March 2019

          A LABBB Collaborative        Newsletter
   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
LABBB at the Celtics Game!
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Throwing Obstacles

Recently, I have been doing some work with a person that I graduated high school with. She has become an author of many books and we have shared many of our professional goals we have been working on, which are very similar.  I wanted to interview her on our LABBB podcast, but the criteria didn't meet the special education genre. 

A few weeks ago she was on a talk show being interviewed and she mentioned that she has dyslexia. I called her up and asked her about it and then asked her if she would be willing to come on the LABBB podcast to talk about her life with dyslexia and she enthusiastically agreed. This is a story of a person who was very successful as a marketing leader in big businesses and then changed career directions and became a career/business coach and an author of several books. I was very eager to talk with because life stories are so inspirational to others who may have been struggling with similar issues. 

This reminded me of the interview I did with Jenna, a Harvard Ph.D researcher, who told me she had ADHD after our first podcast. I was impressed with her openness to talk about her life with ADHD. We had her back to do a second interview about her life with ADHS and the information she gave on the podcast was very passionate and informative.  

Sometimes we envision a clear path to a goal, or we see others reaching goals and have the perception that it must have been easy for them, but each of us encounter obstacles. It could be a special need, dyslexia, ADD, health, or finances. What if I find is thematic in these stories is that there was a person in their life that believed in them. When everyone around them failed to acknowledge them, it was that one teacher or mentor who understood what they were going through and they made a connection. This gave them the spirit, the grit, the passion to keep moving and improving themselves. 

Educators in special education understand these obstacles all too well, but they are the ones who are saying, "Give this person an opportunity, give them a chance to be part  of the community, give them a chance to try, give them a chance to integrate, all the while obstacles are being thrown at them. The world is putting up enough obstacles, we are here to see how we can transcend them. 

When I talk with my friend, I don't see the "dyslexia" I see the enthusiastic author. In Jenna, I don't see the "ADHD," I see the passionate researcher. We believe in inclusion and our educators in LABBB are trying to show the community our students strengths and how they can fit in anywhere, not the "special need." In LABBB we see our students part of inclusive settings and being an essential part of their school community.

We are going to continue to get obstacles thrown at us, but we never stop searching for opportunities in our schools, businesses, and communities to be included. We are helping others look beyond the special need to see the student. 

This is the work we are passionate about because we believe in our mission. 

P atric
LABBB Students Helping Local Families in Need
By: Alicia Hertz
One of the hallmarks of the community experience through LABBB's Transition Department is immersing students in their community to acquire vital functional skills while they simultaneously positively contribute to their community. This mission is perfectly illustrated at our Whole Foods supported work sites where LABBB students assemble food bags for charity. This process requires students to use many skills, including: following a list to locate items within the store, adhering to a budget, bagging items according to size and weight, creating a legible label of the items within the bag, and calculating the price of all items in the bag. 

This task, like all tasks at LABBB worksites, helps students to gain work readiness skills, such as: working on a team, following supervisor directions, and interacting appropriately with their supervisor. When bags are purchased by Whole Foods customers, they are put aside for pick up by a local food pantry. This is just one example of the reciprocal benefit of the community experience for our students and the community!
Clinical Corner: Choices, Choices, Choices
By: Kaitlin Taylor
How many times have you been told to "provide your student with choices throughout the day?" This phrase makes it into many students' IEPs and behavior plans. But, why? Why do we emphasize having choices so much?

We emphasize having choices whenever possible because our students often do not get much choice in their everyday lives. They do not get to choose when they wake up, what they eat, what they wear, where they go, when they go to school, or what work they have to do. When we give them choice, we empower them to be in control of a part of their day.

"But, wait," you may say. "My student always chooses what they get to do. They choose to not follow directions or not eat their sandwich every day!" You may be right about this, but typically students are making choices to not follow directions because they lack the skill to follow the direction or are unsure of when they will be able to exert control over their choices in the future. When this occurs, it may be helpful to offer a group of activities or items to choose from. This helps them feel empowered, but still gives them an opportunity to follow through with expectations. For example, when getting dressed in the morning, tell your student they need to pick out a long sleeved shirt but they can choose which long sleeved shirt they would like to wear.

Helping student feel confident and empowered is part of our job as teacher, parents, and caregivers. Let's help them make good choices throughout their day!
Lasagna DECA Dinner to GO!
By: Susan Good
LABBB Bedford staff and students would like to give a very special Thank You to Caroline Sepe, one of our devoted Best Buddies and our classroom intern who chose LABBB Bedford as a recipient for her DECA fundraising project.  

Caroline and her DECA teammates collaborated on a homemade lasagna project for their fundraising efforts in order to provide classrooms funds to make purchases for our students throughout the year. Caroline's DECA team, her family, and especially her grandmother, Sestina Macaro, made 15 pans of lasagna for the project. Caroline's DECA team first advertised then took orders and pre-sold individual dinners complete with delicious lasagna, string beans, and a fresh roll in a to-go packageAlthough, with a pending snow storm on January 12th (the pick up dinner date) the team decided to move the date to Monday, January 11th. From 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm that evening, customers drove to Caroline's family home to pick up their dinners.  Incredibly, 175 dinners were sold and distributed that night at the Sepe home. 

Caroline and her team ultimately raised $1500 for our classrooms.  We are very touched by Caroline's compassion, desire, and efforts to help our LABBB family and most importantly the students directly. Caroline is a very kind, caring, and generous friend to everyone. She never hesitates to take time out of her day to talk to our students no matter what her schedule presents. 

LABBB will use the money raised for miscellaneous purchases in the future.  This fundraiser was a HUGE success thanks to Caroline, her family, and her DECA team Lauren, Annika, Caroline, Grace, Niamh, Jack & Adam.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Your Bedford LABBB Staff
LABBB Graduate
by: Susan Good
The LABBB Bedford Family would like to extend a big Congratulations to Caitlyn Kline on turning 22 and graduating from LABBB Bedford!  Caitlyn began her tenure here at LABBB 7 years ago and is now a very proud graduate! Caitlyn joined our Lexington LABBB program in 2012 and then after two years transitioned to our Bedford site. Caitlyn has made her mark here at LABBB with her spunky personality affecting everyone she crossed paths with over the years. She has made many friendships amongst students and staff alike.  Her charm, wittiness, and humor along with her morning greetings, smiles, spontaneous hugs, and embellishing us with who was her favorite teacher will definitely be missed by all.

We wish Caitlyn the best of luck in all her new endeavors.  We know you have a great support system within your family and in your community. We look forward to seeing you at the LABBB reunions and alumni events!  

Peace Out Caitlyn!

Love, Your LABBB Family

Book Fair by LABBB Graduate Author

2019 LABBB Transition Fair

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

We are excited to offer 2 new activities this March:
  • After school Yoga, run by our very own Lisa Poirier.
  • Performance LABBB has changed a bit and has moved to the Black Box Theater at Lexington High School. This is a smaller venue but we are very excited to have the new space.  Think Shakespeare LABBB's way, orchestrated by our very own David Dooks.

Two of our favorite after school activities return in March: Bowling and Wednesday Recreation

Special Olympics will be held on May 1. Check your mail soon for the LABBB Special Olympics sign up flyer. All sign-ups will be done on line
this  year (no papers to return).  Please make sure to meet the sign up deadline of April 1st.  This is a fun day for all and we don't want anyone to miss out.

Upcoming Fundraisers for LABBB:
  • Night Glow Golfing. April 25th, Stone Meadow in Lexington, MA for LABBB parents and staff.
  • Lucky 13 Fitness in Burlington has teamed up for a Saturday workout on May 11, for LABBB families and staff. Flyers with more information will be sent in the mail, for anyone interested in participating in these events.  Spaces will go quickly.  


A LABBB Podcast

In this episode, we were joined by Amanda Scheriff, LABBB Speech Pathologist. Amanda recently completed a workshop series with LABBB parents from our Fox Hill, Butler, Memorial and Wellington elementary programs; teaching them skills about modeling for successful communication using AAC. Educators, parents, and anyone in the special education field will find this podcast extremely valuable. Ultimately, our goal is to help our students become independent communicators and using a consistent modeling system in school and at home will give our students the best opportunity in meeting this goal. Amanda talks about the Model as a MASTER Pal program and how she is developing this in the LABBB programs.

Student Recreation Sports, Music & Art Resources

Recreation Links
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