November 2018

          A LABBB Collaborative        Newsletter

   Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities         for  students with special needs 
LABBB in New York City!
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
LABBB overnight at our Woodland House
Mission Control

We design and deliver special education services that promote academic, social, and career independence in the most inclusive settings possible. 

If we asked ourselves every day, "What are we going to do today to move closer to our mission?" How would do we measure progress? The IEP is only one component of moving toward this. There are so many more steps that we can take to assess our students. When our students stay overnight at our Woodland respite guest house, this is one method we can use to learn and see what we need to focus on for our students to be more independent. How anyone can measure a student's independent living skills in a school and get accurate data for being an independent adult is a mystery to me. These school-based assessments are false advertising. 

When we see a student functioning and engaging with their peers in the community, an overnight trip, or at the Woodland house, this is when we get real, useful, data. 

What if a student can make a meal, but then they don't take responsibility to clean up, or engage with their peers; they just want to go to their room afterwards? These are habits that they have learned, but independence is going to be a much different world. It is hard to be part of a tribe; it's only by engaging in a real-life independent living environment with their peers that will help them improve. Ultimately, this will be their real world; we can't avoid this. These skills need to be observed and taught in our community. The exact same is true of work skills. 

Fulfilling our mission to help our students be as independent as possible takes courage and risks, and we will have failures along the way. We have fears that a legitimate, for example, "What if I sent my son or daughter on the LABBB NYC trip, Ski Trip, or Disney trip or have them stay over in the Woodland House? Will they be safe? Will they miss home? 

As parents we also have difficult decisions to make that are part of our mission? Are we considering guardianship? Did we have a discussion with our family on how on our son or daughter will be taken care of in the future? Do we have a plan?

Last week I met with a group of LABBB parent alumni. This was an energetic, stimulating conversation. If there is anything I can do to convince you that post-22 is a significantly different world, these parents are living proof. In LABBB we are committed to preparing you in every way we can. Transition is our job in every aspect of our students' lives from 3-22.  

Why do I write so passionately about these topics? There hasn't been a parent yet that I have spoken to who isn't dealing with these issues. Some parents were prepared, some parents are stuck, and some were not prepared. It would not be in the best interest of anyone in our community not to address these issues over and over. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

LABBB Minuteman Student Celebrates Visual Design Success  
By: Dave Lyons

Have you ever taken a look at the 2018-2019 Minuteman High School student-parent handbook? Initially, you will see the Minuteman logo on the cover page front and center. The school's signature navy and gold colors highlight a brief but direct Mission statement. Just below the school's logo at the bottom left corner of that cover page, the words read: "Designed by Greg Sullivan, Class of 2019 Design and Visual Communication". 
Greg is a Senior in the LABBB Minuteman program, and the winner of last year's handbook design contest. Greg's shop of choice is DVC (Design and Visual Communications)- a field requiring hands on understanding of design concepts and a knack for the visual arts. Students in DVC shop must display time management skills, often working on multiple assignments and adhering to deadlines requested by clients. 
This year an October assignment called for students to design an official Minuteman Holiday card. Two winning designs would be chosen by Principal Jack Dillon to be sent out to staff, students, and administration in the months to come. When the deadline of October 23rd came around, Greg's card was chosen as a contest winner. His success in the contest landed him a free lunch at the school's Fife and Drum restaurant alongside Principal Dillon, and Assistant Principal George Clement. 
Greg is an avid fan of comic books, working Mondays and Tuesdays at Omar's in Lexington center. When asked if writing/designing his own comic book would be a goal for his future, Greg answered "Yes, absolutely. I design a lot of characters and stories in my downtime. Usually it starts with a rough sketch before it gets to the computer." 
Keep an eye out for Greg's design work this year over at the LABBB Minuteman program!

Transportation Month in Ms. Farrell's Class
By: Rose Farrell
October was transportation month in Ms. Farrell's class at LABBB Ottoson Middle School. We have been studying a variety of forms of transportation from airplanes to motorcycles to space shuttles and trains. The students (and staff) have greatly enjoyed this unit! To incorporate real life experiences and practical skills into our unit of study, we have been preparing to take the city bus on Mass Ave in Arlington. 

To prepare ourselves, we visited Alewife T station to add money to our student Charlie Cards and have practiced getting on and off a city bus. Our practice culminated in a great trip on the city bus in which we visited our friends down at Arlington High School by taking the 77 bus four stops on Mass Ave in Arlington. This was made possible with the collaboration of our classroom speech pathologist, Janet Sullivan. Our students greatly enjoyed this adventure learning about and using transportation. This experience with public transportation has widened the opportunities available to us at Ottoson and in the community of Arlington and beyond. 

Clinical Corner: The Power of Praise
By: Kaitlin Taylor, MS, BCBA, LABBB
LABBB Annual Craft Fair
Saturday, December 1

Give the gift of warmth to local families this winter.  Free some space in your closets and donate a coat to the LABBB/Best Buddies Craft Fair on  December 1 from 10:00-3:00 . Members from the Lexington Lion's Club will be on hand to collect donations. Anyone donating will receive a free raffle ticket to the LABBB Best Buddies Craft Fair raffle. It's a win-win. If you cannot attend,  LABBB APE staff will accept your donation and bring it to the fair.

Need more incentive? Whichever group  (LABBB, Lexington Lions Club, or Best Buddies) donates the most coats will win bragging rights and a certificate of recognition. 

Share the warmth this holiday season. Sharing is caring.
T.R.A.C. What's it all about?
By: Tori Dennis
TRAC, otherwise known as 'Transitional Readiness Activities in the Community,' is a program run by LABBB's Transition Department. It is designed to provide authentic opportunities for students to generalize skills from the classroom into the community. Students in TRAC participate in volunteer-based community activities and internships, which include vocational training, community safety curricula, purposeful visits to stores and restaurants, and individual practice in daily living skills. While participating at TRAC, students experience what it is like to act as a member of the community in an off-campus environment. Students are encouraged to give feedback to form personal preferences in order to help guide their own transition planning.

Some of the activities/locations TRAC attends are as follows:

Arlington Senior Center (Arlington, Ma.) Students volunteer at the Arlington Senior Center where they package food items for their "Meals on Wheels" program.

Grace Chapel (Lexington, Ma.) Students volunteer to support the 'Kidstown' program by taking inventory and stocking materials for classroom "activity boxes", clean and set-up classrooms, and participate in occasional mailing projects.

Ed Burns Arena (Arlington, Ma.) Students participate in light cleaning activities to support the recreational programs at the rink.

Woodland House (Lexington, Ma.) Students practice daily living skills by purchasing and stocking necessities for the house, participate in cooking, cleaning, and maintenance activities as well as individualized programming around self-care.

Today's Fitness (Woburn, Ma.) Students participate in light cleaning and some maintenance activities at the Woburn based gym!

Wegman's Supermarket (Burlington, Ma.) Students have the opportunity to practice buying lunch and eating as a group in a restaurant-type environment.

Burlington Mall (Burlington, Ma.) Students participate in scavenger hunts, safety curricula, making purchases (in stores, or at the food court!) along with leisure/social opportunities.

Pictured you see:

Katie B. working on a mailing project at Grace Chapel! Connor M. cleaning the tables at the Ed Burns Arena, and Stephanie M. working hard at Today's Fitness! Great job by all!

Recreation News and Events
By:  Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
Every year, LABBB has monthly dances, the Reunion Dance, of course, is the biggest.  The second biggest is the Halloween dance each October. This year, the attendance was a little lower than usual, but the students all came dressed in costume and we had an equal number of buddies from Lexington and Bedford in attendance.  The costumes were stupendous. We saw a variety of superheroes, Disney characters, first responders, and scary folks. There were many smiles, much laughter, and plenty of dancing going on for two hours. Some students never stopped dancing and some left exhausted, but thrilled to have been a part of this dance.
Enjoy the pictures of some of the attendees.  



Chenery Best Buddies Fundraiser
The Chenery Best Buddies chapter is hosting a fundraiser at Bertucci's in Cambridge on  Tuesday November 13 .  All you need to do is eat at the restaurant and give your server the attached flyer to support this fantastic cause!  You can also order takeout, just choose to pay at the restaurant.  Any questions?  Email Caroline Brown at


A LABBB Podcast

For the past 9 years, Susan has been an adjunct faculty for an online section of Developmental Disabilities in the Psychology and Education Department at Middlesex Community College. A significant part of her work has included providing professional development and training to college faculty to promote and support their use of teaching strategies and approaches using principles of universal design for instruction. The goal of this work is to create and support inclusive pedagogies and create a welcoming environment to support the success of diverse learners. 

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