January 2017
  A LABBB Collaborative

Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    

In This Issue

Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

The LABBB Tribe
The LABBB Tribe

When we contribute something; when we have a skill to offer; when we belong to a community, our health and well being will thrive. We will be happier!

When our students graduate, our first concern should be about their community. What will they be a part of? What will they be contributing? It doesn't happen on its own, we need to build it. 

Over the past few years, I have incessantly spoken about community, not just as a "cliche," but as a reality that I have been experiencing. I have realized the power of a community when you are taking care of an adult with special needs. I have relied on them for help, and they have made it easier. 

As director, it is my job to build, promote and encourage everyone to connect, to build a community, to build a Tribe. I implore you not to go at it alone. You will not have all the answers, and even if you do, there may be a better way to do it. 

My career has been built on creating programs for students 3-22. My latest exploration is the post 22 life. The outcomes that we produce need to match what an adult will need to be successful, to be happy and fulfilled. What is the Reality? What is the Brutally Honest Truth? It starts by being part of something, belonging, a Tribe. 

Recently, I have been engaged with people who are looking to build living communities for the future and their children with special needs, while their children are still in elementary school. They are not doing this alone, but with others, to build community living for adults with special needs. 

Are you part of the LABBB Tribe? What will you offer to it? The benefits will be for your child, for their future, when you are not here to care for them anymore.

When they say, "it takes a village," this is very true. We just need to identify this village, engage with it, it is all about people, belonging, and being able to offer your services to build it. 

LABBB Social Media and Podcast


LABBB now has a Podcast and we will be releasing one show each month. Patric Barbieri, LABBB Executive Director, and Trish Costa LABBB Counselor, are the hosts for the show. 

To listen click here

DECA Conference at Holiday Inn
By: Carol Chaisson & Becky Niman
On Thursday December 15th, a group of LABBB Burlington High School students attended the DECA conference with students from Burlington High School. DECA is an academic competition for students from all across Massachusetts.
We had the chance to collaborate and meet with many of these students on the conference day. We spent the day at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough. The day was full of opportunities to interact outside of school. It was a fun-filled day of role-playing, networking, and dancing! 
The day started around 8:00am, where there was a roll call in the ballroom of the hotel. After the roll call, everyone moved to their designated role-playing area. Our group participated in a role-play that worked on skills that our students benefit from when going into the community or in a workplace environment. We focused on the "Two Truths and a Lie," role-play. When the activity was completed, the students went back into the ballroom to mingle with their peers and then had lunch. Lunch was followed by dancing and an awards ceremony. Our students received medals of participation.
It was a great experience...everyone worked hard and truly enjoyed themselves!

Clinical Corner - How to Stay Physically & Mentally Healthy This Winter
By: Lisa Gurdin
The new year brings hope for a better year. We set new year's resolutions to be healthier, more productive, and more engaged with family and friends. The new year also brings January and February, two of the coldest and most difficult months of the year. As New Englanders, we are challenged every year to stay healthy both physically and mentally. With degrees sometimes in the single digits, this can seem like an impossible task. Here are some ways we help our LABBB staff and students approach this challenge.

One of the most important ways we can stay healthy is to continue being active and spending at least some time outdoors. At LABBB, our students participate in outdoor recreational activities. They go ice skating, go outside for recess, and go for walks outside. When the weather does not cooperate with these activities, we take our students to the gym, fitness room, or walk around the school or workplace. Our staff and students also participate in weekly yoga sessions. Look for a list of organizations in our newsletter that offer special education recreational activities. Belmont Sport and Burlington Recreation are two such organizations. Local community centers and fitness centers also offer many opportunities for physical activities, including swimming, fitness classes, open gym for playing basketball, yoga classes, etc.

In addition to remaining physically active, we need to be mentally active even during the long, cold winter months. We can continue to nurture our minds through intellectual, mindful, and social activities. At LABBB, we provide our students with ongoing mindfulness exercises that help them maintain a more relaxed and positive outlook. Our students also participate in ongoing social experiences. The arts can be another social, intellectual, and emotional outlet. At various LABBB programs, students participate in music groups, art therapy, and integrated specials, such as gym, music, and art.

Spending quality time with friends and family outside of school is also very important. Staying connected helps us avoid feeling isolated and depressed.

During the next few months and beyond, remember to get out, be active, and spend time with friends and family. That is a sure way to beat the winter blues!

Community Citizenship in the LHS Allen/Goguen Classroom
By: Melissa Allen 
We completed our December charity project as part of our December Community Citizenship theme. We collected $493.00 from staff, students and families to purchase items to donate to veterans in need at the VA Hospital in Bedford, MA.

The students did a phenomenal job shopping for items such as hats, gloves, scarves and some other personal care items. We then enjoyed a lunch nearby at the Ninety-Nine restaurant. The next day, they dropped off the donations at the VA Hospital where Debbie, the Head of Voluntary Services, was so thankful to receive what we brought for the many homeless veterans they serve.

Students are also in the process of completing a Random Acts of Kindness calendar that contains a variety of things that they can do to be a good family, classroom, school and community citizen. Some of the items include bringing a canned good in for the local food bank, doing a chore at home without being asked, or helping a classmate. It has been wonderful to watch the students get so excited to complete tasks that are nice or helpful to others. They are required to complete at least 5 items of the calendar; some students are so enthusiastic that they are well on their way to doubling or tripling that! As students bring in their completed calendar, they love receiving their good citizen award in front of their cheering classmates and staff.

We are proud to have such great citizens in Room 825! 
Holiday SPOT Groups
By: Rachele Leonardo, Amanda Scheriff & Marina Simons
Our Fox Hill students love participating in weekly SPOT groups!  This December, the 3-5 classes made yummy snowman treats.  Both classes did a great job following a recipe, taking turns with supplies, and remembering to practice good cooking hygiene.  The snowmen didn't last long!

The K-2 classroom made sensory bottles in SPOT group this December.  The students loved being able to create their own unique bottles!  They did an awesome job requesting the supplies they wanted and carefully adding them to their bottle. 

How to Promote Proper Scissoring Positioning!
By: Joel Moulton, COTA/L
Here is a simple and quick technique you can use on the fly to help teach proper scissor positioning. Just add a piece of hook and loop (Velcro) to where the scissor blades cross and attach them to an upright surface. Make sure the smaller hole is at the top. The student approaches from the rear / handle and in most cases; he / she will assume the "thumbs up" position.  Once in hand, the student plucks the scissors from the hook and loop as they are now ready for the  cut.

Remember...   Please make using scissors purposeful to the individual student, by having a preferred item ready for cutting. Cutting open a snack package can be quite rewarding!  
Gifts for Giving
By: Rachele Leonardo

We are so proud of our John Glenn students for making this tie blanket for their Gifts for Giving child!  The students took turns participating in measuring, cutting, and tying tasks to create the blanket.  In addition to learning a new crafting skill, the students gained the experience of making and donating a gift to someone less fortunate.  We hope they will keep this memory with them for years to come!      
Classroom 632 at Lexington High School
By: Lori Doherty
The end of 2016 was filled with new challenges and new learning for the students in room 632!
Our students continue to work hard out at TRAC, The Rinks, Senior Centers, and DPW's, as well as many on campus jobs like recycling and plant care! Our Plant Care program has grown since it started in October. With the help and guidance of Tim Callahan, we have plants in approximately ten offices and departments on the LHS campus.  You can imagine the skill involved around this task...so much more than plant care. Our students work on speech and social skills, following directions and so much more.  

Our plant crew has also made a positive impact on our relationship with the LHS community, as they interact more and more with our students and learn what we are doing in our classrooms and community. We are really preparing for our entrance into the adult world after LABBB!

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

January is the time in the Recreation Department to reflect on the start of the school year a nd gear up for the rest of the school year and summer programming.
We have one of the biggest trips of the year coming up.  This started 2 years ago and has grown every year.  The Best Buddies Celtics Game at TD Garden on January 11th has 80 people attending.

We had two new activities start this year, Lucky Punch Boxing and Therapeutic Ceramics.  Boxing was covered in our last issue, but it was so popular that we now have two more sessions scheduled for this school year. 

The group for Therapeutic Ceramics is a small group of students that are very interested in the feel of the clay, the process, and of course, the end result.

In March, the bowling and Wednesday Recreation programs will start up again. 
Please look in your mailboxes in January for the registration forms to arrive for the February trips and the spring programs in March. 

Recreation Resource links:

Along with recreation activities at LABBB, we often receive information regarding other recreational activities that are going on in other communities.  Check these out at their websites.  

If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to prizzo@.labbb.net. We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

Click on the image to view the 2016-2017 Recreation Brochure

Gazebo Skating at The  Middlesex School
Dear Gazebo Skating friends:

I'm happy to let you know we will begin our 31st year of this special program on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at the Middlesex School rink in Concord, MA from 11:40 am - 12:40pm.  We'll skate every Saturday at this time until the end of February, thanks to Middlesex's support.  There may be one Saturday when we skate a bit later due to a youth hockey tournament. We'll let you know.

As most of you know, Middlesex School volunteer students, faculty and staff work to help students with special needs and non-special needs skaters to learn the basics and joy of gliding on a near-frictionless surface.  Volunteers have no special training beyond skating basics and an appreciation of the fun of helping others experience ice skating, but we seem to have done okay so far.

We are very informal. Siblings, family members, and friends are welcome.  Middlesex asks only that you sign a waiver (I'll forward later) and ensure that skaters have safe helmets and appropriate clothing (gloves, etc).  At the end of the season directly following the last skate, we plan to celebrate our progress and give participants a small token marking their achievement.

Best regards and Happy Holidays
John Marchand

P.S. I'll have blank waivers at the 1st session too.

Music Research Study at LABBB
by Harvard University

TILL Travel Opportunities
Towards Independent Living and Learning (TILL) has many recreational opportunities and travel excursions for students with special needs. If you listened to the LABBB Podcast, Dafna Krouk-Gordon spoke about the trips they have organized. If you click on the brochure below it will give you more information on TILL Travel.

Parent Resources and Events
  • School Cancellation Policy:   All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.
Specialized Adult/Transition Recreation Opportunities
(FNFC) Friday Night Fun Club, Bedford, Ann Seamans: AnnSeamans@aol.com or 781-275-8381
(MMArc) Minute Man Arc Afternoon Recreation Afternoon Recreation & Friday Nights (16+yrs), Darcie Heller: dheller@minutemanarc.org or C:978-201-2481/W: 978-287-7936 
(TILL) Toward Independent Living & Learning Travel:  Springboard Club, Dedham, high independence, Dale Belcher: Dale.Belcher@tillinc.org or 781-302-4619 (RARA) Recreational Adult Resource Association, Lowell Contact: Office@RARAagency.org or 978-453-5598 
Riverside Community Care: DDS Family Support Center, Woburn Kaley Stoner: kstoner@riversidecc.org or 781-686-6073  Lifelinks - DDS Family Support Center, Chelmsford, Rachel Ward Sullivan: wardsullivan@lifelinksinc.net or 978-349-3040  *verify current + open to public 
Greater Marlborough Programs Inc - Social & Recreation (DDS Family Support), Marlborough Jim Karami: Jim@gmpinc.org or 508-485-4227 ext. 1006 
Echo Enrichment, Burlington, Mary Ann Perreira,echonews@echoenrichment.com or 781-640-9351 
Trips R Us, Framingham, Mike Graham: mike@tripsrus.org or 508-405-0999  
Alternative Leisure (ALCS), Bedford, Drew Bilillies: alctrips@aol.com or 781-275-0023 
Music Makes Me Happy Chorus, Lexington, Marsha Martin: Marsha@mmmh-singers.org 
Concord Recreation, Anna Wood: awood@concordma.
Sudbury Therapeutic Recreation, Amber Forbes: ForbesA@sudbury.ma.us or 978-639-3257 

Belmont (SPORT) Special Programs Heidi Barbiero:  recreation@belmont-ma.gov  or 617-993-2760 

(SNAP) Special Needs Arts Program Chorus & Art, Lexington Contact: info@snaparts.org or 781-325-8025 
(GWArc) Greater Waltham Arc Recreation/Plus: Mike Mullins: Recreation@gwarc.org or 781-899-1344 x4120  Newton Therapeutic Recreation w/ Newton Athletes Unlimited, NewtonMark Kelly: mkelly@newtonma.gov or 617-796-1527 
Kids in Disability Sports (K.I.D.S.), Lowell, Info: info@kidsinc.us or 866-712-7799 
Access Sport America, Acton, BettyMiller: Betty@accessportamerica.org
Burlington Therapeutic Recreation, Burlington, Laurel Rossiter:
CTRS@burlington.org, 781-270-1937
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LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615