The LABBB Collaborative
  April 2016
LABBB-Best Buddies Prom
LABBB/Bedford High School Best Buddies Prom
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
We Just Get Better When We Collaborate
"When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it's you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself."
                    -Steven Spielberg

My career in special education began when I started working at a special needs camp in Lexington back in 1986. My mother and a few other parents from Lexington were advocating for a camp to be held in Lexington for kids with special needs during July and August. The parents worked collaboratively with the town of Lexington, and the recreation department agreed to run the camp in the summer of 1986. These kinds of services just didn't exist back then. It took a few years to make this happen, but the more people that got involved in the community, the more it started to become a reality. I remember my mom clearly saying to me, "I really want you to be part of this." I knew what that meant, I was going to be working there for the summer.
I have had many positions in LABBB over the past 26 years, and I have been Executive Director for the past 9 years. I have learned one very important lesson for success working in an educational collaborative, and it didn't matter if I was an assistant, teacher, coordinator or executive director, it all comes down to one powerful action, collaboration. No one ever teaches this in any special education course in college, but if we want to create opportunities, improve services, and create a dynamic organization for our students, we need to believe in and practice the power of collaboration.
I have been fortunate to be able to engage and collaborate with many motivated people, and be part of discussions about what we feel we can do to advocate for our students and provide the best resources possible. We just can't do this alone. When educators, parents, and people of the community collaborate, great things can happen. LABBB has programs in 16 school buildings and 18 business settings, collaboration is essential. Collaboration doesn't happen because we want it to. It is hard work. It could take years to build relationships, but making this our practice everyday, we have seen more opportunities arise in all our programs.
How did we start Special Olympics? We collaborated with Best Buddies.
How did we start Best Buddies? We collaborated and built relationships within the school community.
How did we get many of our worksites? We collaborated with LABBB parents.
How did we get the ICEI program started? We Collaborated with a parent and a college community. 
How do we grow and give our students opportunities to be part of the most inclusive settings? We collaborate and build relationships with our school communities.
As a leader, I constantly feel the urgency to improve our organization, to contribute, to inspire and to challenge. It is hard to accept that this is the way it is always going to be because the evolution of special education needs to continue. We need to keep moving and figure out ways that we can execute our mission - To design and deliver special education services that promote, academic, social, and career independence in the most inclusive settings possible.
When I think back on some of the conversations that I have had with parents, educators, principals, and business partners, the common theme that I experience is optimism. A belief that we can build something by working together. Collaborations can't be forced, but having the right people around the table will make any initiative successful. The ICEI program is the best recent example. I tried to go at it alone about 7 years ago and it didn't happen. Fortunately, with one motivated LABBB parent and many stakeholders around the table, there wasn't a question that this was going to be successful. During that first meeting one fall day in 2013, you just felt the power of collaboration!
We always welcome collaboration, feedback, and discussion about new initiatives, or improving our programs and services. 
If you get the right people around the table you can change the world. 

Polar Plunge
By: Caroline Brown, Teacher, LABBB Chenery Middle School
Below is a picture from the 2016 Polar Plunge! Our LABBB Legends team raised a total of $5,769 for our Special Olympics event this spring. Our team roster included staff and family members from several different LABBB sites. Team members include: Sarah Bennett, Jeff Caritey, Matthew Curran, Tamara DeVito, Kimberly Greene, Alicia Harris, Daniel Hurley, CJ McAulduff, Rob McDonough, Kevin Muszynski, Brenna Quinn, Nina Riley, Jessica Stuart, Michelle Sullivan, and me, Caroline Brown).
The LABBB Legends 2016

The Legends who raised the most money were: Rob McDonough ($840); Jessica Stuart ($751); Kim Greene ($645); Alicia Harris ($626); CJ McAulduff  ($605); Kevin Muszynski ($590). 

It was a frosty Saturday of about 29 degrees, significantly colder than the forecasted 43 degrees! Thankfully, the sun was shining and SOMA finally started using heated changing tents. The plungers were cheered on from the shore by a number of other LABBB staff, including but not limited to Chelsea Bednarski, Kathy Farley, Paula Rizzo, and Craig Wilson, as well as family members and friends. Several students' families also contributed financially to the plunge. Despite being without sensation in my lower body for much of the day, it was a great experience for all, and I'm sure our team will be back on the shore next year to continue supporting LABBB and Special Olympics.

Clinical Corner Prevention Tip #1: Avoiding Power Struggles
By: Lisa Gurdin
Power struggles are very easy to get into and very hard to get out of. Power struggles happen when you tell a child to do something and they refuse, and together you start arguing or negotiating. Once you find yourself arguing with a child, you have entered into the struggle and already you have lost. The only way to win in those situations is to avoid the struggle in the first place. The question is - how? How can you remain calm when the child to whom you just gave a directive is not listening? How do you stay neutral when the child keeps coming back with another reason why she can't or won't do what you are asking? It seems like a Herculean task. The best way to avoid a struggle is to use proactive strategies to increase the likelihood that the child will comply with your instructions, especially those that typically lead to refusals. Here are some of those strategies:

  • Engage in a conversation before placing the demand. This will allow you to connect with the child in a positive way and make it more likely for him to comply.

  • Use first/then language but change the order. Say "You can go play with your toys, but first clean up your snack."
  • Offer to help the child start the task.

  • Walk away after placing the demand. Praise him once he initiates the task.

  • Start praising her anytime she complies without arguing. You can also set-up a sticker chart, check/point/ticket system where she earns something for complying without arguing.

It is also very important to stop yourself from engaging in the back and forth banter. It is that banter that turns into a power struggle and is very frustrating. Stay calm and neutral if the child refuses to do what you ask. Walk away or switch with another adult if you find yourself arguing and becoming frustrated. Remember also that most kids enjoy and often seek adult attention. Providing this attention for desired behaviors, like compliance, will increase future occurrences. Kids will learn that they can get attention for doing what is asked of them rather than for refusing and arguing.  

Power struggles are challenging, but by using some of the strategies listed above, it is possible to prevent them from happening in the first place!                                         
Dr. Seuss's Birthday!
By: Kimberly Roberts, LABBB Speech Therapist
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! The students in Ms. Brown and Mrs. Appelmans' classrooms at Chenery Middle School celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2
nd in their respective SPOT Groups. SPOT Group is a weekly integrated therapy co-run by Lori Parent (Occupational Therapist) and Kimberly Roberts (Speech Language Pathologist). SPOT Group allows for simultaneous targeting of students' fine motor and visual perceptual skills (i.e., tracing, cutting, gluing and coloring) and functional communication skills (e.g., understanding basic concepts, following multi-step directions, requesting, self-advocacy) in a fun and engaging way!
The students in Ms. Brown's classroom completed a "Cat in the Hat" themed arts and crafts project. Each student followed a list of multi-step directions that required them to trace, cut and color different aspects of The Cat's hat. In the spirit of Dr. Seuss, students then had to identify words that rhymed with "cat" to include on their hat. To finish the activity, students selected a partner and took turns reading each others' "-at" words! In Mrs. Appelmans' classroom, each student created their own Lorax by tracing, cutting and gluing his body parts together. His eyebrows and mustache were challenging forms to trace and cut out, but each student did a great job showing us their best work! 

"Spread the Word to End the Word"
By: Robin Abbott, BCBA

On March 2, 2016 The Best Buddies program at Arlington High School held an assembly to "Spread the Word to End the Word." The attendance was record setting! The auditorium was completely filled with Arlington High School students and LABBB students from a number of different programs. There were many truly inspirational speakers including Donna Vanderlinden, who heads the Best Buddies Program here for LABBB, Will Darling, who heads the Best Buddies program for Arlington High School, Steve Goodwin, the Coordinator for LABBB Arlington High School, Paige Riley, the student President for the Best Buddies Program, Jacob Myers, a student at LABBB, Harshini Senthil and Pauline Alour, who are both long standing members of the Best Buddies program. Their words were filled with messages of acceptance, respect and kindness to all. 

The leadership of the Best Buddies also collaborated to make an amazing video that highlights students strengths and abilities. Check out the video here
The staff and students at Arlington High School have been overflowing with positive feedback about the event. The Arlington High School chapter of Best Buddies will also be sponsoring an Open Mic Night at The Real School of Music in Burlington on April 30. Check in with your Best Buddies Chapter President for more details. 
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
golf-holes-graphic.gif Spring bowling is up and running.  Tuesday bowling has 36 students signed up.  Some new students have joined in on the fun of bowling with their friends.  Our Thursday group has 26 students bowling this spring, and they are having a great time making new friends.
LABBB's Wednesday Recreation at Lexington High School has 36 students signed up between Paint Party, Waling Club and Outdoor Games.  This program will be starting on April 6th.
The golfing group, that was popular last spring, will be up and running in May with Mr. Marc Bluestein (Chenery Middle School) as the instructor. He is very excited to help others learn a sport that he loves.  Look for registration forms to come in the mail. 
LABBB has paired up with the Cotting School in Lexington for a Challenger Little League.  LABBB will have 15 students on a team that will play games on Saturday mornings at Cotting. Mr. CJ McAluduff will be the coach for the LABBB team. 
Special Olympics is coming up on May 11.  All registration forms should have been received and returned by March 30th for all athletes. 
Always remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

Recreation Resources links:

If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

We are the Champions! The LABBB Basketball Team
By: Thomas Brincklow
  On Tuesday March 15, the LABBB basketball team won the Greater Boston Basketball League (GBBL) championship over Campus Academy (SEEM prep) at UMass Lowell. The GBBL is a two day tournament with 4 teams in each bracket.  
There were a total of 16 teams. LABBB was led by Chris C. who had 34 points. Tyler L., Tyler S., Matt D., and Michael C. also played great overall games. With just 5 players due to injuries, the kids played hard and had a lot of fun.  Awards were handed out after the two day tournament. They were as follows:

MVP-Chris C.
All stars - Tyler S. and Tyler L.
Sportsmanship - Matt D. 
Foul shooting champion Justin B.                                           

Reach 4 Real: Adaptive Music Programs
A music, dance, and theater program for those with developmental,
 physical and intellectual disabilities.

Spring 2016 Classes Begin on April 19th in Andover,
Burlington, and many other communities! 

See full schedule & details below:
See full schedule & details below:

Adaptive Dance!
Reach 4 Real has added several adaptive dance classes to our program starting this spring! Join us for an open house featuring a FREE45 min preview class on April 25th
Join us from 4:00-7:00 PM to meet our director and instructor, learn more about the class, and tour the school!
4:15-5:00 Preview Class Ages 4-8
5:00-5:45 Preview Class Ages 8-13
5:45-6:30 Preview Class Ages 14+

Spring/Summer 2016 
Class Schedule:
Real School Andover:
Adaptive Dance Class
Mondays, May 2-June 20
4:15-5:00pm: Ages 4-8
5:00-5:45pm: Ages 9-13
5:45-6:30pm: Ages 14+
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Music & Theater Class
Tuesdays, May 3-June 21
5:30-6:30pm: high school-transitional age
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Tuesdays, July 5-Aug 23
5:30-6:30pm: high school-transitional age
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Thursdays, May 5-June 30
5:00-6:00pm: Elementary-Jr. High
6:00-7:00pm: High School-Adult
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Thursdays, July 7-Aug 24
5:00-6:00pm: Elementary-Jr. High
6:00-7:00pm: High School-Adult
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Real School Burlington:
Music & Theater Class
Wednesdays, May 4-June 29
6:00-7:00pm: High school-Adult
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Wednesdays, July 6-Aug 24
6:00-7:00pm: High school-Adult
$25/class - $200/8 weeks
Open classes at other facilities:
Reach 4 Real at Emarc Reading
Tuesdays, April 19-June 21
6:00-7:00pm: Ages 7-12
7:00-8:00pm: High school-transitional age
Reach 4 Real at Acton/Carlisle Recreation Department:
Thursdays, March 24 - May 19 (no class 4/21)
6:00-7:00pm: Elementary-Jr. High
7:05-8:05pm: High School-Adult
Thursdays, June 2 - July 21
6:00-7:00pm: Elementary-Jr. High
7:05-8:05pm: High School-Adult
Reach 4 Real at The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
Sunday, May 22 in Newton
12:45-1:45: All Ages
Sunday, June 12 in Burlington
10:30 - 12:30: All Ages
Don't forget! In addition to regularly scheduled classes at our own school locations, we also specialize in classes delivered onsite at our clients' facilities. Let us know if you're missing a music, dance, theater program at yours.
Email us at:

or call us at:
What is Reach 4 Real?
Reach 4 Real delivers adaptive performing arts programs designed specifically to those with developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities. The goal of Reach 4 Real is to enhance the life of those with needs through music enrichment.
Students Will:
* Collaborate to write songs in pop/musical theater style, and then stage, choreograph, and deliver an exciting live performance.
* Engage in a curriculum specifically adapted for any age and functionality, including those that use iPads and assistive technology.
* Participate in physical and vocal warmups, social skill building activities, and celebrating successes of the day!
Who Can Benefit from our Adaptive Group Classes:
Those with...
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Non-Verbal Learning Disorders
Down Syndrome
Tourette's Syndrome
Williams Syndrome
Sensory Integration Disorder
Other Low to High Functioning Developmental Disabilities
Traumatic Brain Injuries 
Call us at:

#EdCampAccess 2016

The explosion of edcamps around the world has been an amazing shift in professional development. This year, #EdcampBoston was sold out in 1 hour. The ability to connect with other educators in a less formal environment is refreshing and promotes more interactions and connections. This is appealing to many educators. 

Four years ago, LABBB partnered with edcamp coordinators, Karen Janowski, Sean Sweeney, and Beth Lloyd to create #EdCampAccessA day devoted to educators helping struggling learners.
Since our first EdCampAccess in 2013, there have been three more EdCampAccess events created outside of Massachusetts. EdCampAccess events have been held in Morristown, New Jersey; Swartz Creek, Michigan, and Orlando Florida. 

EdCampAccess 2016 will be held on Saturday, April 30, in Burlington at the Marshall Simonds School.  

For more information and to sign up click here: #EdCampAccess 2016.
Parent Resources and Events
School Cancellation: All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.

LABBB PAC INFORMATION: The next meeting will be held on April 27, 2016. Click here to view the flyer for more details.
Communication and Contacts Links
About Us
LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615

Labbb Collaborative | LABBB Collaborative | 36 Middlesex Turnpike | Bedford | MA | 01730