February 2020

A LABBB Collaborative        Newsletter
   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
Hockey Game Best Buddies!
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
T ransition Assessments

This is not a Transition Assessment for a student, this one is for parents. 

Have you taken the time to assess where you are in planning for your child's future transition? What have you learned? Who have you spoken to? Are you aware of what you need along the way? W here are you in the transition process? Are you on track for a successful transition? What is the next step?

Remember to speak to the people who have had success, challenges, and struggled in the post-22 world. Speak to as many people who are living it and families who have been there, this is the data you need. 

There are many items to get in order. Have you considered guardianship, a special needs trust, AFC, PCA, have you viewed adult centers, housing options, have you done a 688, have you learned what other students are doing when they have graduated? Have you talked with your family about plans for the future? Who will be the guardian when you're not here? What about unexpected outcomes that would require plans to be expedited? Who will be the Rep Payee? Are siblings part of this process? Where can they get support? 

We want you to be prepared by taking a family assessment of where you are in the process. Transition happens every year and we prepare for the next school year, but Post-22 is different, we can't wait until the final year to prepare, this needs to be done consistently along the way to turning 22. 

If you have taken an assessment and haven't done anything, the LABBB Transition Fair is one way to get started. This is why we built it. We will see parents from our elementary, middle school, and high school programs. We will also see our alumni parents. Last year we had parents attend and their daughter graduated in 1991!   Our Transition conference will be on Thursday April 16, 2020.

Our job is to keep bringing this to your attention because we know, hear, and actually see many of our graduates and what they are doing. We talk with alumni parents. We are not predicting the future, we are constantly learning by our students' and parents' experiences in real time. 

LABBB 2020 Transition Fair

Independence in your Home
By: Tina Langone 

Class 825's theme for the month of January is 'Independence in your Home'.  In the classroom, we have been practicing the steps to doing our laundry, reading safety stories about cooking on a stove, and making safety plans in case of a fire.  To top off our theme, we took a trip to Home Goods in Bedford to find items necessary to live on our own. Some of the items we looked for included: bed sheets, pillows, pots and pans, and bath mats.  To prepare for the trip we looked up the MBTA schedule and worked on time management. We made sure we had enough money for the bus to and from school. Many of us had to work on not spending our bus money on the trip.  Before heading back, we had a fun lunch at The Great Wall.

Growing in Winter
By: Crystal Kaloostian
Recently, in class, we have been learning about Plants during Science. We have discussed the parts of the plant, how it grows (life cycle), and what it needs to grow(water, soil, and sun). To demonstrate that, we have made window bag plants. We put seeds, a tiny bit of dirt for nutrients, and water into sandwich baggies and taped them to the window.

The students thought this was weird, because who has ever seen a plant grow without a pot full of soil, and who has ever heard of planting seeds in winter. But suddenly, within 1 week, all the seeds began to sprout and the students have been overjoyed to actually watch their plants grow. They realized that plants will find a way to sprout even in winter.

This experiment in science really reminded me of what it means to be a special education teacher. Here we have students who don't always have everything we think they need to make gains in education. We as teachers supply them with their needs of warmth, water (supports), and sunlight (information). Due to that, we can watch those who don't always have a lot of internal supports and who struggle with fighting against their own challenges or disabilities, sprout and make unexpected gains. This reminds us that with a solid foundation and help any student can grow.

Table Service Restaurant Unit: BBQ Style!
By: LABBB Transition Program Staff at Belmont High
Three times a year, the LABBB Transition Program focuses on restaurant skills at various table service establishments. Over the past few years, we visited a wide variety of table service restaurants, such as The 99, Cambridge Common, and Johnny Rockets. All of these restaurants were very good. However, after many class discussions, we realized that we have not been listening to our students. We talk about food all of the time in class, and our students have such a great amount of culinary knowledge and interest in trying new things. Yet, our restaurant choices have not reflected their vision. Additionally, our students come from various cultural backgrounds with fantastic dishes that are prepared in their home. So, the time has come for our curriculum to match our students' cultural background and vision!
With this in mind, our second restaurant trip focused on our students' vision. So, we explored BBQ at Redbones in Davis Square. We made our way to Redbones via public transportation. After learning BBQ menu vocabulary, (pulled, slaw, plates, hush puppies), we continued our focus on independently splitting the bill. 

After a lot of preparation by the staff, we are always concerned about how our students liked the activity. Upon finishing our meal, I wanted to know if it was all worth while, so I made my way over to one of the student tables and I asked how it was. The one phrase that signifies someone's pleasure after a meal was belted out, "I'm so full!"  
That one phrase let me know that we have now begun to listen to our students. I wonder where our third restaurant trip will take us?
Butler Celebrates the 100th Day of School!
By: Jessica Stuart

Students in Ms. Stuart's class have been working hard throughout the year on  counting in groups of 5's and 10's. Each morning as part of their class morning meeting, students track the number of days in school on a ten frame chart, which provides a clear visual for the students. This also allows students to work on grouping and place values. On the 100th day of school, each student brought in 100 items from home and presented to their friends whether they counted in groups of 5's or 10's. 

Arlington High School Best Buddies are feeling the LOVE!
By: Erica Wong
Arlington High School Best Buddies hosted another one of their awesome monthly events to celebrate Valentine's Day! The theme of Best Buddies is always based on friendship, but this fun and interactive event allowed each buddy the opportunity to express their appreciation towards one another.
In addition to monthly group events, the AHS Best Buddies meet frequently to have lunch as well as the Buddies visiting during their open study blocks to spend time together. 

Career Directions Starts A New Journey 
By: Sarah Cronin
LABBB Career Directions continues to evolve, creating numerous opportunities for transitional exploration and exposure for our students, who are now participating in multiple community based experiences. We have students who access Corporate Chefs at Middlesex Community College at the Lowell Campus to further their culinary and job skills. Students have had the opportunity to go to a local farm, as well as to The Garden at Elm Bank in Wellesley to work on horticultural skills. Retail work experience has also been explored through local businesses. Career Directions even has a student interning with LABBB PE staff.
Additionally, we are grateful to have three students currently taking courses at Bedford High School. They are accessing mainstream classes that include: Food and Nutrition; Robotics, and Digital Photography.
Finally, we have 3 seniors who will be graduating this June, one of whom has already successfully completed an online English course this past fall at Middlesex Community College. He is currently attending Middlesex Community College this semester within a dual-enrollment model to access more academic courses.
The Career Directions program is providing students with a diverse platform to meet their individualized transition needs, while positioning them to be successful young adults.

Clinical Corner: What to do when your kid doesn't have school...
By: Kaitlin Taylor, M.S, BCBA, LABA

Professional days, snow days, vacation weeks...the winter is filled with days in which your student is not at school. How do you fill their time? Here are some helpful tips and ideas to help your day (or week) off run smoothly.

  • Have a schedule.
    • Our students do best when they know what to expect. This is true at school, at home, in the community, and especially on days off. Try to visually display what you will be doing all week and break down your schedule further if necessary.
  • Structured down time.
    • Down time sounds like a great idea, but it can be a really challenging time for most of our students. Instead of expecting your student to entertain themselves, find a few fun activities that are low effort, but high fun. Think crafts, games, and closed-ended activities.
  • Maintain skills.
    • Practice some academic or activity of daily living skills to help keep your student on track for when they get back to school.
  • Schedule some fun with a peer.
    • This is a great time for students to bond with their peers outside of the school environment. Schedule some time for your student to hang out with their peers and have a fun time!
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator

As we look forward to spring, a new season of bowling and walking programs will be gearing up. Information and signup sheets have been mailed for the following:
  • Tuesday and Thursday Bowling and Wednesday Rec. Please make note of the due date which is February 10th.
  • Dave and Busters trips. These are very popular, so make sure to get your registration in ASAP (but no later than the due date on the form).
Additionally, look for the Pillow Polo Game and Trampoline park signups to come in the mail in February and March. Performance LABBB is still being developed with a potential new location for practices and performance. More information will be coming.

Save the Date for upcoming events:

  • March 5, 2020 - Start date for Thursday Spring Bowling.
  • March 5, 2020 - LABBB Alumni Dance, St. Brigid's Parish Hall 6:30-9:00 PM
  • March 11, 2020 - 1st Pillow Polo Game, Staff vs Students, Lexington High Gym 6-8:00 PM.
  • March 24, 2020 - Start date for Tuesday Spring Bowling.
  • March 25, 2020 - Start date for Wednesday Recreation.
  • April 1, 2020 - Best Buddies Trip to Celtics Game.
  • May 22, 2020 - Special Olympics.
  • June 4, 2020 - LABBB Alumni Dance at St. Brigid's Parish Hall, 6:30-9:00 PM
  • June 11, 2020 - LABBB Graduation.

Looking forward to 2020 being a great year of fun and socializing from @LABBBREC

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.
October 24       Leo Rotman and Karen Mariscal: Special Needs Planning
November 21    Patric Barbieri, Special Needs family Planning
January 16       Mass Advocates: Transition planning
February 27      LABBB Post 22 Adult Program
March 26          Federation of Children with Special Needs
April 30            TBA
May 28             Camille Grimes: Adult Foster Care (AFC)

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

Woodland Guest House Updates


A LABBB Podcast

In episode #20 we talk about sibling support with Emily Rubin. Emily is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UMASS Medical School and Director of Sibling Support at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center. She is also Co-founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Sibling Support Network (MSSN). Emily is a Licensed Social Worker.

This was a special podcast and it was a reflective experience for me as a sibling of a sister with special needs. Emily shares her research on sibling support groups and her perspective and knowledge on this subject is profound. This is a must listen for families and siblings and there are many resources you can access.

Episode #15: Dyslexia and Working Your Strengths with Kathy Murphy 

Recreation, Sports, Music & Art Resources Links

Bina Farm Center

LABBB Contacts and Social Media

Like us on Facebook 

View on Instagram 

Follow us on Twitter

  Follow me on Twitter  (LABBB  Recreation Twitter)