June 2018

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
The Woodland Open House Unites Current LABBB Students and Alumni

It was great to see everyone who came out to our Woodland Open House. We had a significant number of LABBB alumni visit as well as current LABBB students and families, and with most LABBB events, this turned into a "community event." 

We had no choice but to move forward with the open house even though construction upgrades were going on, but we saw this as an opportunity to show how we are working towards improving the home to make this a comfortable environment for all students who will be participating in the respite program. 

On Wednesday, May 30, we had a steady stream of visitors from 3:00pm-6:15pm. It was amazing to see so many people interested and eager for their son or daughter to be part of this. The folks from TILL were also there to talk about how the respite program will work as they will be managing this component. We have information on our website if you would like to view it or you can click here:  Woodland Respite Information. 

My job was to greet people as they arrived at the open house. One of the first people I met was a gentleman that has a brother who graduated from LABBB many years ago. He is beginning to go through the same guardianship issues that my family went through when my parents passed. His father passed away not to long ago, and his mom will not be able to care for her son with special needs for too much longer. I noticed the look he had, a sibling that is overwhelmed; he knew this day would come, but now it is here and no one prepared him. It is a feeling of despair, you are looking for someone to help, but you are not sure where to turn. 

This is eventually going to happen with everyone, we just don't plan for it. The problem is that most people will never prepare until something drastic happens, like the passing of their parents. Now what? The sibling is grieving, and at the same time, they need to take care of their brother or sister with special needs. This gentleman decided to come to the open house for one reason and he found that he now has a resource to help him through this difficult time. "This is the benefit of being part of a community," I told him!

LABBB is committed to supporting alumni families. No one has to do this alone. As we venture into this project, we are finding that this is exactly what families need. It is part of the transition process that continues far beyond 22. It is preparing for the future and learning what the possibilities are. LABBB is going to continue to create a way to close this gap between pre-and post 22. We want to be recognized as a support and resource for life. 

ICEI Students' Community Service at Middlesex Community College
By: Clara Palmer 
Students in the ICEI Program have worked hard in their classes this semester at MCC! Between classes, homework, and commuting to and from campus, we have also found some time to give back to the campus through community service! Students volunteered to clean up the Community Garden, worked at the Food Pantry, and helped out in the Sports and Recreation Department.
At the Community Garden, we attended the annual garden clean-up event. We helped to dig up weeds, clear last year's plants, and stop the strawberries from invading the paths! The Sustainability Committee provided the equipment, and we worked with many other students to revive the whole area for the planting season.
ICEI students have also signed up to have a plot in the garden, where we will plant vegetables and tend to them during the days. This is a great opportunity to learn practical gardening skills while chatting with nearby gardeners. Food grown in the garden is given to the food pantry, which is available to all students on campus.
Another successful volunteer opportunity for our ICEI students this semester was the MCC Food Pantry. Some of our students used their free time to help pick up donations and deliver them to the pantry each week. This community service job was a great way for students to give back to the community and make new connections at the college.
Before they set out, the students begin by filling out a log with the start time and their names. They then walk to various pickup points around campus, such as the campus center, the administration building, the library, and the academic buildings. They get great exercise walking around campus and lifting the sometimes very heavy donations! Whether it was raining, sunny, snowing, or freezing, the students were out picking up all times of year.
At each donation bin, the students record how many items they collected. Many different types of items are donated-canned food, baking mixes, large drinks, boxes of cereal, as well as various toiletries like detergent, toothpaste, and makeup. After all the bins are emptied, the students bring all the items to the food pantry drop-off center in the Bedford House. They then tally up the total and record it in the log, which is helpful for the pantry staff to track donations.
At the end of the semester, the students were invited into the food pantry itself. Jonathan Crockett, the Coordinator of Athletics, Health & Wellness at MCC, showed the students how the donations are collected and sorted. This was a great opportunity for them to see what goes on behind the scenes. Crockett also spoke about the MCC students, faculty, and staff who greatly benefit from the pantry. Overall, this volunteer job was a positive and educational experience for our students. They look forward to volunteering again next semester!
Another one of our students set up a volunteer opportunity with the Sports and Recreation Department on campus. He campaigned to work weekly, handing out information and freebies from the Sports and Recreation Programs.
All of these opportunities were great additions to our students' resumes, and made everyone feel more connected with the campus community. We hope to continue to find these opportunities here on campus in coming semesters.  

Hands-on Experiences
By: Tim Callahan, Transition Counselor
Benjamin Franklin (a highly accomplished non-typical learner with only 2 years of formal schooling) once said, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." This is often the philosophy behind the Community Experience exploration trips and guest speakers that are offered during many Occupational Education classes here at LABBB Collaborative.
Occupational Education is an individualized class provided by Transition Department staff. Activities include interviewing practice, role playing, professional greetings, proper work attire, resume writing, expected and unexpected 'work behaviors,' and exploring work interests. Classes also include, especially for younger students, various on-campus jobs such as operating the Coffee Cart, delivering mail on the Lexington High School (LHS) campus, interioior landscaping (installing and maintaining plants in offices and common areas of the school), shredding documents, updating bulletin boards, and maintaining the grounds of the LHS campus. These on-campus jobs allow students to begin learning the soft skills necessary for volunteering, interning, or working within the community.
Perhaps the most effective and meaningful teaching method that I have found to expose students to 'the work world' is to visit up-and-running Community Experiene Sites of interest, as well as listen to guest speakers.
Over the past few years, I have taken students on many tours Community Experience Site tours. At these sites I have introduced students to employers, fellow employees, and other supporters of LABBB Collaborative within the community. I have found that this is the best way to encourage students' development of 'career interests.' Students also get their 'real life' questions answered by professionals in the field.
Some of the places that we have toured include the kitchen at Minuteman High School, Grace Chapel, Bedford Police Station, Department of Public Works (DPW), MultiPlan, Corporate Chefs, Ed Burns Arena, and CVS.
Recently, I toured the DPW with a student named Brian, who was unsure which Community Experience Site he might want to explore when he started participating next session. While he was there he met the Eric, the head of the Highway Department, and was given a hands-on tour of all departments, the equipment, and the maps and technology used to maintain all town services. Brian asked wonderful questions about the maps while in the Engineering Department. He also enjoyed seeing the dumptrucks and heavy equipment. He asked, "Can students work here? I would like it here."
Brian's mom later explained that Brian was unsure what jobs he might like to explore, but thought it was promising that he was so interested in the DPW. "Brian's father works at a place like that in the Engineering Department. I'm not surprised that he had fun." She also asked, "Could he try a place like that?"   
It was explained that students at LABBB work with the DPW to collect recycling in various town buildings, as well as maintain school fields and town parks and trails. It was explained that Brian could be in close proximity to the work that he likes, while participating in his first entry-level Internship Experience.
Based on 1, 45-minute tour, a student's Community Experience programming was established, and several others were given the opportunity to explore.
Fun with Figurative Language!
By: Kimberly Roberts
This spring, Mrs. Tomkiewicz's classroom at Chenery Middle School has been busy learning about figurative language in Speech Group.  Due to its indirect nature, figurative language can be challenging for our students to understand and create further language and social barriers with their typical aged peers; so in Mrs. T's classroom we work hard to make these abstract concepts as concrete (and fun!) as possible! Through use of stories, videos and SmartBoard activities, we learned the differences between different figurative language types including idioms, hyperboles, similes and metaphors. To complete our figurative language unit, each student practiced differentiating between idioms and hyperboles by creating their own idiom-ade and hyperbol-tea stand! With lots of hard work and practice, understanding figurative language has become a piece of cake!

Clinical Corner: Collaboration is Key!
By Kaitlin Taylor, M.S., BCBA, LABA
Speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, applied behavior analysis, special education teachers, vocational teachers, teaching assistants...we have them all here! Multidisciplinary collaboration is an important component of making our students successful here at the LABBB Collaborative. It is a process that staff rely on here at LABBB to make the students' educational experience the best it possibly can be.
Current LABBB BCBAs, Kaitlin Taylor and Lydie DeFuria, along with former LABBB BCBA, Lisa Gurdin, presented at the 2018 MassABA Conference in early May to share about the importance of collaboration among all members of a student's team. They presented on the benefits of, challenges to, and ethics of collaboration with providers from varying fields. The presentation and its overall message "collaboration is great!" were well received. 
Kaitlin, Lydie, and Lisa hope to present at more conferences in the future!
LABBB presents Amplifi Adaptive Music Programs


Save the Date: LABBB Reunion Dance

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

Recreation Updates

LABBB Glamping Trip May 31-2, 2018

This year, we wanted to experience something new, so tried "Glamping!" in Yurt's. We were welcomed at Dixon's Campground in York, Maine with 14 LABBB Glampers. We climbed Mount Agamenticus, visited Nubble Light and Fort McClary just to name a few of our adventures. 

Some of our weekly programs are coming to an end this month. 
See photos below of our top bowlers (Susan C., Kristen M., Gillian G., Michael P., Justin K & Alec G.) and our green shirt winner for mini golf (Alex G.)

Upcoming Events:

  • 2-Beginner Kayaking programs
  • Dates: 6/12/18 and 6/19/18 (Tuesdays)
  • Time: 4:30-7:00pm
  • Lake Cochituate in Wayland
Global Flight Adventures
  • Flight Simulation Center.
  • We will start with a one day trip (date TBD), then possibly look into a monthly trip if we have the interest.
We are also looking into doing some hiking trips as a day trip and overnight. Stay tuned.  


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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