Latham Staff Perspectives: Learning at the Prader-Willi Alliance of New York Conference

June 17, 2022

Latham team members pictured: Matt holding up a water bottle on ‘Cheetah Tuesday’ during Staff Appreciation Week; Rob at the Aquarium with his suite; Dr. Sari exploring the Cape on a bike ride; and Taylor during Brewster in Bloom with Luke !

Latham Centers staffers returned from the recent PWANY Conference in Binghamton with new knowledge and insights about Prader-Willi syndrome. Katrina Kozak, Director of National Outreach, asked colleagues to share their favorite parts of the conference and things they learned. Below are four responses, with more on the horizon – stay tuned!

Rob Shedlosky, Residential Supervisor:

The best aspect of the conference was all the knowledge I gained from all the experts about PWS. It was eye-opening to learn from Dr. Angulo about how the body and brain are affected by PWS.

Matt O’Sullivan, Assistant Principal:

Attending this Binghamton Conference was a great first experience for a conference. I was able to join in on multiple sessions to learn about a new aspect of PWS and connect with families to learn about their home lives and their experiences. In the sessions, we learned about sleep issues, virtual communities, fostering independence, and many other informative topics. On top of these sessions, we had a chance to connect with family members that have an individual with PWS in their lives. Getting off campus and connecting with other families not connected with Latham was a great experience and opened us up to a broader PWS community. Leaving this conference left me looking forward to future conferences with the ability to make new connections and to learn more.

Taylor Burns, Assistant Director of Weekend Programming and Staffing:

During the PWANY conference, Cindy Szapacs’ applied behavioral analysis presentation gave us a different way of looking at our students’ behavior. Cindy went over the ABC model, which entailed how to measure, observe, and react to all kinds of behaviors, positive and negative. I was beyond excited to bring this newfound knowledge back to Latham Centers and share it with my colleagues and staff. Understanding behavior is a crucial component of helping individuals with PWS and trauma overcome obstacles that they would not be able to understand by themselves and gives the individual a sense of safety and support. I cannot thank PWANY, Cindy, and all the presenters enough for the plethora of knowledge shared with us!

Dr. Colleen Sari, Psychiatrist:

I attended the medical presentations, which broadened my knowledge base of Endocrine problems (Dr. Angulo) and Orthopedic problems (Dr. van Bosse) for individuals with PWS. It’s not just about Growth Hormone and Back Surgeries! The update on the current clinical trials of possible new treatments (Dr. Meija-Corletto) was instructive and positive. Meeting these medical experts was valuable towards increasing my practice capabilities.

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