LATHAM PROFILES: Holly Hanlon
What is your job? Describe your specific responsibilities and how you spend much of your time.
Holly: “I supervise the Children’s Program Prader Willi houses. I make sure the houses are kept clean and everything is in working order and that the staff have everything that they need to run an activity rich sensory program for our students. I often check in to make sure the staff have the right behavioral tools to deal with our students when they are experiencing a stuck moment. We are in the process now of making sure we have “carrot” incentives to get our students through their difficult behaviors.”
What skills are the most important for professionals who work with individuals with PWS? What are the most important lessons you attempt to teach new staff?
Holly: “Don’t try and have a lengthy conversation with the PWS student that is in a shut down. They will only hear the first 3 words out of your mouth. Make sure those 3 words count and make them appealing and positive.”
“Make sure you offer options that work for you the staff, as well as the PWS individual. The PWS individual needs to be heard, but not over and over again. If they are perseverating and you have answered the question, ask them what you said. This works some of the time.”
“It is not prudent to revisit a particularly bad incident with our PWS students. Once the issue or behavior is over, bringing it up again may start the whole behavior you were trying to avoid up again.”
“It is our responsibility to keep them safe. That means keeping all food items safely out of sight.”
“If there is a change in activities always assure them that their meal will still be given to them at the regular time. Their world revolves around food.”
What do you love about working with individuals with PWS?
Holly: “Their enthusiasm for life. I always marvel at how they are always welcoming to new individuals who visit our program and how exited they are to hear we may be having company.”
What is most helpful to individuals with PWS?
Holly: “Patience, understanding, fairness, respect and your undivided attention.”
What do you do when you are not working at Latham?
Holly: “I’m always working at Latham. On those rare occasions I’m not, you will find me enjoying one of the many beaches on Cape Cod.”
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.
Autograph your work with excellence.”