Finally... LABBB travels back to Disney!
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Interim Executive Director's

To the LABBB Community:
Some thoughts on what is a very busy time of the year here at LABBB . . .
Pam Girouard, LABBB’s incoming Executive Director (as of July 1, 2022) and I have begun the transition process over the past few weeks. Pam has been an active participant in our leadership team meetings, in meetings with central office staff, and is working to create a schedule that will allow her to begin meeting with staff, students and families before the end of the school year. She is making great efforts to learn more about LABBB and the structure of collaboratives, all while finishing up her responsibilities as Administrator of Special Education in Winchester!
Our LABBB Special Olympics will be held on Monday, May 16, 2022 at Lexington High School. We are very excited that our students will have this opportunity to compete for the first time since 2019! Opening Ceremonies are expected to begin at 9:00 a.m. Please plan to join us for this terrific event and to honor a special guest (don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret)!
LABBB graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Monday, June 13, 2022 (middle school) and Thursday, June 9, 2022 (high school). Again, we are very excited that these events will be in-person as we assemble to honor our 2022 graduates!
Hoping that you and your families are enjoying the transition to Spring!

Bill Lupini

Parent meetings for 2021-2022 will take place from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m. on the following dates:
April 28 - LABBB's Annual Transition Fair at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library in Lexington.

May 19 - Forever Parent Presentation

We hope that our parents will be able to attend!

Cradles to Crayons Annual Pajama Drive - LABBB Style
By: Amanda O'Leary
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.  

For the past 14 years, Cradles to Crayons and the Boston Bruins have paired up to collect pajamas for children in need. Cradles to Crayons and LABBB became community partners in September 2021. This year, during the month of March, LABBB joined the fun by hosting a pajama drive at LABBB Lexington High School.
Once a week, four students from room 825 head to Cradles to Crayons with Mrs. O’Leary to volunteer. When the students heard about the pajama drive and the contest attached, they were excited to take part! Cradles to Crayons and the Bruins reward the organization that collects the most pajama donations with a prize. Knowing that LABBB would have some difficulty competing against bigger organizations, it seemed like a good idea to have a friendly competition amongst the LABBB Lexington classrooms, with the prize being a spring pizza party.
Mrs. Langone’s classroom, room 825, was responsible for keeping track of donations and sharing results with the staff in Lexington. Armed with a collection bin and a tally sheet, the students were responsible for making sure each classroom’s donations were accounted for. On Fridays, when able, they would email the results to the Lexington staff. Some rooms went shopping as a class, others brought pajamas in from home.
By the end of March, LABBB Lexington had collected 136 sets of pajamas! Mrs. Langone’s room collected the most pjs, with Ms. Bednarski/Mrs. Farley’s rooms coming in second, and Mrs. Eggers rounding out third place. The students from room 825 delivered the huge donation on March 30th.
LABBB is grateful for the continuous opportunities that Cradles to Crayons offers our students to give back to the community by allowing LABBB to bring volunteer tasks back to Lexington and for also welcoming us each and every Wednesday!
Clinical Corner: Token Economies
By: Nina Riley

Token economies systems are a great tool to add some explicit positive reinforcement to the environment. A token economy is a strategy that uses reinforcement to increase target behaviors by providing generalized reinforcers, or items that have been paired with reinforcement in the past that have now become reinforcing themselves, when specific behaviors occur. These generalized reinforcers can then be turned in for backup reinforcers, or items that are more valuable. They help to reinforce more appropriate replacement behaviors, be a visual reference for students to see how they are doing, and motivate students to actually perform target behaviors. They can also be a useful tool to help remind caregivers and staff to “catch their students being good” and deliver positive reinforcement for behaviors they want to see increase.

Token economies can take the shape of points systems, tokens boards, or marble jars and they can be used with single individuals or a whole class. A token economy system works by having students earn reinforcers, like a point or check mark, for specific target behaviors that can then be turned in for more valuable reinforcers that the student is motivated by. A real world example of this is employees earning money for working that can then be used to pay for a wide range of things.

In a token economy system there is a target number of tokens that students have to earn before they can exchange them for other reinforcers. There are a lot of opportunities for customization within a token economy system and lends itself to being flexible with what
caregivers and teachers prioritize in terms of behaviors to target, and how much value those behaviors are worth. Typically, the higher number of tokens earned can be exchanged for more valuable or a greater number of reinforcers.

Teachers and parents can have fun and get creative with what they use as tokens, and talk to their students about what things they would like to earn in exchange for them. This system can be adapted to a wide range of environments, ages, and abilities and can also be used to teach functional life skills like budgeting or the value of items.
What are executive functioning skills?
Lisa M. Poirier, MS, OTR
The frontal lobe. Executive functions. You may have heard these terms in classes, workshops, meetings or even in the media. They sound fancy and academic, but to simplify, our executive functions are the ability to attend, make decisions, strategize and control our impulses. They are housed by the largest part of our human brains, the frontal lobe. We commonly and frequently use our executive skills for everything that we do from when we wake up in the morning to when we go to sleep at night. To be more specific, it has been explained as an “umbrella term” for a set of skills such as inhibition, attention, time management, working memory, planning/organizing, self awareness, shifting perspectives and problem solving. EF has nothing to do with how “smart” a person is. In fact, IQ is known to measure WHAT a student knows, but EF is HOW a person shows their knowledge. Some people can have a superior IQ, but if they cannot remember to bring in their homework, how to organize an essay, how to ask for help or where to start during a task like laundry or cooking, then success may not be so readily available to them.
As special educators at LABBB, we know that, given the nature of our students, their abilities may be variable and fluctuate between settings and/or situations depending on social, emotional or sensory demands. We can be instrumental in helping them develop strategies to compensate for deficits in these areas. For example, when we give our students a new task, whether that be a new math concept, navigating in a new environment, learning a new vocation, or following an unfamiliar recipe, many need support with establishing the goal of the task (planning), starting it (initiation and organization), monitoring progress (following directions, problem solving), holding information in the brain (working memory) and complete this within an appropriate and realistic time frame (time management). We already use many accommodations such as keeping work areas clean and organized, using alarms, timers, watches, color coded and bold prints, planners, graphic organizers, visual schedules, breaking information down into chunks, self regulation strategies, checklists and to-do lists, to name a few things. We start with keeping in mind strength based learning, that is, starting where the student is most successful. We can provide assistance and modeling then fade to coaching and shadowing with the goal of independence.
April is OT Month. For more information please visit
Mindful Minute written by the LABBB Mind/Body Team


“To find peace in the world, we must find peace in ourselves.” Jack Kornfield 


Mindfulness is associated with emotion regulation across a number of studies. Mindfulness creates changes in the brain that correspond to less reactivity, and better ability to engage in tasks even when emotions are activated.
Find the research articles at:
Building Students’ Soft Skills
By: Alicia Dessanti

We often think about the skills needed to do a specific job, or what is known as the “hard skills”, and sometimes forget about the equally important “soft skills”. Soft skills are personality traits, behaviors, and habits that are desired by all employers and are not specific to a given job. Work ethic, communication, flexibility/adaptability, enthusiasm/attitude, problem solving, time management, and professionalism are all “soft skills”. “Soft skills” are developed in many
environments including the classroom, community, and home.

LABBB classrooms are constantly helping students develop these skills during tasks such as: academic work, social skill group, functional living skills group, executive functioning work, and group projects.

The Transition Department also works carefully with students to develop these skills. We initially focus on manners, hygiene, attire, and demonstrating expected behavior during students’ community experiences. Asking for help, work ethic, professionalism, time management, and teamwork are
also emphasized depending on the student’s strengths/weaknesses.

At home there are several ways students can work on these skills. Here are a few suggestions:

● Assign chores and responsibilities (e.g., taking out the trash, doing dishes, cleaning, vacuuming, helping to wash the car, gardening, unloading groceries) to build work ethic.
● Help your student decide what clothes are appropriate for their day (consider dress code and/or school activities such as swimming or a walk uptown). Picking out clothes the night before or even picking out a week’s wardrobe can help reduce morning chaos.
● Encourage a consistent morning routine including ample time for dressing, brushing teeth and hair, styling hair, etc. Encourage use of the mirror to check appearance.
● Include your student in errands to develop teamwork, communication and expected behavior within the community, and exposure to jobs in a variety of settings.
● When your student is struggling with something, wait for them to ask for help or prompt them to do so rather than immediately helping them. This develops self-advocacy.
● Support your student to manage their time as independently as possible. Have them set an alarm to wake up in the morning and to leave the house on time for family events.

LABBB at Chenery Middle School
By: Liz Steele

Ms. Colleen Finn, of Chenery Middle School had a special treat for her students - real, live baby chicks.
When they arrived at school on April 12th, the students were greeted with three Easter-eggers, which are a breed of chickens that lay unique, blue eggs. A wave of “awws” echoed the classroom as the students laid eyes upon the growing chicks. Students held the peeping chicks as they beamed with smiles.
Students learned about the chicks’ development; one day they only had blood vessels, the next day a brain, then over the next few days the
students discussed how the growing chicks developed heartbeats and kicking legs. In twenty one days the chicks are hatched. “Amazing,” the students exclaimed, looking at the small birds in their arms.   
“It is great to see the kids so excited,” said Ms. Terry Cox. “It has been wonderful, and I cannot wait to do this again next year!”
LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

After two years and five postponed dates, the LABBB Disney trip finally happened. The first meeting of staff and parents was filled with old friends meeting for the first the time in 2 years and they had lots to catch up on. Students were more and more excited as the trip came closer to departure.
On the morning of March 22, young adults (who may not like getting up in the morning) were at Logan airport for 5:00AM, ready for their adventure. After arriving in Orlando, and checking in to Port Orleans, Riverside, the group caught a bus to Animal Kingdom. Dinner was at Rain Forest Café, just outside of the Animal Kingdom gates. We had a tired bunch heading back to Port Orleans after the busy day. 
Everyone was at breakfast before 8:00 and ready for their adventure to Magic Kingdom. Each group tried to hit as many rides as they could during the day. We had dinner at Horseshoe Review in Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom. Some groups decided to stay for the great fireworks display. 
Breakfast on Thursday was at 7:30 in order to get an early start at Hollywood Studios. The group spread out in order to allow everyone an opportunity to do what they wanted. Dinner was at Boatwright, a restaurant right at the hotel. We even had a surprise guest. Eric, an alum from LABBB, joined us for dinner. He now lives just 6 minutes away from Disney. 
Friday was an early start again in order to get to EPCOT. The goal was for everyone to get to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride. Dinner was at House of Blues in Disney Springs, with a little shopping after. Everyone was somewhat disappointed that they had to go back to pack up for their departure from Disney. 
Once again, this group was up and ready to board the bus back to Orlando Airport and head back to Boston. The group had a great time and did so much in the parks that they had very little time to relax poolside on the trip, but some were able to squeeze it in. 
After a very successful 2022 trip, planning begins for the LABBB 2023 Disney trip. Can’t wait!

Save the Date for upcoming events:

April 6: Start date for Wednesday Walking and Glee Groups
April 28: LABBB Spring Dance in person at Lexington
                        Community Center
April 28: Transition Fair, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum,
Lexington (6:30 PM - 8:30 PM)
May 16: Special Olympics all day at Lexington High Track
May 19: LABBB May dance in person at Lexington Community Center and Parent Night Presentation of "Forever Parent" with Patric Barbieri
June 2: LABBB Alumni Dance via zoom 6:30 – 7:30PM
June 9: LABBB Graduation, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum

To view the sign up sheets for the 2021/2022 school year Recreation Activities please Click here

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter
Updated LABBB Brochure

Click here or on the image to view the new LABBB brochure.

Executive Director, Patric Barbieri, Hosts a Podcast talking about special needs planning and resources related to our community

In episode #22 we talk about our journey in building a mindful culture in LABBB. It is one of our core values that is posted throughout our collaborative. There is a significant difference between just talking about these practices and actually doing them. We made a commitment to offering mindful practices for all students in all our classrooms every single day. We also believe for us to be successful we need to offer and teach this to our staff as well. We are a community practicing together and this is the only way to get the true benefits. We have been fortunate to have many staff persons who have a myriad of unique mind-body skills to bring into our environments for both students and staff. 

This initiative started organically back in the early '90s. We realized that these practices have a significant impact on managing the pervasive anxiety symptoms that people are feeling. Our mission was to bring these practices directly into our schools and for staff and students to know they have permission to practice at any time. When one individual is practicing it is benefiting their entire community!

Rayne Pratt and Lisa Poirier, LABBB Occupational therapists, join me in this podcast. They are members of our LABBB Mind/Body team and they are also the creators and facilitators of our all-day staff retreat that we offer. 


LABBB Contacts
LABBB Collaborative
123 Cambridge Street, Burlington MA. 01803|