LABBB Recreation Activity
Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Executive Director's

Dear LABBB Community,

Happy New Year! The time of the year when resolutions are made and goals are recalibrated! New Year's resolutions offer opportunities for all of us to learn something new, work on a behavior/skill and to try new things! I was reading an article from about New Year’s Resolutions. This article compares these resolutions to SMART goals that are seen in IEPs, an interesting comparison for sure! They further discuss relevance as a key component to achieving this resolution. This resonated with me. I often set goals for myself at the start of each school year in September. My New Year’s resolutions allow me to rethink and reflect where I am at with my goals. My resolutions always have a beginning idea, but is my resolution achievable? Goals allow for reflection, advocacy, awareness and self - control; encouraging and sharing this experience with others can be powerful and meaningful.

Perhaps a conversation with your child about resolutions and goals and their relevance are good talking points for the start of the New Year!

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all in the LABBB Community!

With gratitude,

Parent meetings for the 2022-2023 school year will take place from 7:00 to 8:15 pm on the following dates:

January 19, 2023 - A Legal Look at Age of Majority
February 9, 2023
March 9, 2023
April 27, 2023
May 18, 2023

We hope that our parents will be able to attend; all are welcome. These meetings are held at the Lexington Community Center (39 Marrett Rd, Lexington, MA).

Additionally, the LABBB Transition Fair will be held on Thursday, April 27, 2023- more details soon!

Transition Dept. - LABBB Burlington High School Students Volunteering at People Helping People
By Skip Avery

We are proud to have People Helping People as one of our Community Partners. Their purpose is to establish and sustain a community wide effort to help meet the basic needs of residents of Burlington, MA. They are located at 21 Murray Ave, Burlington MA.

Their Mission and Purpose are written below and fit nicely with LABBB’s. Once a week, students from our LABBB Burlington High School program volunteer to help organize the Food Pantry with Mr. Dipaolo, LABBB Community Instructor. They do a great job, are valued volunteers, and enjoy being part of the People Helping People Team and serving the Burlington community.  

Opportunities such as volunteering at People Helping People give our students the chance to practice important soft skills that Mr. Walsh and the staff teach daily, such as Executive Functioning Skills (one's ability to plan, organize, and follow through)

Our 5 Essential Skills:
1. Follow Directions
2. Attention to Details
3. Information Gathering
4. Critical-Thinking 
5. Communication (Listening being most key)

Excellent job, LABBB Burlington High School team, and thank you Austin, Owen and Mr. Dipaolo for helping such a wonderful cause!

As a community, we strive to address the needs of those who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances. Please consider volunteering your time to help make our programs a success.

Our purpose is to establish and sustain a community-wide effort to help meet the basic needs of residents of the Town of Burlington, thereby strengthening the community as a whole.

86% of donations collected go directly to support Burlington residents in urgent financial situations. People Helping People operates solely on donations.
By: Jessica Sherwood
The students of Mr. Bernardo’s class have been busy creating beautiful snowflakes! The Cary Memorial Library reached out to ask our students to help make 3D snowflakes to decorate the library. The students practiced their folding, cutting, taping, and stapling skills in order to create these masterful creations worthy of display in an ice palace! You can find the snowflakes on display at the library this week.
Bedford LABBB Holiday Happenings!
By: Susan Good

Happy New Year! 

We hope that you are all doing well and staying healthy in this new year! We are sure trying to in our classrooms! Looking back at the last four months of 2022, we have created fond memories of fun and exciting activities. Starting with September, we returned to a new school year. We were ready to learn again with our teachers and friends, old and new! September and October somehow manage to go by in a snap! Before we knew it, Halloween had come and gone, and we were bustling into the holiday season! All did not happen without some exciting learning, so the teachers say! 

As a class, when we reflected on our favorite academic lessons as the new year was approaching, hands down, our weekly reading of The Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements (2000) was the favorite! It is the story of a fifth grader, Jack Rankin, who takes revenge on his father for embarrassing him at school. After Jack’s plan backfires, he gets to know his father as a real person rather than as just his school’s janitor. We will most certainly miss Jack Rankin and his mischievous behavior, but we are sure his Perfect Crime, conflicts, and the lessons learned about his dad will live on in our classroom and in our hearts! 

Furthermore, we continued with a yearly tradition at LABBB by sponsoring a student Santa, which requires the class to collect donations and purchase gifts for a special child. Classroom D113 was responsible for shopping for an 8-year-old boy within this giving program. Students enjoyed collecting and totaling their family donations. Then they researched different toys and items online, budgeted, and then went to our local Marshalls to purchase the gifts. The final step was all the students taking time to wrap the gifts for our chosen student. Our classes showed enthusiasm and appreciation for giving to children in need during this holiday season.

Also, to kick off our holiday break, we participated in our annual traditional activities! First and foremost, the students voted to watch Elf and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York! These are all-time favorite holiday movies, and they did not disappoint after another year. Our whole class belly laughed, while some even cried! Through it all, we enjoyed a pajama day and a big pizza party! The best part about watching movies in school that we can not match is being able to take a break from academic learning and sharing contagious laughter and joyfulness with fellow friends, classmates, Best Buddies, interns, and teachers! It is second to none in all that we experience in a day, week, and year! 

Well, that is the wrap on the best and the last of 2022!!  

Classroom D113 would like to wish you all a happy and healthy New year!

Clinical Corner: How a trauma-informed classroom benefits ALL students
By Melanie Marzolf, LICSW

It may sound complicated or intimidating, but creating a trauma-informed classroom is not an overly difficult task. With a little training and support, any classroom can become a safe space for students affected by trauma. In addition, the benefits of creating a trauma-informed classroom extend to all students who utilize the classroom, regardless of their personal histories or diagnoses. Similarly, physical modifications that are made to buildings to create greater access for individuals with physical disabilities often have the unintended positive outcome of benefitting many groups of people. For example, elevators and ramps benefit not just those with physical disabilities but also create greater access for the elderly, people with young children, individuals with luggage, bags of groceries or strollers, etc. Creating a safe educational environment with the goal of helping trauma-affected students will end up benefiting all students who utilize that classroom. 

Here are some trauma-informed practices that can be used in an educational setting and the ways in which such practices benefit all students. 

Trauma-informed classroom
Structured and predictable learning environment
How it helps
When students know what to expect it reduces stress and anxiety. Students do not have to rely on their own imagination (which could be scary for some) and can spend less time wondering/worrying about what is coming next in their day.
Who can benefit
Students with trauma history and/or PTSD, learning disabilities, Autism, ADHD and Anxiety

Trauma-informed classroom 
Mental health support is available and viewed as a vital part of student’s education
How it helps
Students and staff have access to mental health support and resources. Students and staff feel confident that they will have support should a need arise (which in itself may help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety).
Who can benefit
All students and staff

Trauma-informed classroom
Direct social and emotional skills teaching
How it helps
Students learn social skills, coping skills, conflict resolution, bullying prevention and learn that these skills are a vital component of their education in addition to academic learning.
Who can benefit
All students

Trauma-informed classroom
Safe spaces
How it helps
Students have a safe space where they can go in order to take a break and self-regulate when feeling triggered and/or having an emotional/behavioral challenge. This space may have books, puzzles, music, fidgets or other items that support an individual as they regulate.
Who can benefit
Students who may get triggered and have an emotional response, students who are feeling overstimulated in the classroom, students who need a sensory break, staff who need a break

Trauma-informed classroom
Trauma sensitive disciplinary practices
How it helps
Disciplinary actions are trauma informed and non-punitive. Students and staff have a clear understanding of the expectations as well as discipline measures in place. Discipline is applied equitably and restorative justice practices are utilized.
Who can benefit
All students

Curriculum and Inclusion at Marshall Simonds Middle School
By Emily Hurd

From late October through early December, all 6th grade students at Marshall Simonds Middle School read the novel Zane and the Hurricane, by Rodman Philbrick, in their ELA classes. LABBB students at MSMS read an adapted version of the book and learned about related topics - including hurricanes, floods, and New Orleans geography and culture!

During reading class, students worked on sequencing events, describing the setting, and describing characters’ actions and traits. Students also practiced using their core vocabulary words to talk about words from the book (for example, a hurricane is a BIG, BAD storm that TURNs). Using this approach (called descriptive teaching or descriptive talking) helps students understand how they can use the words they already have in their communication devices to talk about new topics. 

During shared writing, students wrote sentences about topics related to the story by filling in the blank to complete sentence frames. They practiced their alphabet and phonological awareness skills while working with their sentences, and turned their writing into class books to be shared with family and friends.

As usual, science experiments were some of our favorite parts of the unit. In one experiment, students predicted how they could make the water in a bowl move like a hurricane (they learned that they needed to make it go FAST and TURN). In another, they predicted which houses in a town would get damaged in a flood (i.e. houses DOWN low or houses UP high). Students also participated in a virtual field trip to New Orleans; each student picked a location in New Orleans, explored it using a virtual reality website and videos, and worked on using their AAC device to tell what they had learned about it. Students got to learn about New Orleans jazz as well. We had fun listening to different jazz songs and then voting on our favorites and graphing the results during math class.

Reading the same book as the rest of the 6th grade was a natural way to create some inclusion opportunities. Peers in other classes were excited to learn that LABBB students were reading the same book they were. Students joined their classmates in the library for some activity stations related to the novel, including a hurricane-themed mindfulness activity and a discussion about the characters from the book. At the end of the unit, we invited students from Ms. Sullivan’s ELA classes to share their final projects with us - including drawings of scenes from the book, hurricane safety PSAs, and parodies of popular songs rewritten to be about the novel. Students enjoyed asking their peers questions about the book (e.g. who was your favorite character?) and did a great job sharing positive comments about the projects. 

Here is what students had to say about what they learned:

We learned about jazz music. -Neytra
We learned about floods . -Vraj
We learned about floods. -Josh

I liked the presentations. -Neytra
I liked listening to jazz music. -Josh
I liked the hurricane math story. -Vraj

We’re looking forward to more opportunities for curriculum access and inclusion at MSMS!

This year, Mr. Hartunian, principal of JGMS, started a new initiative. H.E.A.R.T is JGMS’s student motto. Students are expected to exhibit HONOR, EMPATHY, ACCEPTANCE, RESPONSIBILITY, and TENACITY. For the month of October, Claire Han was selected from Mrs. Eleftheriou’s class at JGMS. This is Claire’s first year with LABBB and she has hit the ground running! Claire has consistently shown HEART both in her LABBB class as well as her inclusion classes. 

CONGRATULATIONS, Claire! We’re very proud of you! 

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities

January is a time to reflect on the fall season in the recreation department. The fun we had, the activities we did, and the new friends we made. January is also a time to get ready for the spring recreation activities by looking at new activities and bringing back the favorites.

Take time to enjoy various activities outside: sledding, skating, skiing, walking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, just being outside and smelling the freshly fallen snow. Even if we don’t have snow yet, we may get some warm days to go out and ride a bike or take a hike. All can be done on your own or with friends, family or a buddy. Remember to use caution when participating, dress for the weather and enjoy getting exercise while having fun.

Save the Date for upcoming events:
January 18, LABBB trip to Omar’s to play games
January 19, LABBB Ring in the New Year Dance
January 25, LABBB trip to Omar’s to play games
Look for the Spring activities to come out in late January/early February.


Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter
LABBB Parent Resources

Special Needs Art Programs Inc.

Riverside Family Support

Join Autism Eats for Brunch With Santa!
All behaviors and ages are welcome. 
Reservations are required at
Check out Autism Eats on 7 News Boston WHDH Special Report HERE

Extra Steps Launches Innovative Programs
Wilderness skill building can be a thrilling and empowering adventure for school age kids. A new program called Kids in the Wild is being offered through Extra Steps Pediatric Therapies. The first session will take place on December 10th in Sudbury for children ages 7-12.
Additionally, Extra Steps is offering Caregiver Workshops to help families build connections with one another and promote skill development in their loved one. An example is a workshop held on Nov. 2nd that focused on holiday stress.
For more information, contact Director Sherry Kenin.

Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) provides individuals, families and professionals with information, education. Community, support and advocacy is offering free community connection sessions .Our.Free Online Community Connection Sessions are single-session discussion groups and a great way to meet our staff and connect with the community for the first time. All times listed are in the Eastern Time Zone. Please click the date for more info and to register.

Housing Navigator Massachusetts

Contact: Ann Sgarzi, [email protected]
Discovery Museum Announces 2023 Series of Free Events for Families of Children with Disabilities
Especially for Me program, now in its 13th year, offers free Museum access for families of children on the autism spectrum or who have vision or hearing loss or sensory issues
ACTON - Discovery Museum announced today the full 2023 schedule for the Especially for Me series of free events for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have vision or hearing loss or sensory issues. The first event of the year, an Autism-Friendly Evening, will be held this Saturday, January 7, 5:00 to 8:00pm. Space is limited and advance registration is required at Space is still available.
This is the 13th year of the popular program series that offers families an opportunity to play together when the Museum is closed to the public and capacity is limited in order to improve access. Because admission is free, families may come and go based on their child’s needs without concern for cost. Parents also have the chance to meet other families in similar circumstances, thereby reducing feelings of isolation often described by families dealing with special needs. A medical diagnosis is not required to attend.
Discovery Museum is ADA-compliant and all exhibits are accessible, designed according to Universal Design principles to be both aesthetically pleasing and useable by the widest possible range of people, without regard to age or ability.
Special resources are available to families including noise-reducing headphones, a sensory guide to the Museum, sensory-based programming, and American Sign Language (ASL) language facilitators at some events. Additionally, dinner, including a gluten-free option, is provided at all evening events.
All Especially for Me events are free to attend for all family members, but preregistration is required. Dates and registration links can be found online at
2023 Event Schedule
Mornings for Families of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Infants and Toddlers (closed to the public):
Mondays 9:30am to 12:30pm | February 13, September 11 
Sensory-Friendly Afternoons (open to the public, but no group visits are scheduled):
Tuesdays 1:30 to 4:30pm | February 7, March 7, April 4, May 2, June 6, August 1, October 3, November 7, December 5
Evenings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Children (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5:00 to 8:00pm | March 11, May 6, December 2.
Evenings for Families with a Visual Impairment (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5:00 to 8:00pm | February 4, October 7.
Autism-Friendly Evenings (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5:00 to 8:00pm | January 7, March 18, April 1, June 3, September 16, October 21, December 16
All-Access Evenings (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5:00 to 8:00pm | January 21, May 20, June 17, November 18

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 Collaborative
123 Cambridge Street, Burlington MA. 01803|