August 2018

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
LABBB Recreation Trip in North Conway
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Planning Goals for 2018-2019 

If we have never been to the place we are going, how do we know we are taking the right road to get there? 

As the new school year arrives, we will focus our attention on our sons and daughters IEP goals and objectives and evaluate the progress they are making throughout the year. 

We should constantly ask and evaluate, "How is this goal helping my son or daughter be independent?" Do we have the right information to evaluate if this particular goal is going to benefit them in the future? Is this goal leading them towards independence?   We are on a journey, how do we know what we put in the IEP today is going to be of value in the future? These questions are paramount! This is backwards design, we should begin with the end in mind. 

As I sit and write this article, there is a moment of hesitation before I begin sharing my thoughts on this topic because I sound like I am repeating myself over and over. The reason I do this is because I spend a significant amount of time talking with parents and learning about what our graduates are doing. Then, I think to myself, "Maybe I am not saying it enough?"

My sister is a high functioning person with Down Syndrome. She lives in a group home and they have a rich social life built in. She has a part-time job, and she has a place to go every day when that job does not give her enough hours. She also has something to do socially every day. If she loses her job, her social life stays intact.

What were the academics that she needs to function today that she was learning when she was pre-22? What really mattered? Did we put our time and energy into developing the right skills? We would never invest in stocks if we thought that they would not give us a return on our investment in the future, why would we think any differently about our goals and objectives in the IEP? 

My parents wished that my sister was more independent when she turned 22. They invested their money in the wrong stocks for many years, and the return on independence did not yield what they expected. They were going down a road, but they didn't know where they were going because they couldn't picture the future. If they could talk to you today, they would tell you they would have done things differently. When a parent of a graduate calls me for help, I never hear, "If they only had more of this specific academic skill or more minutes in a specific service delivery," No, what I hear is, "They don't have any friends, they are not working, what do we do? Are there places we can go, resources we can get?

I implore you...first, think Social Social, Social! Secondly, think Independence, Independence, Independence, and lastly, think Job, Job, Job. This all equals Happy, Happy, Happy. Isn't this what we all want for our children. For most families the only thing that gets in our way is Fear, Fear, Fear. 

Parents and guardians, this year I am asking you to add one goal to your personal family IEP that is a "Special needs Planning goal." This is just as important as any goal or objective on your child's IEP. Maybe the IEP should include a special needs planning goal for the parents and guardians and we should meet every year to make sure you have planned for the future.  It is in the best interest of all family members and siblings. If you are not informing and planning now, you are going to leave someone else with the job of having to do this. 

It doesn't matter if your son or daughter is in pre-school or high school, setting goals for planning is incredibly important. The sooner you get started the less stressful your future will be. I am speaking for every parent that says to me, "I wish we started planning earlier, or I wish I knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently." This is why I get over my hesitation of writing these articles on this topic. It is what motivates me to write these articles for the benefit of all our parents. I need to be that person who is constantly reminding you. 

What planning goals could you set for your family? Here is a list of some goals you can think about. This list is very general and can be modified depending on the age of your child, we may recommend one or all of them.

You can always reach out to me for advice and guidance. I am passionate about special needs planning for the future. I have met with many parents just to discuss planning, this is what LABBB is here for. 

1. Attend a Transition Conference
2. Get more information about Guardianship
3. Attend a parent group.
4. Make a document with all the information about your son or daughter. Including telephone numbers, addresses and key contact people which can inlcude: 
  • Doctors
  • Medications
  • Financial advisors
  • Masshealth/Medicare
  • Go to a housing conference or talk with LABBB partners at TILL.
5. Talk with family members about your son or daughters future. What do you see them doing when they graduate or turn 22. 
6. Visit an adult service agency.
7. What is one life skill that your son or daughter could learn at home so when they are ready to live independently they will be able to do it. 
8. Set up a time to meet with me to discuss special needs planning. 
9. Read a book about special needs planning. 
10. If your son or daughter receives SSI, set up an ABLE Account.
11. Network with other parents who have been through the transition to adulthood and independent living with their son or daughter with special needs.
12. Attend LABBB's second annual Transition Fair.

We are looking forward to a productive and fullfillng 2018-2019 year!

New LABBB Central Office Location
123 Cambridge Street, Burlington
(back row, from left to right: Danielle Ballou, Joe Adams, Kerson Belizaire & Maria Walsh)
(front row, from left to right: Patric Barbieri, Dianne Busa, Matt Cameron & Nancy Smallenberger)

We are excited to announce that LABBB has a new home for our central office. As of August 15, our central office will be located in Burlington High School. LABBB acquired the space that was formerly occupied by Bay Path College. Our new address is 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington, MA. We are excited to be moving back into our public schools. 

All LABBB phone numbers will remain the same. We have a great central office team that will be bringing the best services possible to our community members. 

Executive Office:
Patric Barbieri, Executive Director
Dianne Busa, Executive Assistant 

Finance & HR Department:
Matthew Cameron, Financial Administrator 
Maria Walsh, Human Resources Coordinator 
Joseph Adams, Accounting Manager 
Nancy Smallenberger, Procurement & Receivables Manager 

Data & Information Technology Department:
Kerson Belizaire, Data Analyst

Transportation Department:
Danielle Ballou, Transportation Coordinator 
Summer Days in Boston: LABBB Students Mingle with Mayor Marty Walsh

Minuteman Senior Services Organization: Volunteer Appreciation Ice Cream Social
By: David Sainato
Throughout the school calendar year LABBB students participate weekday mornings assisting with the preparation and packaging of meals that are delivered to homebound seniors through Minuteman Senior Services Organization.

Pictured below are Bedford High School LABBB dining assistants during the July 26 volunteer appreciation ice cream social held at The Lexington Community Center.

Volcanoes Erupt at Butler Elementary School
By: Keith Muise
In late July, students at the LABBB Butler and LABBB Wellington programs participated in a "paint day" event with Cheryl Surprenant of Let's Paint, which is a children's art studio. Cheryl came to our classroom at Butler and led the students through a canvas painting activity. Prior to this activity, students had completed a unit on volcanoes. Students were introduced to the following concepts about volcanoes: eruption, magma, lava, and vent hole. 

While working with these concepts, students read the book ­ Volcanoes by Emily Green and listened to the "Volcano Song," which can be found on YouTube. For the majority of students in room 207, this reading was a review from the beginning of the 2017 -2018 school when the same text was used in a group note taking lesson. These notes were eventually used to create compositions detailing facts that the students learned about volcanoes. During the culminating paint activity, students painted a landscape whose focal point was an erupting volcano.
And That's A Wrap!
By: Sarah Bennett

We had a great end of the year in room 106 at Francis Wyman! We want to share a few great inclusion opportunities enjoyed by everyone at the end of the year.

The first was the Dinosaur Show with the 1st grade class. The three first graders from my classroom participated in the show and all had a different role in the songs. Songs included Dinosaur A-Z, Triceratops Rock, and Walk the Dinosaur. The students did a great job dancing and acting like dinosaurs in the show, and the 1st graders did an awesome job being buddies to our students. It was a great show!
The second was Field Day! The students all had the opportunity to go out for field day with their grade levels. They competed in relays, participated in team building activities, and even did a dunk tank!! It was awesome to watch all their buddies and PALS help them with the different activities and it was a fun day together with the friends we've been making all year!
We also had an end of the year picnic with our PALS group! We had so many wonderful 5th graders volunteer their time to be with us during the year, and we had a chance to get together and celebrate with some outdoor fun and a picnic lunch. We will miss the 5th graders and appreciate all the help, love, and friendship that came from them this past year.
It was an incredible year here in Room 106, and I'm looking forward to another great one to come!
Clinical Corner: LABBB Summer Programs - A Great Opportunity for Community  Based Instruction
By: Kaitlin Taylor, LABBB BCBA

Each summer, LABBB summer programs provide the opportunity for students to experience a slightly different schedule than the typical school year. Field trips occur more regularly and students are able to experience Community Based Instruction on a more frequent basis. 

What is community based instruction? It is educational instruction in naturally occurring environments providing students "real-life" experiences. For example, students may travel to the movies, the zoo, a local park, the community pool, or elsewhere. The aim is to provide students with opportunities to apply the lessons they have learned in school to the everyday places they go to with their families, friends, and even coworkers. 

Community based instruction allows students to work on communication skills (i.e. asking for directions or ordering a meal), executive functioning skills (i.e. using a map to follow a route), coping skills (i.e. using headphones in a loud movie), and social skills (i.e. maintaining personal space in a crowded pool). It is an important element of our programs here at LABBB, and we are happy to have even more opportunities to practice during the summer. 

Ask your student about the activities they have gotten to experience this summer! Plan an opportunity or two to practice some community based instruction during your vacation too! 
Woodland House Improvements: Helping Our Students Learn How to Live Independently!
For the past few months renovations have been going on at our Woodland house at 14 Woodland Road in Lexington. We renovated the bathroom on the first floor and now it is handicapped accessible. This project was done by our community partners at Minuteman tech. This was a perfect opportunity for Minuteman students and teachers to use their skills in a real environment to provide upgrades for our new respite program. The bathroom work they completed is amazing and will benefit all the students that will be using the house. 

A new door was also installed on the kitchen side of the house that is handicapped accessible, and the Lion's club of Lexington is donating and installing a ramp. 

The pictures below are students from our August LSTEP program (LABBB Summer Extension Transition program) using the Woodland house and in the community.



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

Recreation Updates


A LABBB Podcast

Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th year (1968-2018) and we had the opportunity to interview Mary Beth McMahon, President and CEO of the Special Olympics Massachusetts. We discuss the past, present, and future of the Special Olympics and how this organization is continuing to grow and evolve. LABBB has been involved with the Special Olympics since the late 1970's and we have a long history of bringing the games to our student athletes in collaboration with the Best Buddies organization. Paula Rizzo, LABBB Recreation and Integration Coordinator, joins us for this episode and she talks about her involvement with Special Olympics since she was in high school as a student leader. We were on location at Special Olympics Headquarters in Marlborough, MA for this episode, so tune in and learn more about the future of Special Olympics. Please visit the Special Olympics website for more information:

More Episodes:

Student Recreation Sports, Music & Art Resources

Recreation Links

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