August 2017

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

    Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities       for  students with special needs 
LABBB Transition at the Institute of Contemporary Art

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Transition Begins Now!
My sister's adult center just moved its operations to another facility last month. She was nervous, scared and not all that thrilled with it. She felt anxious about going to an unfamiliar place in a different town. She was used to having a routine; she knew what to expect every day, and she knew exactly what time the Ride picked her up in the morning. The good news is that she handled the change and the uncertainty well. 
Her life has been full of transitions ever since she graduated almost 20 years ago. We didn't have to pick up the pieces this time. We were prepared-but if the same thing happened when she was in her teens, it would have been a major issue. My sister is as independent as she possibly can be right now. It has been a slow, gradual building of independence, and we are still not there yet. It has taken many, many years and many transitions to get to this point. 
Every transition is a scary leap, whether it be from elementary to middle school, from middle to high school or to the adult world post-22. We need to be aware that there will be many more transitions. Each transition should be an opportunity to prepare for the future. 
Real-World Transitions
The best possible scenario is to practice transitions in natural settings-settings that are as real as possible. We believe transitions should be experienced in environments that are as inclusive as we can make them. There is no better simulator to create such an environment than being a part of your community.
Public schools are natural integrative environments for future transitions. Our local communities are also natural integrative environments. 
We understand that, as a parent, you feel like you are transitioning alone. There is nothing more fearful than thinking about what the future will be like for your son or daughter. Most people avoid it until the last few years before graduation. Planning now means that we have to confront the future. So we resist. We hold onto the past because we feel we can only control what we are doing right here, right now. 
You are part of a community that is here to do this with you. We won't tell you that it is easy or that this is only way, but we are here to help you transition through your son or daughter's journey from age 3 to 22. We are here to tell you that the better you plan now-the more inclusive your son or daughter's education is-the easier the transition will be post-22. We are here to tell you that life after graduation can be "insanely great" and your son or daughter's life can thrive in the post-22 world. But the time to build that success is now. 
In LABBB, our philosophy for 43 years has been to be part of the most inclusive environments possible. That is what leads to successful real-world transitions. Our graduates who are living, working and socializing as adults have had to go through many transitions to get to where they are. 
We can assure you that it was not easy-and still is not easy-for their families then and now. You might be tempted to think that it must have been easy for them, that they somehow jumped to the other side of the transition and were safe. There are many times this has happened, but the jump was just as scary as the jump you will need to take. We have seen so many families do this and many more waiting to take that next step. What is it going to take? How is it going to feel? Who is going to be there with you? 
Only real-life stories can help you understand what is possible. What we offer is not a conceptual model or template. You want to know what the actual outcomes have been. That is what you will find out in LABBB. Not only will you be surrounded by current families going through a transition, but you will also learn about families of graduates and how they have dealt with this.
In LABBB, we confront the difficult transitions. We bring the subject to the table because we know life beyond LABBB can be extremely fulfilling- we have seen it happen over and over. 
End of Summer? Not Yet!
LABBB programs are still up and running right now, and they will continue until the end of August. Our LABBB Summer Extension Program and our Transition Summer Extension Program have been thriving, and LABBB never sleeps! We will have only three full days before the beginning of the year when all LABBB programs are not up and running, and we look forward to starting it up all over again!
We look forward to working with your son or daughter in the 2017-2018 school year. Welcome to the #LABBBtribe!

A Job Well Done!
By: Tori Dennis
Meet Pasey!  He is Arlington High School's "Meals on Wheels" superstar!  Pasey has just completed his first year with LABBB Arlington.  Here, he has been introduced to a different type of community experience, and he rocked it! Pasey had never done volunteer work, or attended a worksite prior to coming to high school.  Upon joining LABBB Arlington, he was introduced to "Meals on Wheels". "Meals on Wheels" is an Arlington High School volunteer worksite. Student volunteers deliver meals to senior citizens who participate in the "Meals on Wheels" program, at Arlington Senior Center.  

Each Thursday, students will pick up the meals, and bring them door-to-door to client apartments.  The process has many steps!! Students must be dressed professionally, and act with integrity.  Students know each individual food order, and interact with each of their clients.  Students often have to respond to personal requests, as it pertains to the way clients prefer their food delivered (some clients prefer students to wait at the door, while others prefer their food be brought inside the apartment by the student). 

Pasey began his training this past Fall, and shadowed another student familiar with the routine.  Each week, he would come back to the classroom and retell the events that occurred.  He would demonstrate the way he knocked, and said "hello".  Then, he would ask to set up his schedule to see when the next time he could go would be.  Pasey quickly became our "Meals on Wheels" guru!  He goes every week, and knows the route better than anyone!  In an effort to share his enthusiasm, we asked Pasey if he would be willing to make a training video, to which he agreed!  Together with his teachers, Pasey has created a how-to "Meals on Wheels" video to share with peers who are interested in learning.  A job well done, Pasey!!  For access to the training module, please contact us at Arlington High School!!
Summer Newscast: Theme is beyond Newsworthy, (Lexington High Room 825) 
By: Melissa Allen

The students in room 825 (Allen/Goguen) classroom have been working hard writing and reporting new stories about local news, travel, sports and movie reviews, just to name a few. They have helped to choose the topics, used graphic organizers to answer the wh- questions and then formulated the information into complete sentences. They have made Google slides to project on our Smartboard as the backdrop for our news reports. Some students have done "on location" reporting for our field trips, including the Lexington Trolley Tour, Castle Island and a Bedford Farms ice cream shop review. 

At the end of the summer program you will find our newscasts on our classroom blog, Make sure you check it out! 

Numbers For Days... Literally!
By: Kristin Spinosa, Transition Specialist
The Transition Department (formerly the Vocational Department) is happy to report about a wonderful new summer 'community participation' site - Lexington Public Schools Inventory! Not only does this site provide wonderful communication, functional academics, and social skills experiences to our students, but they are also completing a task that Lexington Public Schools Finance and Operations Department has been aiming to complete for a long while now! Our students have been working extremely hard for an awesome Department. Locals helping locals!
While participating in this site, our students are taking an inventory of the furniture existent within all LPS classrooms. They are working closely with the LPS Facilities Department, checking in every day, asking any related questions, and being praised for their important work!
The Lexington Public Schools Inventory site provides students with opportunities to participate positive communication exchanges, count items, record quantities (both numerically, and using tally marks), and ask and answer various unexpected questions. They are then going to transfer the data into a spreadsheet!
We would like to thank all involved LPS Departments for their continued thought and support!
Chenery Middle School (233) Happenings
By: Caroline Brown
Things are always busy over here at Chenery Middle School, and July was no exception!  We recently welcomed aboard Ms. Maggie Keen as a lead co-teacher for room 233.  Maggie is very excited to be joining the classroom and has great experience, having recently graduated with her Master's in Special Education from Simmons University and working previously at the New England Center for Children.

This summer, the students in room 233 have been working on an ocean-themed unit.  They have learned about all sorts of plants and animals that live in the ocean, as well as different landforms in and around the sea.  The students have enjoyed completing a number of ocean-themed crafts, wherein they work on a variety of embedded skills.  Language-based skills include reading and following directions and utilizing and understanding prepositions.  In addition, students have been working on their fine motor skills and executive functioning, by cutting, gluing, and planning their crafts. 

In a recent OT Group, the students made sensory "Ocean Bottles" with OT Lori Parent.   Students made their own, and loved adding glitter, baby oil, and food coloring to make each one unique (and mesmerizing)!  This was a fun, cross-curricular activity that the students all enjoyed.  When a bottle is shaken up, the glitter and blue water swirls and twirls and creates a beautiful visual which is very calming to observe.

Everyone has enjoyed the July session, but is excited for a fun and relaxing August!

On the Move with LABBB's Transition Department
By: Amanda O'Leary & Brian Walsh
The Transition Department has been providing some new volunteer and vocational experiences this past spring and during our July programming. These have included experiences at Brightview Country Club Heights in Woburn, Meadowmist Farm in Lexington, and Community Servings in Jamaica Plain.

Community Servings
Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to families and individuals who are living with critical and chronic illnesses. These services include giving these individuals nutritious meals, while letting them know that they are cared for. Over the month of July, our students have been working, side by side with the public, and have been assisting in preparing snacks and meals for those in need. They have done a number of different tasks, such as scooping fruit, bagging cereal, and sorting meals according to nutritional and medical needs. The atmosphere is energetic and fun, and so far both students and LABBB staff have given the experience a thumbs up! For more information, please check out the Community Servings website:


Meadowmist Farm

Meadowmist Farm, located in Lexington, off of Marrett Road, is our newest addition to our vocational and community experiences. Meadowmist is a working farm, where they grow and pick a number of vegetables and fruits. Students also collect and wash eggs, and help tend to and feed the animals, which include chickens, sheep, and cows.

Brightview Country Club

Brightview Country Club Heights Independent and Assisted Living, Woburn location, a new LABBB partner in 2016-2017,  proved to be a rich supported vocational experience, one of high value, where students accessed three key areas: culinary, client activities, and housekeeping/maintenance under the direction of the skilled Brightview staff.  The year culminated with Brightview staff hosting an appreciation luncheon for LABBB students and LABBB site coach, Pam Ryan. 
We would like to thank Brightview staff, namely David, Nancy, Kris, Celina, Mark and Linda for their inclusive mindset and thoughtful ways.  They represent the best of what our community/business partners are and can be.  The experience was so positive we have agreed to expand this supported experience from three days to to five days in 2017-2018.

Solar Energy
By: Sarah Cronin
The students in Mrs. Cronin's, Mrs. Dickson's and Mr. Dooks' classrooms took a break from Biology this summer and studied energy sources with an emphasis on solar energy.  The culminating activity was building solar ovens out of pizza boxes. Our ovens were a success!  The class enjoyed s'mores on a sunny day.

2017-2018 LABBB Recreation Brochure
Hot off the presses! The 2017-2018 LABBB Recreation Brochure is here! LABBB Recreation Brochures will be sent in the mail by the end of next week. 

Click on the image below to view the digital version of the brochure and sign up for LABBB recreational events!

Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator

  Recreation Updates

The LABBB Recreation Department would like to thank Todd Paris for working with us to create three sessions of  Lucky Punch Boxing at LABBB. We started out with one session and found it so popular that we added two more sessions. The third session just concluded at the end of April. We are bringing Todd back in September for another ten week session. 

LABBB Reunion Dance, September 22, 2017.  Look for invitations to come out in August. 

Tuesday and Thursday Bowling groups have started again along with Wednesday Recreation.
We have 2 new collaborations, one with Waypoint Adventures and one with TILL:
  • Waypoint Adventures took LABBB students Rock Climbing and will be doing a kayaking trip in June with more rock climbing groups in October. 
  • We also have a joint trip with TILL, as we travel to Ireland together in June. 
Stay tuned for more updates.

LABBB Podcast

In episode #7 we are joined by Assistive Technology Specialist Rachel Kuberry. We have known and worked with Rachel for many years in LABBB. Tune in to listen to Rachel talk about her approach to assistive technology for students with special needs. Rachel adds a fresh perspective on AT and gives us some insight into how she collaborates with students, parents and teachers. Rachel has a unique style of communication to talk about the brutally honest truth about AT. She brings a blend of personal experience, humor, research and data which makes conversation with Rachel fun and engaging. We have met many professionals who have built a rapport with Rachel and everyone has been inspired by her knowledge and passion of AT. In the end, these professionals have been more successful at 'implementation' which is the ultimate goal of using assistive technology tools.
The LABBB Annual Reunion dance is right around the corner. Every year we get approximately 250 LABBB graduates who attend this event. All current LABBB students are also welcome to attend. We will be sending this flyer out to everyone in the mail next week. 

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LABBB Health Office
Parent Resources
  • LABBB School Cancellation Policy:  All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.
Recreation Links  

(FNFC) Friday Night Fun Club, Bedford, Ann Seamans: or 781-275-8381
(MMArc) Minute Man Arc Afternoon Recreation Afternoon Recreation & Friday Nights (16+yrs), Darcie Heller: or C:978-201-2481/W: 978-287-7936 

(TILL) Toward Independent Living & Learning Travel:  Springboard Club, Dedham, high independence, Dale Belcher: or 781-302-4619 (RARA) Recreational Adult Resource Association, Lowell Contact: or 978-453-5598 
Riverside Community Care: DDS Family Support Center, Woburn Kaley Stoner: or 781-686-6073  Lifelinks - DDS Family Support Center, Chelmsford, Rachel Ward Sullivan: or 978-349-3040  *verify current + open to public 

Greater Marlborough Programs Inc - Social & Recreation (DDS Family Support), Marlborough Jim Karami: or 508-485-4227 ext. 1006 
Echo Enrichment, Burlington, Mary Ann Perreira, or 781-640-9351 
Trips R Us, Framingham, Mike Graham: or 508-405-0999 

Alternative Leisure (ALCS), Bedford, Drew Bilillies: or 781-275-0023 
Music Makes Me Happy Chorus, Lexington, Marsha Martin: 
Concord Recreation, Anna Wood: awood@concordma.

Sudbury Therapeutic Recreation, Amber Forbes: or 978-639-3257 

Belmont (SPORT) Special Programs Heidi Barbiero:  or 617-993-2760 

(SNAP) Special Needs Arts Program Chorus & Art, Lexington Contact: or 781-325-8025

(GWArc) Greater Waltham Arc Recreation/Plus: Mike Mullins: or 781-899-1344 x4120  Newton Therapeutic Recreation w/ Newton Athletes Unlimited, NewtonMark Kelly: or 617-796-1527 
Kids in Disability Sports (K.I.D.S.), Lowell, Info: or 866-712-7799 
Access Sport America, Acton, BettyMiller:
Burlington Therapeutic Recreation, Burlington, Laurel Rossiter:, 781-270-1937