July 2018

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
2018 LABBB High School Graduation
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

Camp+Respite+Away Trips = Independence 

This past week I signed my sister up for overnight camp for another year.  For those of you reading this for the first time, she is a 41 year old adult with Down Syndrome. 

This is also the first year my 16 year old daughter will not be going to away camp after 7 years. It is bitter-sweet as she loves overnight camp, but she decided that she wants to spend more time working at her job this summer.

My sister attends Camp Calumet and they have a week of camping for adults with special needs every August. The session is called Friends of the Faithful. This has been a routine every year. We drop her off at a central location in Waltham where a bus takes a group of adults with special needs to Camp Calumet. We then pick her up at the same location the following weekend. 

All the campers on the bus are clearly excited to go to overnight camp. I know many of the campers because they are former LABBB graduates. They are living life to the fullest and this is something they look forward to every year. 

For my sister, camp was a vehicle for learning how to be independent. We didn't know it at the time, but this was one of the reasons her transition to group home living was fairly easy for her emotionally. 

My sister comes home from camp exhausted. She falls asleep in my car as I am taking her home. The best part of it is that they do not allow anyone to bring electronics. It is a time where they all just shut off. 

There are other camps for people with special needs of you are interested in learning about them. 

Here are some other camps that have been recommended and many of our students and graduates attend these camps during the summer. 

We want to welcome all the new students and parents to the LABBB family. This is a new and exciting transition for your son or daughter. 

Have a Great Summer!

Whole Foods: A Committed Community Partner
By:  Theresa LeBlanc, Transition Specialist

Since the days of Bread & Circus in the 1990's, students at LABBB have been experiencing what it's like to work for a company dedicated to quality food, their customers, the environment and especially, the community. Now known as Whole Foods Market, that level of commitment continues as the company recognizes the value of what our students can bring to their business. This past school year is no exception.
As I sit with a LABBB student in another Whole Foods new employee orientation (I've been through at least 4 in recent years), I can't help but truly appreciate the commitment our partner stores of Bedford and Fresh Pond have made to the LABBB Collaborative Program as well as to other organizations working with people with disabilities. From providing a wide range of tasks to some of our most challenged students, to recognizing the value of a young person's outgoing personality or their determination to become an independent adult, LABBB students, past and present, have become part-time and full-time team members in many Whole Foods Markets in the area. And the roles of our students are not limited to bagging as I recently have seen current and former students as Team Members in the cheese, bakery, grocery and customer service departments.
Their openness to hire and support our students and work through the myriad of unique issues that may pop up in order to provide them with the opportunity to grow in confidence, skill, and independence is an example of a company dedicated to their customers and their community.   So next time you drop into a Whole Foods, especially in one of our partner stores in Bedford or Cambridge, be aware that despite their growth through their recent partnership with Amazon, they continue to reflect the values of a small neighborhood store and their dedication to all of the residents in their community.

LABBB High School Graduation Picture Gallery
Click on the picture to view the LABBB High School Graduation picture gallery. 

Chenery Best Buddies Finish Strong!
By: Caroline Brown
The Best Buddies program at Chenery continues to be full of fun and exciting events and activities, both within and outside of school. In May, LABBB students and their buddies participated in a field day activity, complete with bean bag toss, giant outdoor bowling, relay races, and, of course, popsicles! Other highlights from the year include the Friendship Walk 5k in Milton, our Halloween extravanganza, building gingerbread houses before the holidays, Valentine's Day festivities, and plenty of other fun happenings throughout the year.
The two chapter co-presidents participated in the Best Buddies Challenge bike ride along with their parents. Several of our students, along with their families and some buddies attended the kick-off party at Harvard Stadium. Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, James White, David Andrews, Ted Karras, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Christian Fauria, and Dan Koppen all played in the touch football game, and a good time was had by all!

In June, all of the Chenery buddies were invited to attend the Chenery graduation. The buddies came to wish their friends well and see them off to high school. While we will certainly miss the eighth grade graduates, everyone at Chenery is looking forward to another year of good times with Best Buddies!

Clinical Corner: 
Strategies for a Successful Summer Break
Tips for managing your kid's downtime to help make it relaxing for everyone!
Beth Arky, Child Mind Institute
By: Kristine Lacey

As we all know, summer and vacation time can be quite challenging for some students and their families. As we enter July and August, all of our kids can experience many changes in routines and this can be difficult.  The following article by Beth Arky gives some ideas on what important strategies may be helpful.

While your average child may be thrilled by the end of the school year, anticipating lazy days and sleeping in, the prospect of summer break isn't quite that unalloyed pleasure for parents. If you have a child with emotional or developmental disabilities who is challenging in the best of times, nothing calls on whatever extra powers you might possess more than the long break that lies ahead.

Here are some tips to help keep your child on track so summer can be as rewarding as possible for everyone in the family.

Maintain your schedule
While you may never be able to duplicate the structure school provides, it helps to maintain the school year's daily schedule, tight down to meal times and bedtime, as much as possible.

Make it visual
Kids who thrive on predictability and are prone to panic over transitions-including those on the autism spectrum-benefit from posted schedules that outline what will happen throughout the day (i.e., 7am: Wake up, go to the bathroom, wash face...8am: breakfast...) Depending on your child's developmental level, simple pictures can also help.

Make Plans
Try to schedule as many activities as possible, as early as possible, and keep you kids posted.

Get outdoors
Home can become a safe cocoon, especially for children with sensory issues who can feel assaulted by extra sights and sounds, or those who have trouble with social interactions.  But no child should spend hours in from of a screen. Even if camp isn't in the cards, try to find something your child enjoys-riding a bike or scooter, playing tag, or splashing at the community pool, water park, or beach-and do it.  Plus, physical activity is good for everyone's mind, body and spirit, especially those kids with energy to burn.

Maintain-or create-a behavioral system
Children and teens, especially, may act like they want to be in charge, but the truth is they feel safer knowing exactly what you expect of them and the rewards that result from good behavior.  This is never truer than during the seemingly boundless and boundary-free summer break. You should choose the two or three most desired positive behaviors to nurture with consistent and positive reinforcement, and try to ignore as many of the negative ones as possible.

Pinpoint your child's anxieties
Summer can bring camp, new activities, and different authority figures like new sitters, all which can be stressful.  First, says psychologist Clark Goldstein, you need to figure out your child's fears, whether it's separating from you or striking out at baseball. If you're having trouble doing this, try asking open-ended questions. Rather than pose yes or no questions like "Are you worried about camp?" ask "How are you feeling about going to camp?" once you know, you can encourage her to face her fear. The goal is to teach her that feeling anxious is uncomfortable but anxiety will ebb if you push through it.

Give the child time to adjust
A technique called gradual exposure is a good way of relieving a child's anxiety about a new experience. For instance, says Dr. Goldstein, if he has separation anxiety or social anxiety he's worried that others won't like him or he'll embarrass himself in baseball, you might watch the entire first game.  The next time, you could stand further back or leave at an appointed time. Eventually, you'll be able to drop off your now comfortable child. It can also be helpful to give those working with him a head's up, without overstepping your bounds. Your goal is to set your child up for success; that includes making sure all the adults are on the same page.

Prepare yourself for some tough times
Even with the best laid plans, you may see some regression and worsening behavior over vacation.  Give yourself a break for not being able to magically avoid it. Be ready to hold your ground in as calm, firm and consistent a manner as possible.
We've had a lot of fun in room 115 at LABBB Memorial
By: Elizabeth McNulty
Most recently, we did a unit on butterflies! This included learning the life cycle and anatomy of a butterfly. All the students worked hard on labeling and identifying new vocabulary such as caterpillar, chrysalis, wings, thorax, and abdomen. To make a multi-sensory learning environment, we played movement games (going on a scavenger hunt to find the parts of a butterfly around the school), sequencing events in the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", and used food to represent the different phases of the life cycle of a butterfly! 

We had the opportunity to watch the life cycle of an actual butterfly in our classroom. The students enjoyed documenting all the different stages, from watching the caterpillars form into a chrysalis to seeing them emerge into a butterfly! To wrap up our unit, we released the butterflies into the Butterfly Garden at Memorial Elementary!
Additionally, the students in room 115 and 116 did a wonderful job singing in the Memorial Day concert and saying the Pledge of Allegiance in front of their peers, faculty, and parents!
We are excited to start our summer program. This past week the students had a great time bowling and swimming!

LABBB's Summer Car Wash - A Big Hit
By Tina Langone
LABBB's first car wash of the summer was a huge success!  There was a steady flow of cars and the students in class 825 were ready!  They used the skills they learned all year to work as a team. Some washed, some dried, some collected money and some held signs.   The first car wash raised over $300!  Polina was in charge of recruiting cars on worthern road. "It was good. I danced holding a poster," said Polina. When asked how many cars she brought in, "she replied, "I don't know, maybe 5."  

LABBB will be holding a car wash every Tuesday in July from 10-12:30 at Lexington High school. Your donation will benefit LABBB Collaborative recreation department. We hope to see you all there!

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

Recreation Updates

Now that the school year has come to an end, the Recreation and Adapted Physical Education Departments gear up for the coming year.

Our July schedule is ready and we are looking forward to some hot summer days and fun in the sun.

The schedule for APE classes for the fall have been given out to the staff.  Some tweaks may be made when we come back in September, but that is to be expected.

The new Recreation Brochure for the 2018 - 2019 school year is being developed now and should be in the the mail the second week of August.

It has been a good year with some new adventures. We look forward to more new adventures next school year.  


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: www.specialolympicsma.org

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