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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.


LABBB 2009

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This is my first attempt at blogging and my vision is that this will serve as an ongoing information and communication resource for all LABBB staff, Parents and Students.   I will invite others to write articles, share resources and participate in opening the world of LABBB.  As a collaborative this will be especially useful because our educational programs and Worksites are located in many different districts.  In fact, our staff are working in 12 buildings and over 15 worksites. Technology is the way of the future and we must use it to our fullest potential.  This has been a goal that I have been trying to implement.  Our world is changing and using on-line tools and services for productivity and knowledge will most definitely be a best practice in the future.

Our organization has used little in the way of technology and my plan is to change that.  I remember purchasing our first on-line IEP program about four years ago and I thought this was one of the most significant advances that we have made at that time.  We were confident that this would make writing I.E.P’s significantly easier to manage. How did we write IEP’s before?  What about progress reports?  I am sure many of you remember the archaic computer based programs we all used.  We need to continue to promote tools that will make our paperwork more organized and user friendly.

As of September 2008 we finally have staff e-mails via FirstClass.  Furthermore, we are currently being trained to implement a student database called IMG that will handle all students, staff and Health information.  We anticipate that this will be fully functioning in September 2009.

If we are going to teach our students how to function in the world in the next 5 to 10 years, we must utilize the current technology that will be necessary to get along.  Whether we use on-line banking, Linux, Google, Cloud, Staroffice or any of the applications that are free or at a significantly lower cost, we can not ignore the impact they will have on our world.

I will be contacting all the LABBB classrooms and worksite to put up blog.  If you are interested in putting something up on the blog, feel free to contact me about this.  I am looking for creative ideas.

Using Technology is fun, and can enhance communication.  Enjoy our LABBB Blog!