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The Reality And Brutally Honest Truth About Special Needs Planning
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Category: Education
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May 18, 2021 10:28 AM PDT

In episode #22 we talk about our journey in building a mindful culture in LABBB. It is one of our core values that is posted throughout our collaborative. There is a significant difference between just talking about these practices and actually doing them. We made a commitment to offering mindful practices for all students in all our classrooms every single day. We also believe for us to be successful we need to offer and teach this to our staff as well. We are a community practicing together and this is the only way to get the true benefits. We have been fortunate to have many staff persons who have a myriad of unique mind-body skills to bring into our environments for both students and staff.

This initiative started organically back in the early '90s. We realized that these practices have a significant impact on managing the pervasive anxiety symptoms that people are feeling. Our mission was to bring these practices directly into our schools and for staff and students to know they have permission to practice at any time. When one individual is practicing it is benefiting their entire community!

Rayne Pratt and Lisa Poirier, LABBB Occupational therapists, join me in this podcast. They are members of our LABBB Mind/Body team and they are also the creators and facilitators of our all-day staff retreat that we offer.

September 23, 2020 07:51 AM PDT

In Episode #21 we have our first guest of the 2020-2021 school year and joining us is Brendan Aylward. Brendan has a degree in special education from Lesley University and is the owner of Unified Health and Performance in Lancaster MA. Many LABBB students work out at his gym and he has created a unique culture in his gym integrating students with special needs with all gym members. Brendan's mission aligns with our mission in LABBB and he has a vision to continue to expand his business and offering more services and inclusive opportunities for students with special needs. He also created AdaptX which is a training program to become a coach for adapted fitness programs for athletes with disabilities and he talks all about it in this podcast.

Unified Health and Performance Website: https://unifiedhp.com/

January 11, 2020 03:07 AM PST

In episode #20 we talk about sibling support with Emily Rubin. Emily is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UMASS Medical School and Director of Sibling Support at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center. She is also Co-founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Sibling Support Network (MSSN). Emily is a Licensed Social Worker.

This was a special podcast and it was a reflective experience for me as a sibling of a sister with special needs. Emily shares her research on sibling support groups and her perspective and knowledge on this subject is profound. This is a must-listen for families and siblings and there are many resources you can access.


This was a special podcast and it was a reflective experience for me as a sibling of a sister with special needs. Emily shares her research on sibling support groups and her perspective and knowledge on this subject is profound. This is a must listen for families and siblings and there are many resources you can access.

See the links below for more infromation.

Check out the MSSN website at http://www.masiblingsupport.org! You can sign up for a free membership at https://masiblingsupport.org/get-involved/membership-sponsorship-opportunities/, and you can find us on Facebook, too:  http://www.facebook.com/masiblingsupport

More information is available on these links:

Supporting siblings of youth with mental health needs: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/tu/supporting-siblings-2012.pdf

MSSN brochurehttps://masiblingsupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/MSSN_brochure__2019-1.pdf  

MSSN educational presentations: https://masiblingsupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/MSSN_EducationalPresentations_2019.png 

MSSN research brief on siblings: https://masiblingsupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/state_of_siblings.pdf 

December 06, 2019 12:44 PM PST

In this episode, we talk to Camille Grimes, AFC Manager, from Opportunities for Inclusion to learn about an under-utilized resource for parents.

Adult family Care (AFC) is a MassHealth funded program for individuals, 16 years old and over, eligible for MassHealth Standard or MassHealth CommonHealth, who have a medical or mental condition and require daily cueing and supervision or physical assistance with at least one activity of daily living skill (ADL) such as bathing, dressing, eating, ambulating or toileting from an AFC caregiver. In addition to providing personal care, an AFC caregiver must live with the individual and provide or arrange for meals, transportation, companionship and ordinary housework. The caregiver also manages medical appointments and medications, if needed.

Caregivers receive a tax-free stipend for the care they provide, which ranges from $9,000-$18,000 annually, depending on the level of care necessary. They also receive on-going support from a registered nurse and a care manager. The caregiver may be a friend parent or other relative, but may not be the spouse or legal guardian.

To learn more about this program Contact: Barbara Dunker, RN, AFC Program Director, 781-899-1344 x4710 bdunker@oppsforinclusion.org

October 29, 2019 11:32 AM PDT

In this episode we are joined by Lisa Symonds, Adapted Music Instructor, from Amplifi. In 2016, we recorded a podcast with Tom Byrne, Owner, and Heather Luhn, Director of Education, of the Real School of Music. The Real School of Music started a program called Amplifi which brings adaptive music instruction to students with special needs. This was a perfect opportunity for LABBB to be part of this project as we were looking to expand our music program and the collaboration was born.

Lisa Symonds was our first instructor and she won over the hearts of LABBB Teachers, Parents, and the staff in the public schools with her passion for to bring music to our students. Lisa is devoted to the Amplifi mission and she is feeling and observing the outcomes of the students response to music. Her dynamic personality is energizing and inspirational and she has led the way to bringing music to all of the LABBB programs in our public schools.

We talk about "Then" and "Now," a new Transition program we started this year using the Amplifi methodology, and talk about the future collaboration between LABBB and Amplifi.

September 10, 2019 08:55 AM PDT

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?

August 26, 2019 12:52 PM PDT

In this episode, I share my personal story about our family's experience in how we are organizing and planning in caring for our sister with special needs. Many times there are unexpected life events and we are not prepared. When my parents passed away three years ago, within six months of each other, this was a significant unexpected life event. My parents did many things "Right" but I wish we were more prepared to care for my sister. My thinking started to change dramatically about what we are doing in special education to prepare parents and sharing my story was an essential step. I was fortunate to know where to seek the resources I needed to get things done for my sister, but it was still incredibly overwhelming and stressful for many years and it didn't need to be this way.

These are difficult family conversations, but they need to happen. My mission is to prepare parents and siblings so they are more prepared in the future and to implore them to start planning now! If we fail to plan now, we are making it significantly more stressful for guardians and caretakers when it is their time to take on the responsibility.

This is a two-part series. I will share many more real life stories of how we managed, planned and learned from our mistakes. In many ways, this can brings families closer together, especially the siblings.

March 25, 2019 04:04 AM PDT

In this episode, I interviewed Kathy Murphy. She talks candidly about her life growing up with dyslexia and her mindset of overcoming an obstacle through determination and grit. She didn't know she had dyslexia until she was 21 years old. You will find her story inspiring and also give you a different way to look at obstacles that are thrown at us in life. We also talk about identifying our strengths and focusing our attention on what we are good at rather than trying to spend most of our time trying to fix our weaknesses.

Kathy Murphy's Bio: Market Me Too Founder and CEO/CMO, Kathleen E. Murphy is known for radiating enthusiasm, her strategic outlook and positive attitude and energy. Her entrepreneurial and marketing career has spanned over (20) years and has been focused on technology and start-up companies in a variety of industries. She is well-regarded for her extensive global marketing leadership and partnership marketing acumen and has been sought after for her innovative, collaborative and strategic thinking style by companies such as Barracuda Networks, Constant Contact, Dell/EMC, Hitachi, Staples as well as a number of mid-size companies.

1. (Blog) Authenticity sparkle. Do you?

2. www.MarketMeToo.net

3. Dacey’s Diva’s Show: Interview about Kathy's book, Wisdom Whisperer

February 01, 2019 11:29 AM PST

In this episode, we were joined by Amanda Scheriff, LABBB Speech Pathologist. Amanda recently completed a workshop series with LABBB parents from our Fox Hill, Francis Wyman, Wellington, and Memorial elementary programs; teaching them skills about modeling for successful communication using AAC. Educators, parents, and anyone in the special education field will find this podcast extremely valuable. Ultimately, our goal is to help our students become independent communicators and using a consistent modeling system in school and at home will give our students the best opportunity in meeting this goal. Amanda talks about the Model as a MASTER Pal program and how she is developing this in the LABBB programs.

Amanda's Model as a MASTER Pal Webinar

November 02, 2018 03:18 PM PDT

Susan B Woods, M.Ed, retired Associate Dean, Student Support Services at Middlesex Community College, BS in Special Education from Boston University M.Ed from Northeastern University in Rehabilitation Administration.

Susan has spent the last 27 years at Middlesex Community College managing the Transition Program and Disability Support Services, as well as overseeing the college's Federally funded TRIO student support programs, Counseling and Consultation services and coordinating the Student Assessment Intervention Team with the office of the Dean of Students.

Prior to coming to Middlesex, Susan worked at the Department of Mental Retardation and Mental Health—now the Department of Developmental Services—and was involved with the Turning 22 transition planning initiative, and the early stages of development of community-based individual service planning.

For the past 9 years, Susan has been an adjunct faculty, 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.

Susan has also provided workshops and professional development training at local high schools. This training is provided to special educators, transition specialists and guidance department staff, as well as parents and students, on how to prepare and support the transition of individuals with disabilities to post-secondary education.

click here for Susans Website:  www.susanbwoods.com

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