November 2016

The LABBB Collaborative

Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs     

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

Inclusive Business Opportunities

If you did not have a chance to attend our High School / Vocational Open House a few weeks ago, the video on the left is a short glimpse into many of the LABBB worksites that we offer. Click on the youtube link and it will take you through some of our worksites. 

In the past 42 years, LABBB has developed many long standing relationships with companies where our students have worked and gained valuable experience. LABBB had a worksite at Polaroid for over 30 years until they went out of business. We also worked at Honeywell-Bull for over 30 years and remained with them as they went through some changes from "Honeywell  to Honeywell-Bull, to just "Bull" and finally to "Loral." We also have been at Lahey Clinic for over 30 years. We currently have about 15 different worksites. We are looking to expand, and we need the help of the LABBB Community. 
In the 80's and 90's, LABBB used an "Enclave" model in the businesses where we worked. In this model, we would bring about 10-12 students to the worksite, split them up into small groups, and they performed many different jobs within the company. We fulfilled an important function for the organization. Not only was this a win-win situation, the relationship between LABBB and the company had many other beneficial outcomes. This model started to change as businesses started to change. It was difficult for them to support an enclave model and we started to look and expand into other options for students.
The opportunities we have to train our students while being in an inclusive business environment is the best model possible for acquiring and transferring skills. When we demonstrated to a company what our students could do, they gave us more opportunities within the organization. As this relationship evolved, the benefit was to our students. It wasn't just about the work, it was about the relationships we were building. Some of these companies sponsored fund raising events for LABBB. Honeywell-Bull sponsored both a road race and a martial arts tournament for many years. This brought people from the community to support LABBB, and this partnership continued to grow.
The opportunity for our students to be competitively employed as an outcome, will be maximized by training in the most inclusive business settings possible. This is similar to the way opportunities for our students to live independently will be maximized by going away to overnight camp every year. I explained the importance of going to camp in a past article. 

The best training for a student to be able to successfully transition to a group home or a group living situation will be by being immersed in these inclusive settings. There is not a program that can create or mimick its own "inclusion" setting other than actually being in these settings. 
When the opportunity to transition into a group home becomes available, it is now real, and the student will need to have been exposed; had a chance to get used to being with unfamiliar peers, working together, and solving problems. The students are not going to be living in a home with the people that they go to camp with, but that is not important. So, what "skills" do they learn? Confidence, Getting over fear of being away from home, how to solve your own problems, and much, much more.
What is the best training for a student to be most successful in a job? Being immersed in an inclusive business setting! There is no substitute. It is not only the "skills" of the job, it is being around other people and getting along. We can't emphasize this enough. Each work environment and culture is quite different, even if you are doing the same skill. If the student can do the skill, the question is, can they survive in the culture. Can they be connected? Is it meaningful? What makes all this happen? The ability to connect with people.
To the LABBB Community, we have over 40 years of experience teaching students in inclusive business settings. What we need is the help of our communities to give our students more opportunities. If you have connections to a business that will give our students the opportunity to learn and grow, please contact us. It benefits everyone!  

Happy Thanksgiving.


YOGA: Beyond The Pose
By: Tori Dennis

The mindfulness movement has taken our classrooms by storm, and how great!  Schools across the country are bringing yoga and mindful practice into the classroom.  Students are given time during their day to think freely, breathe, and move their bodies with intention. 

That said, the idea of this "new movement" can feel unfamiliar to some.  It can be intimidating to teach your students something that is new, perhaps foreign, and likely challenging to you.  Yoga is more than a series of poses.  There are 8 limbs in the yogic philosophy, asana, the physical practice, being only one.  The link below is an article from Yoga Journal that breaks down each limb.  When I read this article as a yoga teacher, it made the most sense.  However, as I read it with the lens of a classroom teacher, I was more perplexed.  How do I support my students to access the 8 limbs? Furthermore, how do I support them to embrace the practice independently, and with free will!  Then it came to me... spiral it down.  Much like we do curriculum, find the "entry" and "access" points in yoga.

As I sifted through the article, I found it helpful to view the "suggestions" as possible ways to partake in each limb. We are already doing some of these things.  We teach our students to interact in kind and expected ways with others, this is yoga.  We teach students to care for themselves, this is yoga.  We strive to support and induce a feeling of integrity and self worth in all of our students, this is yoga.   
Yoga's eightfold path, and what that translates to in all of our daily lives, is vast and completely unable to be captured in a few short paragraphs.  I hope you enjoy the article, and feel empowered to find creative ways to share and teach our students. 
In the meantime, here are some ideas for the physical asana to support ALL students to move, stretch, breathe, and make space, energetically and physically. 

1. Don't know the poses? No worries.

You don't have to know all the different "postures" to practice yoga.  To maintain a healthy spine, one must move in 6 different ways daily.  How can you guide students through stretches that move their spine? (forward and back, side to side, twisting left and right).  For students with physical disabilities, get creative, they can be seated, or lying down.  **Safety first** Always consult a Specialist if you are unsure/need support to move a child.  We want to make sure movement feels GREAT and is safe for EVERY BODY!
2.  Read your audience.

What type of music (if any) do your students enjoy?  Would they benefit from instrumental /meditative music?  Or do they really enjoy some Justin Beiber?  Play music based on your students' preferences (or none at all!).  This will further support them to want to engage.  Some of the most uplifting classes I have taken were Hip-Hop Yoga, and yoga with live music!!  Don't feel barred by specifics.  When it comes time for rest, or Shivasana, either turn the music off, or try something soft.


3. Behaviors...


They happen.  How can you best support students who see "yoga" as another demand?  Try yoga from a chair, or standing at a table, it doesn't have to be on a mat.  For students who may become confused by being asked to repeatedly stand up, and sit down, be mindful of your sequencing.  Do all the sitting postures first, and then move to standing postures.  Your purpose will get lost in translation with too many directions.  Try to simplify whenever possible.  Use pictures, and better yet, model!   Rotating through small groups can work great, and keep your classes short.

4."At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou


The power we have as teachers is immeasurable.  Even if none of this newsletter article spoke to you, or you still don't really feel comfortable with some concepts, who cares.  The power we have is in our ability to give, to teach, and to be kind, whatever shape that takes is beautiful.

New Volunteer Opportunities Around Town
By: Tim Callahan, Annmarie Linehan
The Vocational Department is pleased to announce a new partnership with Bina Farm Center in Lexington.  LABBB students will perform many volunteer activities, such as providing hay and water to the horses, cleaning tack room items, such as saddles, with saddle soap, raking stones in the riding areas, and gardening  and harvesting during the spring and summer months.

Bina Farm is a non-profit organization that offers comprehensive Therapeutic Horseback Riding and recreational activities and brings together individuals with and without special needs. It offers Equine-assisted activities and therapies, vocational training programs, and creative and complementary therapies for children and adults with physical, developmental, and emotional challenges. Their goal is to help individuals thrive personally and make their best contribution towards the communities in which they live. 

In another new adventure, LABBB will begin providing recycling services to the town of Lexington in several of its public buildings, such as:  the Department of Public Works/Public Facilities, the Lexington Community Center, Town Hall, and School Administration building, etc.  We are thankful to Manny Cabral, the Superintendent of Custodial Services for Lexington, for assisting us in this effort to provide students with hands-on activities that offer education about the benefits of recycling to the environment.

LABBB students have also recently begun an internship program at CVS. We have been warmly welcomed by CVS staff and customers. A vocational supervisor, along with a CVS staff person, offers support and training to four students in a local store. While there, our students are learning the task of facing and restocking shelves.

Our Copy Center at Minuteman High School is now up and running.  LABBB students are completing photocopy projects for teachers and administrators and have recently acquired a new task of performing mail sort and delivery.

We look forward to other exciting upcoming opportunities at  Brightview Country Club Heights, a retirement community, where students will perform activities for the Food Service Department, the Activities Department, and the Maintenance Department.

Care One in Lexington is a newly renovated nursing facility for patients in need of short or long term rehabilitation or medical services. LABBB students may have the opportunity to work in the Activities Department and also visit patients.

LABBB is also discussing possible opportunities with the Lexington Police Chief Corr. This could involve expanding our recycling program, as well as internal mail sort and delivery and recycling.

Class Voting
By: Melissa Allen & Dennis Goguen

This week, at Lexington High, classroom 825 participated in a mock election.  For the last month, students were introduced to the election process.  This included vocabulary, the 2 main parties, filling out a mock voter registration application and creating 2 mini-books entitled "Presidential Election 2016" and "Cast Your Vote".  All students enjoyed the process throughout, especially actually fulfilling their duty as they voted.  Next week we will determine if our class results match our nation's results!!

Ottoson Apple Picking Trip
By: Peggy Sheehan
Students from the the LABBB/Ottoson Middle School classroom had a great time on our annual apple picking field trip at the George Hill Orchard.  We started with a hayride through the orchard.  Besides picking some apples to take home, we took a walk through the "Tree-mendous Maze" where we looked for some things that help apples grow, and some things that make it harder for apples to grow.  We also had a chance to use an old-fashioned cider press and make apple cider.  It was a beautiful day to spend at the orchard.

Music Research Study with Harvard University

LABBB Music Partnership With Amplifi
LABBB is currently partnering with Amplifi to provide more music to our students. For anyone interested in learning more about Amplifi please see below. 

What is Amplifi?

Amplifi classes are inclusive music & theater classes for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The goal of Amplifi is to enhance the life experience of those with needs through music enrichment. 

With unique curriculum designed for those who are both verbal and non-verbal, students will collaborate to write an original musical composition that they will stage and choreograph, culminating in an exciting live performance for family and friends!  Students will also participate in music/rhythm/movement/and theater activities that improve social skills, cognitive performance, expression of language, self-confidence, and overall joy and happiness! Every class session culminates in celebrations of successes of the day.  

Unlike adaptive sports or music therapy, amplifi programming is first and foremost educational. Yet, the programs do have both recreational and therapeutic attributes that are an inevitable byproduct of amplifying the voices of those with needs.  In short...

"W e don't give our students a voice, we give them a microphone."

Classes at Real School locations:
To register: email or call  844.607.3224

Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
Access Recreation Boston Fall conference just took place, and people always leave with new ideas, places to go and things to do.  It is also about making connections with other programs and looking at what they have to offer for current LABBB students and for our post twenty-two year old LABBB graduates.

Belmont Sport is a great sports resource for families looking for more activities for their students on weekends and evenings. 

Burlington Recreation Department has new programs for our current students and graduates.   Director, Laurel Rossiter, is excited about her programs and is looking for more people to sign up.

EMARC's Recreation Director, Joe Desjardins, and I met again this year and he is always looking to provide services.  EMARC services people from the Burlington, Reading, Danvers areas, as well as few other towns in the area.  Check it out and email Joe at:

N.E. ARC's Director, Adam Quinn, services clients from the Gloucester area.

I had the opportunity to speak with Laurel, Joe, and Adam at an Access Recreation Boston conference.  They are young, have lots of energy, and want to have their programs grow. 

LABBB has also had Real School Of Music join some of our LABBB classes during the day.  They also offer a variety of programs after school.  Some of our students have joined those and love them.  A 6:00PM class on Wednesday's is at risk of being cancelled because of lack of students signing up, please take a look at the class.  It may be something for your  student.

There's a wings for autism event at Logan airport coming up on November 7th. 
The click here for details.

Recreation Resource links:

Along with recreation activities at LABBB, we often receive information regarding other recreational activities that are going on in other communities.  Check these out at their websites.  

If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

Recreation Brochure 2016-2017

Parent Resources and Events
  • S chool Cancellation Policy: 
    All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.
    • Alternative Leisure (ALCS), Bedford, Drew Bilillies: or 781-275-0023
    • Newton Therapeutic Recreation w/ Newton Athletes Unlimited, NewtonMark Kelly: or 617-796-1527
    • Burlington Therapeutic Recreation, Burlington, Laurel Rossiter: or 781-270-1937
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About Us
LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615