August 2019

          A LABBB Collaborative        Newsletter
   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
#LSTEP (LABBB Summer Extension Program) enjoying life in the Woodland House!
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

   to listen to the podcast click on the link below

The phone calls come in consistently for my sister. They could be about anything from a problem at work to needing money, medication prescriptions, CPAP updates, bills, MASSHealth, issues at her center, or many other unexpected things.
I have been at LABBB   for 31 years. My sister is 43 years old and has Down  syndrome. She graduated from LABBB in 1998, and she lives in a group home in Lexington with four other LABBB graduates. I tell my story over and over and over, because my experience as a guardian has changed the way I look at what we provide as a service in LABBB. It has also changed the way I look at the archaic systems of special education. And it changes the way we are building and will build the LABBB community to support each other  in the future, which is progress.
We need to look to the future to develop the right plan in the present moment. We hear about this concept, "backward design," but I can't tell you how essential this is. I have spoken to many, many parents whose sons or daughters have graduated, and these LABBB alumni parents are showing up at our Transition conference confronting difficult decisions. They are also the parents who are saying, "I wish I had started planning earlier."
When my mother and father passed away within six months of each other 3 years ago, I immediately started the process of becoming my sister's guardian. My philosophy and my thinking about what LABBB is doing and what special education should be focusing on changed dramatically over these years. I was experiencing something I never thought I would have to-it was real, and it was overwhelming.
I had many emotions, knowing that this is what family does to take care of each other. But it was also the brutal, honest truth of what every family and sibling will face, and I need to share this with the LABBB community every step of the way. I hesitated to write about this in the beginning, because I didn't want anyone to think this is a negative experience. If you have done the preparation, it doesn't need to be stressful.
Our mission in LABBB is to prepare you. I share the mistakes our family made, and if you look at all the details of what my parents actually did, we were in a good place, yet it was still very difficult. If we do not talk about these things, then we are not doing our job. We are not giving you the information we have, so you can make some decisions about how you want to plan for your son or daughter's future.
When I started the LABBB podcast, this was supposed to be the first episode. I recorded versions of this so many times, I can't tell you. It was very emotional; sometimes I tried to force it, but it was rehearsed and not natural, and I could not bring myself to share it. Yet this information is everything I want our community to hear.
Who is going to prepare you? Who will give you the honest truth? We are in this together, and your experience in LABBB will be supportive from the first day your son or daughter enrolls and for life, because we do not just stop at age 22.
Please take the time to listen to this podcast. Even if it doesn't connect with you now, perhaps it will along your journey.
We are looking forward to the 2019-2020 school year!
2019-2020 Recreation Brochure! 
2019-2020 Parent Meetings

LABBB Evening Parent Meetings
During our LABBB parent meetings we discuss various topics related to programming, special needs planning, recreation, transition, post 22 planning, SSI, financial planning among many other topics.
Time: 7:00pm-8:15pm
Location: Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Rd., Lexington Ma.
*All parent meetings are the same evening as our monthly dances so you can drop of your son or daughter and attend the parent meeting.
September 20
October 24
November 21
January 16
February 27
March 26
April 30
May 28

Executive Director Chats
Executive Director chats are an extension of our evening parent meetings and for parents who cannot attend in the evenings.

Time: 10:00am-11:15am
Location: LABBB Central Office, 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington (Burlington High School)
September 26
October 31
December 5
February 6
March 19
May 7
LABBB Parent Alumni Meetings

Our parent alumni meetings are a great resource for parents who want to continue to be connected to the LABBB community. Many of our parents share their experiences and learn about future opportunities for housing, recreation and keeping their son or daughter socially engaged with peers.

Time: 10:00am-11:15pm
Location: LABBB Central Office, 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington (Burlington High School)
September 13
October 18
December 13
February 7
March 27
May 8
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
The Recreation Brochure should have hit your homes the second week of August. If you did not receive one please contact me at:

Woodland Guest House Updates
Dear LABBB Community,

The LABBB-TILL Woodland Guest house has been up and running! We are excited to hear all the wonderful feedback from parents who have sent their son or daughter for an overnight weekend! It is a busy weekend from Friday evening beginning at 5:00 until Sunday evening at 5:00pm!

If you are interested in getting more information about this or signing up for a weekend  click here and it will take you the LABBB website to sign up through TILL. 



A LABBB Podcast

I n this episode, I share my personal story about our family's experience in how we are organizing and planning in caring for our sister with special needs. Many times there are unexpected life events and we are not prepared. When my parents passed away three years ago, within six months of each other, this was a significant unexpected life event. My parents did many things "Right" but I wish we were more prepared to care for my sister. 

My thinking started to change dramatically about what we are doing in special education to prepare parents and sharing my story was an essential step. I was fortunate to know where to seek the resources I needed to get things done for my sister, but it was still incredibly overwhelming and stressful for many years and it didn't need to be this way. These are difficult family conversations, but they need to happen. My mission is to prepare parents and siblings so they are more prepared in the future and to implore them to start planning now! If we fail to plan now, we are making it significantly more stressful for guardians and caretakers when it is their time take on the responsibility. This is a two part series. I will share many more real life stories of how we managed, planned, and learned from our mistakes. In many ways this can bring families closer together, especially the siblings.

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