Diversity of Disability

Cotting School has served the needs of students with disabilities in Greater Boston for nearly 125 years. Today’s campus in Lexington, however, looks a lot different than the church basement where we first opened our doors to seven students in 1893. While much has changed at Cotting over the past century, at our core, many integral components remain the same. Students are still served a hot lunch, family style; many still travel a great distance to get to Cotting each day, but busses and vans have replaced horse-drawn carriages. Perhaps most importantly, our talented staff today is committed to the same innovation and quality that our cofounders strongly believed in.  Cotting School is the product of many years of great leadership, committed students, and involved families. It is a place that continues to enable students with disabilities to thrive at school and beyond.

A horse-drawn carriage was the early form of Cotting student transportation.

“Who, then, is a Cotting School student?”

Part of our rich history includes adapting to the changing times. Students may have once enrolled at Cotting because they had polio or suffered an industrial accident. Today’s students find Cotting for altogether different reasons. We embrace, and celebrate, the diversity that exists today within our community. Our continued commitment to innovation and quality has enabled us to serve a wide range of students with a broad spectrum of cognitive disabilities, physical and communication challenges, and medical conditions. Our character is shaped by the rich diversity of students who walk – or ride – our halls every day.

“Whole Child”

From the moment a family expresses interest in Cotting until the student’s last day here, there is a focus on the  “whole child.” Our admission process is particularly aligned with our whole child approach. A collection of professionals – including teachers, therapists, and nurses – are part of the Cotting admissions team that evaluates more than just test scores and diagnoses. Each member of the team brings a different perspective, which ultimately enables us to decide if the prospective student will have success at Cotting.

“No Labels”

Cotting School is not easily labeled with a catch-all phrase. We communicate with our voices and our speech-generating devices. We mold clay with our hands and paint with our feet. We solve math problems with pen and paper and write essays using eye-gaze technology. A visitor needs only a short time to see how much our students support and encourage one another; they are all differently challenged but nothing about that phrase captures the story of any one individual.

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