Sharing best practices and promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs    
Executive Director's Message

If you are interested, there is a podcast you can listen to which has many topics related to special needs planning. We have discussed many of these topics over the years during our parent evenings and our Transition fair. If you click on the following link you will see all the topics: Parenting Special Needs. For example, they have a podcast that discusses ABLE accounts!

We have one more parent night scheduled this year on Thursday, May 20. We will be sharing a resource with you called Adult Family Care. This is a resource you should learn about if you are looking for funds that can pay a caregiver to provide daily living skills support for your child in your home. It can provide anywhere from $9,000-$18,000 annually.

The resources that we share with you may not apply to you right now. This is why we keep holding workshops that talk about special needs planning as an aggregate of actions on a timeline. For example, does your child qualify or currently have SSI/SSDI? Do you know their bank account cannot exceed $2000? Most of us know this, but if you have additional funds that are above $2,000, there is a solution called the ABLE Account from Fidelity. If you sign up for this account, and it is very easy to do online, you can accrue funds over $2,000 and it is not counted in your child's overall assets. Who is your child's Rep payee? It doesn't need to be you, it can be delegated and there are agencies that offer this service.

Is guardianship right for your child? Do you know that you can have co-guardians? There are a few options. Which is right for your family and when? My family should have done co-guardianship with my sister many years ago, it would have made everything so much easier! At that time it would have been right for our family and our situation, but no one asked the question.

Do you have a spreadsheet with every possible service, doctor, SSN, bank account, MassHealth, and other contacts for your child? If someone ever needs to take over as guardian I can't tell you how much easier their life will be in managing all of these items. To ignore this, we are leaving the person who will be taking over in a very difficult position to navigate on their own. It took me over a year to figure out all of my sister's information when I became her guardian. I am sharing real-life examples that can prevent this.

Have you had a conversation with your family about who will be the next guardian? Are there other options? What if you don't have a family member who wants to be the guardian? Every special needs planner should ask you to talk about this. It is the right planning action to take as difficult as it is.

When do you need to get a special needs trust? Do you know that this trust should NOT be funded! When does it get funded and who manages this trust? It is a protection and blueprint of what will happen when it is funded so it is an important step in planning.

Some of you have heard me talk about these topics quite a bit and others will be reading this for the first time. LABBB is passionate about assisting our community through this planning. We want to bring you important planning events that you should be thinking about and taking action on. It is a life plan that we should prepare for now to decrease our stress and anxiety about it in the future.

There will be more questions in the future such as,...When do we start to think about housing? How is it funded? Will my child be a priority? Should I start learning about it now?

Anytime a person asks me, "Should I be thinking about...the answer will always be YES, start now! The topics in this short article are a good starting point.

Building a LABBB Community Pre and Post 22!

by: Patric Barbieri

When Omar was in his final year at LABBB, preparing to graduate on his 22nd birthday, his parents were thinking about how Omar would be spending his time every day. This is what all our parents will have to confront at some point, and if you have attended any of the workshops that Michael Weiner has given for LABBB, this is the question he poses. "How do you fill your child's day?"

There are three areas we discuss and are part of our mission that still need to continue post-22. Academics (Learning), Recreation (Social), and Career Development. It just becomes harder because now the family needs to be responsible for scheduling this.

The Masoods decided they were going to build a business around Omar's interests. They wanted LABBB to be included as Omar is still connected to his community. As you will read in the article below, their initial vision is going to expand very soon and the potential for LABBB students and LABBB alumni is very positive.

We need more of these opportunities for our students. Our focus for many years has been on bridging LABBB and LABBB alumni. The Masoods are passionate about looking at the future and being a model for others to do the same.

To read the full article about the Masood's next project that appeared in the Colonial Times click here.

Clinical Corner: The Premack Principle
By: Nina Riley, M.S BCBA, LABA

A simple change in wording can increase the likelihood that our students will follow a direction we give them. The Premack Principle, also called “Grandma’s Law” is a behavioral concept that states that a person is more likely to perform a non-preferred task when it is followed by a preferred task. The Premack Principle was first identified by David Premack in a study done on Cebus monkeys.The preferred activity acts to reinforce the completion of the non-preferred task. The most widely used application of this concept is with “First/Then” statements. For example, “First finish your homework, then you can play video games.” 

You can effectively use the Premack Principle in only a few steps. The first is to identify the non-preferred activity and a preferred activity/item that is motivating for your student. The second is to get your student's attention and make sure they are actually focusing on what you will be presenting to them. Lastly, present the non-preferred task using a “First/Then” statement either verbally, visually using pictures of the activities or written out in text.

The most important thing to remember using the Premack Principle is to follow through with what your student does. If they complete the non-preferred task, they can do their preferred activity! If they do not complete the task, make sure to not provide access to the preferred activity. If you notice that your student may not seem very motivated by the preferred item you chose, that is a good indicator to find some other activity or item. There are a wide variety of reinforcing activities or items, and sometimes what we think is motivating may be different than what our students think!
Busy Bees at Fox Hill!
By: Ms. Bishop, Ms. Friedel, and Mr. Brincklow

This month the students in Room 39 have been busy and are always on the move! Gym class is a favorite time of day for our classroom and even when the weather isn’t cooperating, we have found creative ways to have fun and move such as indoor “Pillow Polo”! The students loved playing on teams with their teachers and scoring goals off of them (sometimes)! Other favorite gym activities have included bowling, soccer, and obstacle courses outside. 

We also continue to enjoy our “Fun Friday” Science experiments! At the beginning of the month, we had fun dyeing eggs and more recently made Fruit Scented Play Doh. The students love hands-on activities while learning and have also made predictions, observations and learned how to problem solve (e.g. for Play Doh: putting in more of one ingredient over others to achieve the correct consistency). Our favorite activity this month was when we practiced our measuring skills to make “dirt cups” in celebration of Earth Day. We are looking forward to a busy, but fun end to our school year!
LABBB 2021 Transition Fair
By: Donna Goodell

At the heart of LABBB’s high school programs is the Transition Department. The main goal of all high school staff, including classroom and transition staff, is to help prepare students for life after high school, whatever that means for each individual student. We are all passionate about helping students develop their independence in life, work, community, social and academic skills.

LABBB has a Transition Committee which is made up of a small handful of our high school and transition department staff. One of its main goals is to design and execute our annual Transition Fair. The committee begins planning each fall for the April event. By March 2020, we had just about every aspect of the 3rd annual Fair planned and were just finalizing the last finishing touches. Then the world as we knew it came to an abrupt stop, school went remote, and all gatherings had to be called off. This was a hard reality for everyone.

Given the busy nature of this fall with all the preparations to get staff and students back in school after a long stretch of remote learning, the Transition Committee got started a bit later than normal, but with the same energy and excitement about planning for a Transition Fair that would go on no matter what. It is so important to us that we support our students and families with the process of transitioning from school to the adult world.

As the school year progressed, it became clear that we would have to plan for this Fair to be held virtually, but we knew we could still bring great presenters and important information to our families. The Fair, in alignment with continued pandemic challenges, was comprised of a panel of speakers who could address what this pandemic has meant to the adult service world.

To kick things off, our own Nurse Leader, Sasha Reed, led the conversation with a general update on the pandemic, changes we are seeing, and continued protective protocols. Then, Lynnlee Jordan, Area Director for the Central Middlesex DDS area office, explained a variety of different service options available through DDS as well as DDS’s role in setting up services for individuals when they turn 22. She was followed by guests from a few adult service agencies who shared information about their organizations, how they have been providing services during the pandemic, and how they are looking at services moving forward. Last, but certainly not least, we had LABBB parents, Mr. and Mrs. Meyers, share their story about using DDS self-directed funds to help support their son in building a wonderful system of support for his part-time job and other activities that fill up his week now that is has graduated from school. For a complete list of panel members, please click here to see the flyer.

We were excited to welcome approximately 70 participants to the virtual Fair. The speakers did an outstanding job sharing valuable information about DDS services available for individuals turning 22. Participants added to the robustness of the Fair by asking insightful questions and sharing resources with each other. Click here for a list of the resources shared by both panelists and participants. LABBB extends a heartfelt thank you to the presenters and all the participants who came out to join us!
Calling on the LABBB Community
 By Skip Avery and Donna Goodell
The Transition Department at LABBB strives to provide all our high school students with community-based experiences in real work environments. We are blessed to have approximately 32 Community Partners that provide students with a wide range of rich experiences that help students develop, hone, and generalize their community, social, and work skills.
Because each student we serve has his or her own unique needs and specific interests, we are constantly looking to expand the variety of community partners where students can gain work experience; but we can’t do it alone. As you know, the best way to make connections that often lead to employment is through networking. The same is true for finding new Business and Community Partners. Many of our current partnerships have come from a connection shared by a member of the greater LABBB Community such as parents, family members, or one of our LABBB staff members.
As we work toward getting our high school students back out into their community experiences after a long hiatus due to the pandemic, we are calling on the greater LABBB Community and asking you to share any connections you may have. Sharing a connection just means that a business or organization is willing to sit and talk about what we do and how we could potentially partner. There is no obligation for them to participate beyond the initial conversation. We want all our partnerships to be mutually beneficial. If you know of any organization that may be interested in becoming one of our Community Partners, please send an email to Skip Avery at, or Donna Goodell at

Intergenerational Community Connections
By: Alicia Dessanti, Transition Counselor
LABBB, The Lexington Recreation and Community Programs Department, and The Lexington Human Services Department are collaborating on The Intergenerational Community Connections Program. The program seeks to provide a venue for students and seniors to make meaningful connections, learn from one another, and give back to their community.

LABBB students from both Bedford and Lexington High have participated in this program virtually with Lexington senior citizens. Program activities thus far have included: group games, listening to an engaging presentation by a Lexington Minuteman, and gardening. The program hopes to potentially meet in person in the future. 

LABBB Adapted Physical Education, Recreation and Social Opportunities


May 20: LABBB May Dance. Last dance of the school year on Zoom! Time: 6:30pm
Meeting ID: 775 631 5360
Passcode: Walking

June 17: LABBB 2021 Graduation location TBA

June 10: Teen Time Ice Cream Social: For more information click here: Lexington Therapeutic Recreation

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter
Executive Director, Patric Barbieri, Hosts a Podcast talking about special needs planning and resources related to our community

In episode #22 we talk about our journey in building a mindful culture in LABBB. It is one of our core values that is posted throughout our collaborative. There is a significant difference between just talking about these practices and actually doing them. We made a commitment to offering mindful practices for all students in all our classrooms every single day. We also believe for us to be successful we need to offer and teach this to our staff as well. We are a community practicing together and this is the only way to get the true benefits. We have been fortunate to have many staff persons who have a myriad of unique mind-body skills to bring into our environments for both students and staff. 

This initiative started organically back in the early '90s. We realized that these practices have a significant impact on managing the pervasive anxiety symptoms that people are feeling. Our mission was to bring these practices directly into our schools and for staff and students to know they have permission to practice at any time. When one individual is practicing it is benefiting their entire community!

Rayne Pratt and Lisa Poirier, LABBB Occupational therapists, join me in this podcast. They are members of our LABBB Mind/Body team and they are also the creators and facilitators of our all-day staff retreat that we offer. 


LABBB Contacts
LABBB Collaborative
123 Cambridge Street, Burlington MA. 01803|