Program Highlight: LABBB Primary Development Program at Memorial Elementary School, Burlington

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Welcome to the LABBB Primary Development Program! Our classroom is designed for kindergarten through grade two learners with autism spectrum disorders as well as for those learners who can benefit from the program’s instructional approaches and environment. The program has a high teacher-to-student ratio (currently, four core staff and six learners), with ongoing speech/language, occupational, and physical therapy services delivered by LABBB therapists. Additional support, both direct and consultative, is provided by a LABBB behaviorist and a LABBB reading specialist. Based in the Memorial Elementary School in the K-2 wing, our learners also have daily opportunities to participate in activities with their grade-level peers.

The primary development program addresses: speech and language development (including social and pragmatic communication); academic skill-building to access the general curriculum (based on the Massachusetts Frameworks); functional skill building that includes gross and fine motor development as well as adaptive skills for application at school, home, and in the larger community; and sensory regulation. Our learners tend to have relatively strong visual and kinesthetic learning styles. Keeping our learners’ needs, styles, and relative strengths in mind, we take a multi-faceted approach to learning, which includes:

  • Highly individualized instructional programs based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). We employ aspects of evidence-based ABA methodologies, which at this time includes Verbal Behavior and TEAACH.


From L to R: Jo-Ellen Percival, O.T Assistant, Linda Bartlett, Classroom Aide, Roberta Klix, Teacher, Vickie McIsaac, Classroom Aide, Jane McGrath, O.T, Jessica Kort, P.T, Joann Warino, Classroom Aide, Mary D’Addario, Speech

  • Pervasive use of visual cues and multi-modal communication tools, such as individual schedules, topic boards, social stories, play scripts, and static and dynamic display devices.
  • “Hands on” individual and small group learning opportunities to acquire new skills with ongoing generalization of those skills in the general education classroom as well as larger school and community environments.
  • Incorporation of a sensory diet into the daily curriculum.
  • To the extent possible, direct and incidental instruction in natural settings, for example, learning playground skills (both social and gross motor) in the playground at recess alongside peers.

We believe that our learners are active, equal members of the school community and we strive to ensure that they are included in the general education classroom and school-wide events as much as they are comfortable and able. For some of our current learners, this mean daily participation in English language arts centers and “specials” (e.g., art, gym, and music) and for others, attending morning meeting and having snack, lunch, and recess with their peers. In the future, we hope to add a book buddies and “game day” to promote additional opportunities for social interaction.

The LABBB Primary Development program embraces a collaborative, team approach, that includes not only core staff, but also our learners’ parents and families, Memorial School staff, and LABBB administrators and support staff.


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