The LABBB Collaborative
  January 2016
LABBB Saturday morning Destination Group Visits Patriots Hall!
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Have you seen the poster How to Build a Community by Karen Kerney? It came out about 15 years ago. If you have a chance, Google it, and take a look, it is very inspiring. I write and talk about community quite a bit because I realize that our future is supported by what we create around us and we need to do this for our students for a successful future.

Many parents are anxious when they think about the day their son or daughter will graduate. You don't need to be fearful of the future if you have the resources that will guide and support you. When we hold our graduation, I have very mixed emotions about the future of our students. This is all we can do, I think. It's over? I don't think this way anymore, I just look at our work as a continuum of support. We will always be here and we need to constantly look at putting time into building the LABBB Community. When we refer to the LABBB community we are referring to both the current and future graduates of LABBB. 

I have a vision for LABBB to build an adult service program. Our mission and philosophy is aligned with providing these services, and it is another way of building community post 22. 

Last week I had a visit with parent whose son graduated a few years ago. We discussed an opportunity he is initiating for LABBB students. This parent was a bit nervous because he did not have experience coordinating these projects, but he reached out to ask if we would be interested. Of course, I was very intrigued, and we met for about an hour to discuss the next steps. This parent was very motivated to make this happen and I was happy he thought of LABBB as a partner in this project.
The best part about our conversation was how much this parent still wanted to be involved in the LABBB community and he spoke about the mission of LABBB like he was a staff person! It was a natural conversation about our community. This parent understood our mission, he lived it, and he knew that this connection would align with the experience his son had attending LABBB. We also spoke about what it was like for him now that his son has graduated, and his goals for the future. 
I can tell you many stories of parents connecting to the LABBB community over the years. This is how we have been able to acquire many of our worksites. This is how many students have been placed in group homes, and this is how our students fulfill their belonging need. Our students need a community to stay connected with after graduation. 
When I began writing this article I was thinking about "Crowdsourcing." Crowdsourcing is mostly associated with on-line collaboration, but I think of the similarities, spirit and actions of crowdsourcing to build and sustain a community. These actions are simply a community making small contributions to the greater result.
The advantage that we have is that the LABBB community has never not stopped existing after 22. We are in touch with many students and parents after gradation; we have our LABBB reunion dance, and we have students living together in group homes. 
I will continue to give examples in our newsletter of connections that have benefited students and parents. I hear and experience stories of these connections every year. If we continue to "crowdsource", we build a stronger community. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By: Stephen Goodwin
With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday observance quickly approaching, I circle back often to a quote by Dr. King that I posted in every classroom/school I have ever worked in: 
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"
                         -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

It is very easy to get caught up in our own thoughts each and every day.  I am guilty of this all the time.  King's words and actions are a constant reminder that a life well spent is one in which helping and giving to others is at the center.  When it comes down to it, each and every day there is an opportunity to do this no matter what your station is in life.  To quote from Jon Stewart's incredible speech about Bruce Springsteen at 2009's Kennedy Center Honors, "Whenever I see Bruce Springsteen, he 'empties that tank', everytime".  

As we transition to a new year, it is time again to remember to "empty the tank" in our collective effort to make the LABBB classrooms at Chenery (for that matter all LABBB classrooms) a more enriching educational experience for all students each and every day. Thanks for your help in this worthwhile goal.  Dr. King's sentiments remain a worthy goal for all of us.  

The Clinical Corner - The Power of Praise
By: Lisa Gurdin
Positive feedback is powerful. It makes us feel appreciated and motivated to continue doing whatever it was we were doing at the time we were praised. Research supports the use of teacher praise and positive interactions in the classroom to improve both academic performance and behavior.  Behavior-specific praise and encouragement are also powerful in the home environment. Parents can support their children by acknowledging their positive behaviors as well as their efforts. Saying things like "I like the way you did that" and "I know you are working hard to keep it together right now. How can I help you?" can show children that parents notice and value their children's attempts to do the right thing. These comments can also motivate children to repeat those behaviors in the future.

Here are some ways we can use positive feedback to tip the scale to increase wanted behaviors while decreasing behaviors that interfere with children's optimal functioning in the community and home settings.

  • Statements as well as written praise statements and nonverbal positive feedback. Nonverbal feedback can be high fives, thumbs up, or giving tallies or points as part of a reinforcement system. Also think about the child's preference for praise that is delivered publicly versus praise that is given quietly and not in front of others.

  • Make it a Habit - Decide that you are going to increase your positive feedback and make it a habit! Start by identifying the behaviors you would like to increase. For example, you may want to praise participation in a bedtime routine, or transitioning without protesting. 
  • Set a goal for the number of encouraging statements you'd like to give to your child during a particular time of day, such as bedtime. Keep track of those statements by making a tally on a piece of paper or on your phone. Focus on this with your family members for a period of time, such as one or two weeks.
  • Use Behavior-Specific Praise - When you deliver praise, do so immediately when you see a wanted behavior occur and name it specifically. Rather than saying "Good job" say "Great job working on those math problems even though they were challenging." Or, "Good job asking for help" or "You used a calming strategy, excellent job."
  • Ignore Unwanted Behavior - When you observe unwanted behavior, such as mild disruption, you can ask a question or offer to help the child with something. Avoid saying, "Stop doing that." And, instead, say, "Can I help you with something?" or distract the child by asking a question about a preferred topic or asking him/her to help with doing a preferred task. Then, provide positive feedback as soon as you see the student doing something you want them to do.
  • Praise Efforts and Use of Strategies - Focus on praising a child's efforts to do the right thing and for working on given tasks, rather than on completing tasks. Remember to provide positive feedback for attending, following directions, using appropriate social skills, and using a strategy.  
  • Use a Variety of Praise Methods - Consider what type of praise will reinforce and motivate your child and use a variety of methods. Such methods may include verbal praise.  You will see that your increased praise and encouragement corresponds to your child's overall improvement!
Our 2015 Holiday Charity Project a Huge Success!
By: Melissa Allen
                                                    The students and their families in the Lexington High Allen/Goguen classroom helped to make our Citizenship and Charity units truly remarkable ones. For the months of November and December we have been talking about our responsibility as citizens in our class, school, town, state, country and the world. We have also discussed how being charitable in these environments is part of being a good citizen.  Not only did the donations for our holiday charity project exceed the past year by almost double the amount, but the students were so excited to give in order to help those less fortunate. The unbelievable total of $482.00 allowed the class to purchase personal care items, toys and cleaning supplies for over 25 homeless families currently living in a hotel in Bedford, MA. All students were able to participate in the execution of this project by either shopping for the items and/or organizing/filling the buckets with the personal care items and cleaning supplies that we bought.  We filled 25 buckets with 13 items and even put some bags of toys together for the kids. Ann Guay, who helps run this charity, came to pick up the buckets and spoke to the class about how much their donations will help these families.

We also helped a little girl named Safyre, who lost her family in a fire and is suffering herself from burns on three-fourths of her body. This was not primarily through monetary donations, but by sending cards to honor her holiday gift request of receiving cards from around the world. We sent her cards and a "scratch map" to allow her to scratch off all of the places around the world from each place she received the cards.

Each year, our charity project is such a wonderful way to be part of the true meaning of the season, but this year was especially meaningful in our class. The students exceeded expectations in their drive and enthusiasm to give the most that they could to aid in our cause. Rousing applause in the class for every donation, no matter how big or small, in addition to watching the excitement on the students' faces as we continued to surpass our initial donation goals were a sight to see. Despite all of our own daily challenges, the students in room 825 continue to be an inspiration to all of us through their gift of giving, hard work and unyielding spirit. What a great way to end the year 2015 and to look positively ahead to 2016. Have an inspiring and Happy New Year!

New England Disabled Sports
A message from:
New England
LINCOLN NH, 03251 
OFFICE: 603 745 9333

Dear Coaches & Volunteers:

As a result of a golf tournament held by Brait Builders from Marshfield, MA this past summer (Bob Brait, VP), New England Disabled Sports is a recipient of over $50,000 to be used for year round programming that supports our mission.
Twenty thousand ($20,000) of this donation was specifically ear-marked by Bob & Michele Brait to provide scholarship opportunities for children/adults living with Autism. 

The scholarship provides 2 nights free lodging at the Mountain Club, free rental equipment, free lesson fees, free ski ticket and a $100 gift card towards food expenses. The two nights lodging can be on the weekends and/or weekdays depending on the student's availability. Family members/caregivers accompanying the student provide for their own lessons/equipment, etc.

To be eligible for this program it should be the student's first time skiing with NEDS.

We are asking you (our coaches and volunteers) to spread the word regarding this wonderful opportunity and recruit new students through your extensive network of friends and family.

The objectives of this scholarship are:


1. Increase awareness of adaptive sports opportunities available for individuals with Autism


2. Provide an opportunity for individuals with Autism to participate in adaptive snow sports in a safe and supportive environment.


3. Create opportunities for families of individuals with Autism to engage in outdoor sports together.


Jack Daly will be acting as the point-of-contact for this great program.
For more information or to refer a family, please contact Jack at:
Cell: (603) 348-6555 or at his home: (603) 745-2329.

Supporting the LABBB Community
The Burke's
Dear LABBB Community: 

Once you are a part of LABBB you are part of the LABBB community for Life. We want to share the news about a family who had two daughters that attended LABBB. You many have seen the Burke's, who live in Belmont, on the news speaking about their San Filippo Foundation, as there have been a few special edition segments about them.  

If you have a chance please take a look at the links below. 

Holiday Appreciation
By: Jeff Caritey

To show our appreciation, LABBB students at Arlington High School made chocolate covered pretzels for the over 15 community employers who provide amazing work opportunities for our students. In addition to these employers, students also delivered these gifts to every school that houses our LABBB classes, as well the Special Education offices of each of our five member districts. Needless to say, this was a huge project. In making over 400 pretzels, our students and staff researched ingredients, shopped for the items, prepped the kitchen, followed detailed instructions, packaged and then delivered with a smile!  This project provided students with a great goal and functional purpose, as well enhanced the holiday spirit. The opportunities that these employers and our school districts provide for our students gives us much to be thankful for.  Happy Holidays!  We wish everyone a Happy New Year!

EMARC Snow Ball Dance

Date: Friday, February 5th   (ages 13 - 22) 

Time: 7:30  9:30 p.m.

Location: Parker Middle School  45 Temple St                                                                             Reading, MA 01867

You are cordially invited to the 10th annual Snow Ball Dance! This semi - formal dance is an inclusive function with volunteers from Reading Memorial High School, North Reading High School and Malden High School.  We will be 'moving up' our 22 year olds to adult programming at the end of this dance around 9:30 p.m.; we hope you can come to celebrate them!  Attendants are invited and welcome; Supervision is provided. Please RSVP online, make sure you  check out  of the system so your name is added to the list. You can also call or email to register, but showing up at the door makes it difficult for us to plan for supervision!

Payment is accepted at the door or online.  RSVP BY FRIDAY, 
January 22nd!

Lumina Salon in Reading will again be providing complimentary hair and nail services by appointment.

Call Sharon at 781 - 944 - 9909 to book your  appointment 
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
January is the time in the Recreation Department to reflect on the start of the school year and gear up for the rest of the year and summer programming.
We have one of the biggest trips of the year coming up.  This started last year and has grown even bigger.  The Best Buddies Celtics Game at TD Garden.  Last year we had 70 students attend, this year we are looking at surpassing that number. 
We also had two new activities start this year, PLAYBILL and Saturday Destination Trips.  The group for Saturday Destinations have been to Enchanted Village, Yankee Candle, Turkey Gobbler race and to King Richard's Faire.  The PLAYBILL group has seen Cinderella, Livingston Taylor, Don McLean, Vienna Boys Choir, and a Christmas Carole, with more shows to come in the next few months.  We have been having a good time on these outings and expect these groups to grow next school year.
We have done skydiving in the past, and this February we are trying out a new place, Altitude Park in Billerica, to go on trampolines and do some rock climbing. 
In March, the bowling and Wednesday Recreation programs will start up again. 
Please look in your mailboxes in January for the registration forms to arrive for the February trips and the spring programs in March.  


If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!
Parent Resources and Events
School Cancellation:  All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.


The next LABBB PAC meeting is:

When:   Thursday, January 21, 2016 
Where:  The Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road
Time:     6:45 pm to 8:30 pm

Topic:  The use of AAC Devices and Supporting Pragmatic Language Development

We welcome our LABBB Speech and Language Pathologists, Jenn Malenchini and Matthew Bowers, who will present on the variety of tools, strategies and approaches for helping students across the collaborative develop effective communication.
Get Involved in Research at Boston University!
By: Helen Tager-Flusberg

On December 18th, right before the holiday season, I had the chance to talk to some
parents about our ongoing studies on language impairments in children, adolescents and young adults. Our work looks at brain systems and behavior, trying to understand what goes awry in children with autism or language disorders, including reading difficulties.

Our research has the potential to lead to new interventions and teaching strategies
that might build on strengths of individual children and target specific problems
that we have identified in our studies, which we conduct in collaboration with
colleagues at BU and other local Universities, including MIT and Harvard.

The studies take place at BU (or MIT) and usually require about 1 to 3 visits for
which you and your children receive compensation and prizes! We schedule these
visits at any time that is convenient for you. We'd love you to get involved
-especially if you have a child or adolescents with autism, language problems or
dyslexia! To find out more, please visit our website, or call us
today at 617-358-5910!
Communication and Contacts Links
About Us
LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615