Message from the Executive Director
To listen to the podcast click on the link below
In part II of this podcast series, my objective was to begin by giving some real examples of what is in my "Master Spreadsheet" for planning purposes. The goal is to get all this information out of your head and write it down in an organized, structured format so anyone would be able to access this data and use it.
Last week we had a house meeting for my sister's group home. We are lucky we have a group that connects, gets along, and also gets things accomplished. The work isn't done because your son or daughter is living in a group home. There are items that need to be taken care of eg: House cleaning, buying tickets to the shows they go to, maybe the AC isn't working, the washing machine is broken, and a myriad of other things. These meetings are also essential for planning for the future.
This group home closes for two weeks every year in July and December. As the meeting was wrapping up, one of the parents wanted to discuss the future of this model as she is getting older and having her daughter home for a full month is getting a bit more challenging. This house has been together for 10 years and the group decided to put this on our next agenda. "Preparing for the next 10 years."
Lastly, I emphasize the importance to connect with the real experts. These are parents who can give you the best advice for the future, the parents that have children post-22. They have experienced your future. They are living it. If they went back 5, 10, 15, 20...years, what would they have done differently? I am sharing this podcast to help you all know how important it is to plan now because it makes it easier for everyone around you. I can't wait until your son or daughter is about to graduate to give you this information.
You are creating a map, a vision for the future, and we are always checking in to make sure we are on the correct course to get where we want to be. Don't guess, ask questions, connect what you are doing today with what will be happening in the future. There are people who have been there and done it well, and there are those who made mistakes along the way. This is all helpful information that the LABBB Community can share with you.
"The Machine" Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center
By: Scott Procko, Transition Program Team at Belmont High School
The temperature was projected to be 96 degrees and there were only two days left until summer break. Despite all that, the students in the Transition Program at Belmont High School arrived to school, dressed in business casual attire. They were ready! After learning various vocational skills from Mrs. LeBlanc in Oc-Ed this year, they were ready for a vocational tour of the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center followed by a Q&A with the Human Resource Department.
We arrived at the Seaport Hotel around 11am via public transportation. There, we met our tour guide, Chef Stanley Szymczak. We were given a tour of the Seaport Hotel kitchen, World Trade Center kitchen, then followed by a tour of the various event facilities where they host weddings, business events and the Comic Convention. Chef Szymczak and his team hosted a lunch for us in a private room. This was a great opportunity for our students to engage Chef Szymczak in an in-depth conversation about the importance of teamwork in order to keep "The Machine" running smoothly.
Chef Szymczak graduated from Johnson & Wales University almost 20 years ago. He spent many years working in various restaurants as he worked his way up to Sous Chef. His new title didn't mean all that much to him. What meant more, was working in a kitchen that promoted positive team work. So, he started working at the Seaport! All along our tour, Chef Szymczak would introduce us to his team members. "How many years?" he would yell out. "20, 30, I was here before it was the seaport!" one person replied.
"Culinary, tech, factory, retail. It doesn't matter the career field you work in. Working for a company that promotes positive teamwork is the key." "As you can see by the amount of years that people have been working here, the Seaport is a team environment." "We call our team, The Machine!"
We are Students of our Student
By: Joel B. Moulton COTA/L
We encourage each student to participate in the learning process by providing purposeful and meaningful activities related to their interests. To make this happen, we must first learn what those interests are. Therefore, we begin by being students of our student. As the process moves along, we continue to teach each other.
Here is one example:
With objectives to improve bilateral hand skills, writing tool grasp, increase hand / finger awareness and develop printing skills, the activity below was introduced.
The Fancy Bird
Color pencils are used to color the color-coded quick drawing. The reason for the color coding is to elicit visual attending as the student looks to match the color of each section.
The activity is presented in an audible story book narrative manner to capture and maintain student interest.
NOTE: Student name has been removed for this example before sharing in this newsletter.
Checklist for facilitator:
- Forearm / Elbow of coloring / printing hand remain on tabletop to increase awareness / use of hand and fingers for increased accuracy, vs. pulling movement from the shoulders.
- Non-dominant hand stabilizes materials.
- Using this student's high interest in picture story books as a motivator, the artwork is given a title and the artist signs her work. Printing becomes meaningful!
Back-to-Work Tool Kit
By: Theresa LeBlanc
As Transition Specialists and Community Instructors, we are always focused on increasing the independence level of each one of our students in preparation for adult life. We focus on self-advocacy, conflict resolution, and problem solving, to name a few of those soft skills, as they are critical for our students to be successful. There are also some basic items that are needed to help prepare our students for the work world. The following necessities are important for our students to achieve workplace success:
All of our community work placements require or encourage students to have a wallet. Loose money in a pocket, a piggy bank in a backpack, or a sandwich bag with money is not appropriate for a young person in the workplace. That wallet should have, at a minimum, a school ID and money needed for their day. They should also have emergency contact information, and a Charlie Card/TAP card if they are required to take public transportation to work.
There are various lunch options, depending on the community work placement. Bringing in a bagged lunch is an option at all of our worksites. Some of our worksites have cafeterias where they are able to purchase lunch, drinks and/or snacks. Some sites have vending machines. Some of our crews even go out to eat for lunch. Many lunch options exist and information will be sent out about options at our various sites.
And finally, proper work attire:
All worksites require students to wear "closed-toe" shoes. Sandals and flip flops are not appropriate. Some work placements require non-skid shoes. This is primarily culinary work placements. All shoes need to be clean and in good condition.
With very few exceptions, pants are required at all of our work placements. Our culinary sites require black (non-denim) pants. Some of our business community placements require "business casual" pants. Jeans/denim is accepted at many of our sites. Any type of shorts, wind pants, leggings, yoga pants or sweats are not appropriate. Again, pants should be clean with no stains, holes or rips (even if it's fashionable).
Shirts should be clean without stains, holes, or rips. Muscle shirts or tank tops are not acceptable. We discourage graphic t-shirts or shirts promoting a brand, idea, store. Depending on the site, they may need a collared shirt.
We are always talking about, and teaching our students, professionalism in the workplace. This includes expectations in appearance and behavior. Being prepared with all needed items on any given day is a good start. The beauty of our community work placements is in the variety of experiences and the differences in expectations. This is the real world. Information on each individual students' new placement will be forwarded to you. Please contact your transition specialist if you have any questions.
The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, and the way others react to us.
- Judith Rasband
Clinical Corner: Work Hard, Rest Hard
By: Kaitlin Taylor
Congratulations, everyone! We have made it to the beginning of another school year. This time of year can be exciting and fun, but can also be a bit stressful for students, teachers, and families. In order to get off to a good start, it is helpful to set up routines and plan structured down time. Routines are what help us get through our week efficiently and save us time, effort, and stress. Some examples of helpful routines are:
- Packing lunch the night before
- Putting your backpack, shoes, and coat in the same place every time you get home
- Unpacking your backpack as soon as you get home
- Following a bedtime schedule of showering, brushing teeth, and reading a book before bed
- Going to bed at the same time each night
As the school year gets started, we can often feel like we are on the go all day long with no breaks. This can be stressful and hard to manage. Make sure to plan some structured down time for yourself and your family. Some examples of structured down time are:
- Working on a hobby or craft
- Watching one episode of a favorite show
- Reading two chapters of your book
- Listening to 20 minutes of music
- Coloring 1-2 pages in your coloring book
Making sure we stick to our routines and integrate structured downtime can help us feel organized, productive, and relaxed, which all lead to a more enjoyable school year!
Planning A Life: Transition Considerations for Your Child's Future
Please RSVP to Dianne Busa via email, firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Karen Mariscal, Esq. is a special needs estate planner and guardianship attorney, and the parent of Billy, a former LABBB student who is now 27. She is an expert on guardianship and supported decision-making, as well as government benefits and special needs trusts. Her website is
2019-2020 Parent Meetings
LABBB Evening Parent Meetings
During our LABBB parent meetings we discuss various topics related to programming, special needs planning, recreation, transition, post 22 planning, SSI, financial planning among many other topics.
Location: Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Rd., Lexington Ma.
*All parent meetings are the same evening as our monthly dances so you can drop of your son or daughter and attend the parent meeting.
Executive Director Chats
Executive Director chats are an extension of our evening parent meetings and for parents who cannot attend in the evenings.
Location: LABBB Central Office, 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington (Burlington High School)
LABBB Parent Alumni Meetings
Our parent alumni meetings are a great resource for parents who want to continue to be connected to the LABBB community. Many of our parents share their experiences and learn about future opportunities for housing, recreation and keeping their son or daughter socially engaged with peers.
Location: LABBB Central Office, 123 Cambridge Street, Burlington (Burlington High School)
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
Welcome back to all returning families and we look forward to getting to know our new families. We have an exciting 2019/2020 school year planned in the LABBB Recreation Department.
It has been great to see so many students sign up for various activities this year. Most of our programs are either full or only have a few openings.
- We have a few openings in our Around Town Dining and our Monday Movie Nights for our high school students and our LABBB Disney Trip. If you are interested please email Prizzo@LABBB.net soon.
- We have over 40 students signed up for Tuesday and Thursday bowling
- Wednesday Recreation Cooking and Walking groups are full.
In addition to activities at LABBB, we often receive information regarding other recreational activities that are going on in other communities. When this happens, we will forward the information on to our LABBB community.
Our Best Buddies and PALS programs have already been meeting to organize match parties and get their groups up and running. Dates of match parties will come out via email to those that signed up to participate.
A sincere thank you to those who have returned forms by the due date. This helps us get processes started faster, get groups made, and send emails out for the start of the first events in each activity.
We are excited to welcome Jacqui Barrett back as an assistant in our Adapted Physical Education Department. We would also like to thank the Beede Center, in Concord, for letting us use their pool facilities. The Belmont High pool is closed for two years for renovations so it's nice to have the Beede Center for some of our classes. Because we don't have as much time allotted to us at the Beede Center as we did at the Belmont pool, some classes will only have swimming every other week. These classes will have a physical education class on the weeks they do not swim. There is a therapeutic pool at the Beede center which is a great addition for some of our students.
If you have any LABBB Recreation or Adapted Physical Education questions please feel free to email
. Follow us on Twitter @LABBBREC. We look forward to a great year.
Woodland Guest House Updates
Dear LABBB Community,
The LABBB-TILL Woodland Guest house has been up and running! We are excited to hear all the wonderful feedback from parents who have sent their son or daughter for an overnight weekend! It is a busy weekend from Friday evening beginning at 5:00 until Sunday evening at 5:00pm!
Episode #15: Dyslexia and Working Your Strengths with Kathy Murphy
In Part 2 of this series I talk about three topics related to planning for the future. 1. "The Master Spreadsheet," I created for my sister which has all of her important information. 2. Group home discussion: "The next 10 Years." 3. Get feedback and learn from the real experts. These are the parents and guardians of an adult with special needs who graduated 5, 10, 15 20...years ago. What would they have done differently that they can share with you now? Will their experiences change the course you are taking in the present