham employee John Bonanni made everyone at Latham Centers proud when he accepted a $2,500 scholarship from the Career Connect initiative of Cape Cod Young Professionals at their 10th Annual Anniversary Celebration at Chatham Bars Inn on November 6th. Bonanni was awarded the monies after a competitive review process vetted by CCYP, a volunteer review Board, and the Cape Cod Foundation. Bonanni’s CCYP scholarship will go far in helping him to complete a Master's in Education program at Bridgewater State University with a special education concentration. (Latham employee Dawn Dinnan received a similar scholarship in CCYP's Spring 2014 scholarship award round.

Bonanni, an active writer and established teacher working in the Race Point Classroom at the Latham School campus, concentrates on arts in education, mindfulness, sensory activities, and community outings. Students and staff alike gravitate towards him as his outgoing, expressive, and humorous personality precedes him. Bonanni has been with Latham since 2008 and first worked on the Residential side of the house for both Children's and Adult Services. He most recently transferred back to Children's to teach at Latham School.
Outside of Latham, Bonanni spearheaded the Cape Cod Poetry Review where he currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief. Also receiving grant funding from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod for the Cape Cod Poetry Review, Bonanni has set himself above his CCYP Scholarship competition as a consistently active member of his community.

CCYP’s 10th Anniversary Celebration also included information on the impressive increase in volunteers and membership over the course of the past year for the organization. Highlights included the results of the Shape the Cape Survey and a new Mentor Exchange Program.

The new projects and programs established by CCYP over the past year align with CCYP's goals to retain and recruit a diverse workforce for our region, build healthy and vibrant communities, and increase civic engagement for the betterment of the future of Cape Cod. To learn more about the CCYP Career Connect Scholarship Program visit here.

Development Associate

TIP of the WEEK: Bladder issues in PWS

Many of our kids and adults have issues with urinary incontinence. This is often seen as behavioral, but the truth is, although it can be, it seldom is something that they have control over. The typical person feels the need to urinate when the bladder is half full (about one cup) and has extreme urgency when the bladder is near full (about 2 cups). Individuals with PWS does not feel that initial "half full" urge to urinate, and by the time they do feel the need to go, the bladder is nearly full. This means that by the time they feel the urge, it is almost too late. You know this too well if you have ever been stuck in traffic with a person with PWS that once he or she has to go, you have minutes at most to get to a bathroom. So here is what you can do:

1. Plan bathroom breaks at least every hour whether your child has the urge to go or not.

2. The flow of a person with PWS is different as well and he or she should be encouraged to wait several seconds before stepping away from the toilet. It may take up to 30 seconds for the flow of urine to start.

3. Encourage your PWS individual to take in fluids during the daytime and less so in the evening. Overnight incontinence is extremely common. Restricting fluids after dinner will help with this.

4. Avoid shaming of any kind. This will only foster sneaking behavior around incontinence such as hiding wet underclothes and pants, unwanted behaviors due to embarrassment or guilt, etc...

Don't forget that people with PWS are more prone to hyperhydration than a non-PWS person. Hyperhydration can be just as or even more dangerous than dehydration. Always check with your child's doctor as to how much fluid your child should drink each day.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Latham Attends obesityweek 2014 in Boston

This week, Boston has welcomed surgeons, dietitians, psychologists and many other leaders in the obesity field at obesityweek 2014. Hyperphagia (abnormally increased appetite) is a condition that afflicts millions of people worldwide. I spent the day yesterday meeting with dietitians from around the world getting feedback and suggestions for helping our children and adults experience a more satisfying and fulfilling diet. Today's agenda is the psychology of eating and how we can better support those who equate food with emotional security.

It has been a privilege to learn from these professionals who dedicate their lives to helping those who live with hyperphagia.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services
Latham Centers, Inc.

Latham Works News

Rock Harbor classroom was 100% engaged during Vocational Skills class today. Students were researching the necessary training for a variety of careers. Casey made a phone call to the Massachusetts State Police Academy to inquire about the training requirements and time commitment mandatory to become a police officer. She handled herself professionally and politely over the phone and answered the questions independently.

When it came time to research becoming a chef, Brennan enthusiastically chimed in, “Let’s call Joe!  He’s been a chef for 25 years!” So Brennan called the Latham Kitchen and spoke with our chef, Joe Sweetland. After a brief chat with Joe, Brennan was able to relay the relevant information to his classmates. Rock Harbor was able to use previous interviews with a local veterinarian and a fire captain to answer other questions. They went on to ask a former waiter (me!) about the training required to be a restaurant server.

We have become so accustomed to using the internet to find answers to every question we have.  It has been refreshing to show our students that you can connect with a real person and learn “from the horse’s mouth” authentically by reaching out to the community.  Rock Harbor really picked up on this theme.

Andy Needel
Vocational Teacher

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spread Some Hope, Light and Joy this Holiday Season. Donate Today!

Read of one Latham student’s remarkable journey here…

Hope. Light. Joy.


Dear Latham Friend:

One year ago this fall I arrived at a psychiatric hospital to perform an assessment of a young Massachusetts girl diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and a long list of mental health disorders. I have assessed many such individuals dozens of times in dozens of cities during my career, but this particular assessment became so much more than anything that I had expected or ever experienced.

Who I met was a young girl named Rose who sat alone in the corner of the room, lost and afraid. With pale skin, tight fists and a clenched jaw, she spoke very little and evaded any eye contact. Rose had no peers to talk to, to play with or to learn from because the other girls in her unit were not like her. Rose knew it. Other girls in the in-patient unit had family checking in on them and visiting them. Rose had no one.

Once a day, Rose was taken outside to walk for ten minutes in the parking lot and then quickly returned to her unit to sit alone and wait. She was waiting for something that she could not verbalize—a family, a friend…any connection at all with someone or something that she could call her own. Rose had spent the last seven years of her life in that hospital because her challenges were too great for the typical residential school to handle with trained staff to keep her safe.

Rose’s first years of life as an infant were very traumatic and difficult. In addition to her PWS diagnosis presenting physical, behavioral and intellectual challenges, Rose also suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Over the years, she had also developed self-injurious behaviors. Luckily, for Rose, Latham Centers is not a typical residential school. When no one else would take the risk, take the chance, take the steps to ensure her safety, we did.

Today Rose has staff and fellow students who care a great deal for her, and she has made steady and significant progress in school and residential activities on our tightly-knit Cape Cod campus. Recently, Rose and I sat outside after her soccer game on a gorgeous day surrounded by her friends, and as I looked at her slightly tanned and relaxed face, I saw a light that was so evidently absent the first time that we met. I asked Rose if she would still keep in touch after she graduates from Latham and she looked at me, smiled and said, “Of course, you always keep in touch with your family.” And it struck me, as it never has before, that to those children who have been marginalized by society and also have no family to speak of, we become their support system and their biggest fans.

When Rose got up and ran to the playground to join her friends, I had an overwhelming sense of pride in her tremendous accomplishments over the past year and also for being part of an agency that looks at each child and creates a home that allows her or him to thrive and flourish. And more than anything else, we create a place that embraces children and adults like Rose with a supportive chance to love themselves.

With intensive small group and one-to-one support, Latham care is highly customized, and, as you can imagine, expensive. We are with many Latham residents 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. For children like Rose, we make great effort to make holidays as special and meaningful as possible, and along the way, the residents remind each of us to be grateful for what we have—our health, our family and the ability to innately trust, forgive and nurture others. During this season of giving, please consider making an end-of-year, tax-deductible gift to Latham Centers to help children and adults like Rose to lead meaningful and more abundant lives.

With locations throughout Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts, your gift will ensure that Latham Centers continues its innovative treatment, such as:

• Pet Care Programs that help individuals who have suffered trauma build trust;
• Sensory therapy to promote greater well-being and enhance overall learning with calmer focus;
• Art and performing arts therapy and sports, recreational and vocational programs designed to enhance the health, confidence and socialization of special needs individuals;
• And funds to further train staff in cutting-edge treatment techniques, improvements to our facilities and residences that many of our children and adults call home for all or most of the year.

With your compassion and generosity, we can and will continue to make a difference in the lives of special needs children and adults on Cape Cod with severe and complex needs. Please support the work of Latham today with your gift of hope. Give online HERE.

Thank you!
Wishing you and yours great joy and warmth this holiday season,

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services, Latham Centers

P.S. We invite you to learn more about Latham at Click on our PWS Feature Video link, “And they said my child would never…” and see how Latham makes a difference and defies the limitations others set on our residents with complex special needs.

LATHAM PROFILES: Christine MacDonald

Christine MacDonald
Residential House Manager

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Walking into the house I manage every morning and getting warm, smiley greetings from the clients. If they’re happy, I’m happy!

Describe a few of your responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.

A lot of my day is spent scheduling and making sure the clients get where they need to be. They are my main concern, and I want them to lead the most meaningful lives possible, and keep them engaged in activities.

What skills are most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS or other complex special needs?

Patience, calmness, and flexibility.

What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff? 

A lot of our clients have led some really challenging lives before coming to Latham. Always, always, always take the time to build a relationship with a client, even if it means finding that one connection to start a conversation.  

What do you love about working with individuals with PWS or other complex special needs?

I enjoy laughing just as much as my clients enjoy laughing. Every day we find new ways to be silly and help bring cheer to our Latham community! 

Has this job taught you anything about yourself?

Absolutely! This job taught me to be selfless and increasingly patient. I realized I wanted to make Latham my career. I started at Latham Centers almost 6 years ago as a residential counselor in the children’s program and currently manage a house in the adult program. 

How do you spend your time when you’re not working at Latham?

I enjoy reading, going to the beach, playing trivia, going to the movies, playing with my dog, and spending time with family and friends.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating a career at Latham Centers?

You will never know unless you try. You have to be willing to give 100% every day.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our latest job postings HERE!

Related Posts:
Latham Profiles: Amie Gould 
Latham Profiles: Kara McDowell
Latham Profiles: Meaghan Hengst