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Updated: 4 hours 34 min ago

Visiting at Latham

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:18pm
Well, I have to ring the doorbell for access to my old office and to be honest, that will take some getting used to. I have had the pleasure of visiting the campus and administrative offices on several occasions since my departure and nothing, I mean nothing, is better than a warm welcome from students upon arrival back at “work”.  Being greeted with shouts and hugs does wonders for your soul. Among the happy hellos was my favorite response…”You again? I thought you retired.” But there was a smile attached to that face and to those words. 

I was here to celebrate the dedication of the school to former Latham Administrators, now friends and fellow retirees. Kathy Long and Matt McNamara were here when I arrived at Latham and nurtured this agency through the early years--much in the way a parent helps to support and guide their child through elementary, middle and high school. It was great to reminiscence about the old days and see how far Latham has come to advance the care, treatment and support of people with Prader Willi Syndrome and other complex special needs.

I hope there are many reasons in the future for me to drop in at Latham. I love seeing the kids working diligently in school and our adults engaged in the community. And I absolutely love to hear those words…You, again?

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant

Latham Dedicates Campus Schoolhouse the McNamara-Long Schoolhouse

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:30am

Yesterday Latham Centers dedicated its campus schoolhouse for children with complex special needs the McNamara-Long Schoolhouse. Amidst an intimate crowd of staff, students, and members of the Latham Board of Directors, Latham President & CEO Anne McManus unveiled the new schoolhouse sign with the assistance of honorees Matt McNamara and Kathy Long.

Together, Mr. McNamara and Ms. Long dedicated years of service to the children and adults who call Latham home. Kathy and Matt were involved with Latham in leadership capacities during its formative years and set up a foundation for its future growth and development and, for that, we are forever thankful. Their compassion, professionalism and commitment continue to serve as a model for all of us. Today, Latham School serves approximately 45 residential and day students on its tightly-knit Brewster campus. The schoolhouse houses a library, multiple classrooms, occupational therapy and nursing, technology, and administrative offices. 
Originally dedicated in 2002 as the McNamara Schoolhouse, an addition to the building has since been added while honoring the combined and collective work of Mr. McNamara and Ms. Long, dating as far back as 1974 through 2003.
Matt began his involvement at Latham (formerly Residential Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.) in 1974 assuming the role of Director of Education. Subsequently he served as Latham’s Executive Director, a position he held until 1984. 
Matt then went on to work with the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools as Director of Membership Assistance and Deputy Director until 1991 when he obtained his Law degree at Suffolk University. He then pursued a successful and meaningful career as an attorney helping children and schools throughout the Commonwealth. After his retirement, Latham was fortunate to have had Matt rejoin us as a member of the board of directors.
In 1974, Kathy began her tenure with Latham Centers in a social work capacity. As the scope of social services increased in the late 70’s and early 80’s and the social service department at Latham expanded accordingly, Kathy assumed new roles and responsibilities including supervisor and social services coordinator. In 1981 Kathy was one of three people responsible for the design and implementation of the Gilbough Center, the second program in the nation developed to address the unique needs of people with Prader-Willi Syndrome. With the inception of the Gilbough Center and the implementation of a mentoring program for Latham School students called Options for Independence, the demands for agency-wide regulatory and programmatic accountability increased significantly. Kathy assumed the role as Director of Programs, a position created to address the evolving needs of the agency.
In 1985 Kathy left Latham Centers but returned in 1988 as its first Director of Human Resources and Training. In this position, Kathy developed or revised many of Latham’s personnel policies and practices and instituted the agency’s first comprehensive staff training pertaining to therapeutic crises intervention. 
In 1993, as the agency’s administrative demands increased, Kathy was appointed to the position of Associate Executive Director - a position she held until her retirement in 2003.

PWS Conference News

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:42am
What an amazing week for conferences! Over the weekend I had the honor of speaking at the Ontario PWS Association in Toronto. I met new families and had the pleasure of seeing old friends. The conference presenters were made up of parents, caregivers, physicians, and attorneys all speaking to what matters most- helping our kids succeed.
 
This week I am in Virginia at the National Organization for Rare Diseases conference celebrating 30 years of advocacy and renewed hope offered through the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. What incredible people, dedicating their lives to improving medical care and research for the hundreds of rare diseases that many health professionals ignore. Today is day one and I am looking forward to learning and spreading the word about PWS. 



Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Latham Works: Latham Students Volunteer at Brewster Ladies Library

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 1:55pm

Every Wednesday, Ben, Diane, and Rachel volunteer at Brewster Ladies Library. Over the past five weeks, our students have been cleaning all donated Legos in preparation for the opening of the library’s Lego club on October 25th. Our students also help in shelving books and DVDs; they clean toys for the toddler group and help in many other various library tasks. Our students just always rise to the occasion with their enthusiasm, professionalism, and willingness to learn new skills.






Submitted by:
Fred Walters

TIP of the WEEK: The Trouble with Consequences

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 7:46am

When our kids act out in school or in the community it isn't unusual for people unfamiliar with the syndrome to turn to consequences to correct their behavior. The problem is that negative consequences don't work. Punishments have little to no effect on changing behaviors and can often add anxiety that often cause more of the unwanted behaviors.

 There are four types of consequences:
  • Penalty to LOSE something DESIRED- at best this approach is ineffective. At worst it will trigger stronger behaviors.  
  • Punishment to RECEIVE something UNDESIRED- equally as ineffective.
  • Negative reinforcement to AVOID something DESIRED- there are times where this approach is necessary if the person is not safe enough to engage in the desired behavior but, as a rule, this is not an effective approach.
  • Positive reinforcement to GAIN something DESIRED- this is the most effective for the long and short term. Using positive reinforcement strengthens skills as well as builds stronger relationships.
Remember that all behavior is about communication. When faced with undesired behaviors, offer alternative ways to communicate. It is likely that your child is trying to express  dissatisfaction, feelings of being overwhelmed or confusion or feelings of discomfort.  Use compassion. Ask what the child needs to feel safe.

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

Latham Centers Hosts Federated Church of Orleans on Campus

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 3:27pm
Members of the Federated Church of Orleans recently visited Latham School Campus in Brewster to witness their philanthropic support in action. The Church’s Local Mission Committee recently awarded Latham School with a grant to purchase iPads and accompanying assistive technology “apps” to benefit our students with complex special needs, including learning disabilities. The tour was led by a Latham student who charmed, captivated, and entertained the visitors with stories of classroom activities, and an insider’s peek into the challenges faced and overcome by our students and staff on a daily basis.  Throughout the tour, the Latham Student, guided by Assistant Principal Brittni Taylor and Development Associate Katrina Fryklund, described specific uses of iPad assistive technology from reading apps, to others specifically designed to promote physical fitness, and boost engagement and performance in mathematics and writing.
The members of the Federated Church of Orleans are truly impressed with all that happens at Latham School, including the uses of iPads in the classrooms and the personal testimonials of the day-to-day, life-changing activities at Latham Centers.  We are grateful and appreciative of the Local Mission Committee’s commitment toward advancing our mission to help children with complex special needs to lead abundant and fulfilling lives on Cape Cod.
 Submitted by: Katrina Fryklund

Zulu Nyala - South Africa Photo Safari on Bidding for Good!

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 11:12am

The Latham Centers Bidding for Good Auction closes at 10am tomorrow, Friday October 17th – don’t forget to get your last bids in! After the auction closes the items will be displayed at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club for our 5th Annual Charity Golf Classic Auction on Monday, October 20th. Take a look here at the once-in-a-lifetime, week long, South African Photo Safari experience. While you’re there check out the other 30 items! All proceeds support life-changing programs for our students and adults who call Latham Centers home.

TIP of the WEEK: Surviving Halloween

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 2:40pm


Well it's that time of year again. The trifecta of holidays that focus on food and give all of us anxiety attacks long before the actual event! Halloween gives us nightmares but not for the same reason as the rest of the world. There are some things that we can do to allow our kids a chance to celebrate this holiday without all of the candy that goes along with it.

  • 1. Plan your own party so you have control over the food. There are great recipes online for Halloween themed veggies and fruit trays as well as sugar free punches.

  • 2. If your child's school will not agree to have a candy free classroom celebration then you may have to plan to keep your child home that day. The stress from attending the party may not be worth it. 

  • 3. Older kids may want to participate in handing out treats to the neighborhood kids that come to the house. We have had great results with handing out small bags of Halloween pencils, erasers, plastic rings or any small non-food themed item.
 
The idea is to allow your child to participate as much as possible without asking him or her to be surrounded by candy and food that they cannot have. That doesn't mean that they can't dress up, play games and be a part of the fun with the rest of the kids.


Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services 




MAAPS and Latham School Animal Therapy Featured on NPR

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:27am

Animal therapy is an important focus for many maaps (Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools) member schools. Latham School is a long-time maaps member—a non-profit association of 87 Massachusetts special education private schools which provide over 150 educational programs and services to more than 6,800 students with disabilities. For some Latham students, training to work with miniature donkeys leads them to volunteer and work at Cape Cod animal shelters while reaping many other emotional and social benefits.
Listen in on a recent “The Point” radio segment of WCAI/NPR featuringmaaps Board Vice President and Latham Centers President & CEO Anne McManus discussing Latham School’s unique Asinotherapy program on Cape Cod. She is joined by Larry Sauer, maaps Board President and Vice President of Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover and Braintree. 
The Point, with host Mindy Todd, re-airs tonight at 7pm or listen later by downloading the podcast HERE. 

4 Patriots vs. Detroit Lions Home Game Tickets + a $400 Lucianos Ristorante Gift Card on Bidding for Good Auction!

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 10:01am

We know you never gave up faith on the New England Patriots! Don’t miss out on making your early bids on 4 tickets to the Patriots vs. Detroit home game on November 23rd at 1pm. Then, spoil yourself and your family or friends with this $400 gift card to Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano located in Wrentham, near Gillette Stadium. Don’t forget to browse the other Bidding for Good items as you’re sure to find something else you can’t live without.

TIP of the WEEK: Addressing Hoarding Behaviors

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 9:00am



Hoarding ( sometimes called collecting) is a common PWS behavior. The act of gathering items usually related to a single theme is a behavior that can start very young and can progress to a problematic behavior over time. The longer the person has been allowed to hoard items, the harder it is to stop the behavior. Hoarding gives people a false sense of security which is why removing items or attempting to organize them can be met with strong reactions. The threat of losing items in their collection makes the person feel out of control and can cause an exaggerated response. You may see it as cleaning or rearranging but the person with PWS sees it as a direct threat to their sense of safety and security. 
So what do we do? You see a fire hazard, they see comfort. You see piles of old toys, pieces of paper, empty shampoo bottles (insert any item here) and they see their bounty. It is a fine line because we want to encourage interests and hobbies but want to discourage acquisitions that they will not let go of at any cost. One day you are innocently buying your child a toy fire truck and a few short years later your child's room looks like the warehouse exploded in your child's room. If you are already one step beyond wondering if your child has a hoarding problem, don't fret. There are ways to get your house back from the depths of the hoard.
  • Set a standard for cleanliness. Take a picture of their room in a tolerable condition, if the collection goes beyond what you consider acceptable then items need to be discarded or donated. Doing this will still allow for some collecting but the expectations are clear and predictable as to what you will allow and not allow.
  • Put it to good use. I have known individuals to make jobs out of their hoarding tendencies. One woman collected coupons and made a job out of clipping and sorting for her neighbors. Another woman had a small business recycling cans and bottles.
  • Appeal to their sensitive side. Children will be more willing to part with their hoard if they know that it will be put to good use by people in need. Local libraries will usually accept donations of magazines, local shelters will take clothing, recycling centers will accept newspapers. Doing a good deed for the community or environment could be just the motivation needed to clear out collected items.
  • Online collection sites. There are several web sites that allow for " electronic collecting"- Pintrest, Image Spark, We Heart It ( and dozens more). Encourage this form of collecting. It doesn't take up any space and still allows the person to keep images of the subject that they love. 
Hoarding takes on many forms but is almost always connected to a lack of control over ones life and a need to feel more secure. Look at what areas of your child's life could be lacking in these areas and you will be well on your way to getting a handle on this problematic behavior.

Patrice Carroll Manager of PWS Services
Related Posts:The Trouble with StuffImaginative IncentivesCoping Strategies

Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club overnight package available on Bidding for Good!

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 1:57pm

Learn about our Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club Package on our Bidding for Good site to support the children and adults with complex special needs at Latham Centers. Visit the site soon though, people are already starting to bid on this and all the other exciting packages!

LATHAM PROFILES: Kevin Monteiro, Maintenance Dept.

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 10:11am

LATHAM PROFILES: Kevin Monteiro, 

Maintenance Department

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with a great team and knowing that what we do impacts the lives and well being of residents that live here at Latham.

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


My responsibilities include landscaping, which sometimes involves having the students help with gardening and clean up. Maintenance in general is a big part of my day and we also have the students participate in a “maintenance class”. In a group of three to six students, we will pick up or fix things around the campus.

What skills are most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS?

I believe the ability to listen and show patience is important when working with our students and residents. Being caring and having the willingness to learn about the cause and effects of PWS are important. It is key to know how best to care for individuals with PWS.

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


How to be present in the moment and realize that each resident is different and may require a different approach.

What do you love about working with individuals diagnosed with PWS?

Watching and helping them to achieve goals that are set before them. I also enjoy the teamwork displayed in the groups.

Has this job taught you anything about yourself?

Working at Latham has helped me with my patience and has taught me to put other people’s needs before mine. It has also taught me that I can handle situations that I wasn’t sure I could.

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

Spending time with family and friends and enjoying all that Cape Cod has to offer.

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

I would tell them that working at Latham gives you a great feeling about what you do every day. Working here with the great staff and residents is very rewarding.


Interested in a career at Latham Centers? Click HERE to view our latest job postings.

New items added to Latham Centers Bidding for Good Auction!

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:08pm

Have you checked out the Latham Centers Bidding For Good Auction Recently? Five additional items were added today with more to come next week. Take a look at and bid on the popular Cape Cod Outline necklace, Ocean Edge Golf Package, or the Charming Chatham Overnight Package to name a few – the bids are already rolling in. All proceeds benefit Latham Centers programs for children and adults with complex special needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome.

TIP of the WEEK: Making Friends

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 4:39pm
The number one issue that we hear about from families is their child's lack of friends and meaningful relationships outside of family. This is a great challenge for our kids, especially for those who are often placed in special needs classrooms with children who lack social skills or who shy away from social interaction. Some kids can go for long stretches at a time only interacting with family members or with classmates who cannot reciprocate socially. We commonly hear from parents that their children are typically more comfortable interacting with adults because that is their primary company.

Here are some ideas that can help:



1. Have social skill building time written into your child's IEP. This can mean time out of their classroom as an integrated member of a mainstream classroom or activity at least one time per day. Use your child's strengths and have them join a classroom of typical children for a portion of each day. Having role models for appropriate behavior and wanting to fit in are the best ways of encouraging productive social skills.



2. You need to be a friend to have a friend. This age old saying is still very much true. Due to the tendency to be self-interested it can be difficult to teach the important lessons like generosity, patience, and tolerance but with consistency these skills can be learned. Monitor your child’s interactions with peers and give feedback when you see areas for improvement.



3. Let them get hurt a little. Avoid over protecting their feelings to the point where other kids are afraid to be around them for fear of being constantly corrected. Kids might unintentionally (or intentionally) say something hurtful but let your child be the one to express his or her feelings to their peers.



4. Let your kids pick their friends. You won't like all of their choices but isn't that true for every child? Taking risks, learning through experience, and being let down are what teaches us life's most important lessons. A child who is always kept safe and whose choices are made for him or her is a child that will not grow.



5. Ask for help at first. Your child may not be included initially so ask the other moms to have their kids spend time with your son or daughter. It won't be long until they see that despite your child's disability, they are actually pretty fun to hang out with.



The bottom line is that we often separate our kids with very good reason but in order to make and keep friends we need to let go just a little tiny bit. The rewards will be endless.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll



Derek & I

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 10:23am

I never thought Derek Jeter and I would have something in common but apparently we both decided to retire at the exact same time. This has been a roller coaster kind of week for me. I’m fine until someone asks me about leaving. I can feel the tears welling up and I want to let you all know I am really, really excited about this but at the same time, I am really, really overwhelmed about leaving. I have had the good fortune to work with some truly wonderful mentors here. They were patient with my “know it all” New Jersey attitude and gave me the resources and support needed to become better at my job.

If you told me back in 1982 that I would still be at Latham in 2014 I would have laughed at the idea. Yet, here I am and it has been a remarkable ride. I am thankful for all of the students, individuals and staff that have made my time at Latham so memorable. I treasure all of the drawings and cards you have bestowed upon me and I will remember my nights matching socks as fondly as I do my days on the road marketing this awesome program. I have loved every position I have ever  held here and wish you all the best as Latham continues to grow and offer programs of excellence to children and adults. This has been my home away from home and I will truly miss you all.

Chris Gallant





"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." ~Carol Sobieski

"And they said my child would never..."

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 1:42pm
A touching short film for parents of children born with Prader Willi Syndrome who were told their children would never function with normalcy. These parents prove not only the doctors wrong, but anyone else that said their children would never. Inspiring first hand testimonials from families that have gone through it all and have come out with incredible stories of hope and meaning.


Bidding For Good Auction is NOW OPEN!

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:38pm






Bidding For Good Auction is NOW OPEN! Latham Centers announces the launch of our online auction in conjunction with the Fifth Annual Latham Charity Golf Classic at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club.  The all-day affair takes place Monday, October 20, 2014.  While the tournament is sold out, there is still a fun way for you to participate and shop to benefit Latham Centers. Click here to go to view Latham's Bidding for Good Auction Site!The Online Auction Portion of the Charity Golf Classic is now open through Friday, October 17, 2014 at 10am.  Auction items range from arts and antiques, a South African Photo Safari, golf overnight stays and more surprises to come!  Additional items will be posted to BiddingForGood.com throughout the coming weeks, so be sure to check back often.  Please share this site with your family, friends and community, and let the bidding begin!All proceeds benefit Latham Centers programs for children and adults with complex special needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome.  Winners of any online auction items will be notified on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.  Your contributions will help us to provide life-saving and life-enhancing services and facilities on Cape Cod and beyond.Click here to go to the bid today! Happy shopping!
774-353-9126   |  www.lathamcenters.org   |  info@lathamcenters.org



TIP of the WEEK: Keep Breathing

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 7:54am

We often overlook the benefits of taking deep, mindful breaths. 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 ping 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.
  • Have them blow a feather in the air and using only their breath, see how long they can keep it from touching the ground.
  • Set a timer and slowly extend the time each day until you get to 3 minutes.

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

And they said my child would never...

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:31pm
Parents of children born with Prader Willi Syndrome were told their children would never function with normalcy. These parents prove not only the doctors wrong, but anyone else that said their children would never. Inspiring first hand testimonials from families that have gone through it all and have come out with incredible stories of hope and meaning.

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There’s Hope: Presenting Latham’s PWS Short Feature