Parent Weekly Update: January 8, 2021

Weekly Update
Screens and faces of students and staff lit up as we reconnected for the first time in 2021! What’s better than fireworks on New Year’s Eve? The Cotting School Community!
Here’s to a great start as we welcome 2021.
For more updates from this week, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram.
Information From Cotting School
Happy New Year from Cotting School! 2020 will be remembered as a year that our school community moved forward with incredible collaboration, strength, and determination! On the last day of 2020, we shared Cotting’s top nine moments of 2020…though truth be told we had a hard time keeping it to just nine!
  1. True partnership among Cotting School families, faculty, staff, and students allowed us to continue school from home delivering services to our students to the very best of our ability.
  2. Parading to the homes of each member of the Cotting School senior class of 2020 to celebrate the graduation in a new way!
  3. Celebrating the long tenure of six beloved retiring staff members with a record breaking zoom party, Cotting style.
  4. A reverse parade to celebrate the end of the 2020 school year and allow us to “see” each other safely and celebrate.
  5. Virtual Open Mic events, Circle of Friends, and other social events kept our community expressive, connected, and having lots of fun!
  6. Incredible work by the Cotting Reopening Team allowing us to return to in-person school safely.
  7. Groundbreaking, beam signing, and topping off of a brand new Cotting School building. Cotting’s first campaign in more than 30 years and an incredible beacon of hope and excitement for alumni and current students alike!
  8. The AMAZING parents of our students! We have thrived on the unending support and energy Cotting School parents have contributed throughout all of the changes, challenges, twists and turns of school this year.
  9. The community at HOPEhouse and the determination each young adult has shown in putting the skills for independence they are working on to great use.
Mark your calendars:
Monday, January 18:
School closed for Martin Luther King Day Holiday
Tuesday, January 19:
Professional Development Day – No school for students
The Cotting cards are still available!
HOPE single pack – $10 for package of 12 cards
Bright Flowers multi-pack – $10 for package of 12 cards
These notecards, featuring art by Cotting students, are printed and made available for sale by the Cotting PTO each year. This year’s designs are a special printing of past cards whose themes spoke to our unique experiences this year.
The cards are on sale NOW. All orders will be filled on the day they come in.
Email your order to Pam Varrin
Payment by check (made out to Cotting School) or cash.
Thanks for your support!
Cotting PTO
Resources and Events
In the Community
Understanding Our Differences is partnering with the Coolidge Corner Theater to present a live discussion of a new award-winning documentary film, THE REASON I JUMP based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida.
This film is an immersive cinematic experience of non-speaking autistic people across the world.
It blends insights into autism with portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.
The live discussion about the film will be held this Sunday January 10th at 2:00 pm, moderated by Katelyn Flint, reporter/anchor for NBC 10 Boston and NECN. The panel includes director Jerry Rothwell and several of the young people and parents featured in the film. This free discussion will livestream on the Coolidge’s YouTube channel. Pre-registration is not necessary, just click on the YouTube link.
To view the film prior to the discussion: Starting Friday, January 8, the film will be available to screen from your home through the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
This film and discussion are a wonderful way to advance our work of fostering autism awareness and understanding beyond our educational unit on Autism. We invite you to join us!
More information about this event is available on our website:
Horse Around with Horse SenseAbility This Winter
Join us virtually to have fun & learn about horses, Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. from February 3rd to April 7th
  • Led by Sarah Lovett & Cindy Conquest
  • 10 weeks for $100 (including supplies)
If interested, fill out this survey by Sunday, January 10th
Planning for a Secure Future: The Special Needs Trust
Webinar, January 13, 2021, 6:30 p.m., with the Minute Man Arc of Concord.
Free Parent / Guardian Training. As caregivers for children with special challenges, obtaining timely information is crucial for your loved one’s security, success, and above all, their happiness.
  • Whether your goal is to maintain your family member’s eligibility for government benefits and/or to ensure they are cared for after your death, it is essential that a supplemental needs trust is crafted to fit your family’s needs.
  • Discussion will also include ABLE accounts, Section 8, and the importance of updating wills and other key documents, especially in light of the pandemic.
About the speaker: Meredith Greene is the chair of a local Special Needs Practice Group and an Officer with the firm’s Trust & Estate Department. She is both an attorney and a mother to a child with Williams Syndrome. Her practice focuses on special needs planning, estate planning, guardianship & conservatorship, elder law, adult services advocacy, and government benefits advocacy. She was trained as a parent advocate through the Federation for Children with Special Needs and is a member of numerous professional organizations including Council of Parent Attorney and Advocates, Inc., Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc. and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Meredith is on the Board of Directors at Minute Man Arc, is a parent-mentor through MMA’s Early Intervention Program and participates in Operation House Call through the Arc of Massachusetts.
Register for this workshop (Zoom link sent following registration) R.S.V.P. by Monday, January 11th, 2021, to Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.
“Guardianship 102” Virtual Transition Support Group for Parents
Online Groups, January 14th & 28th, 2021, and the second and fourth Thursday of each month, with the Lurie Center for Autism in Lexington, MA.
  • Completing all of the court-required paperwork can be overwhelming.
  • This workshop is a hands-on group tutorial that includes the review of checklists for each attendee and required documentation.
  • It also provides guidance with probate court processes and referrals to legal resources.
  • This workshop can also be provided as a private individual family meeting, by appointment only, at a cost of $100/family.
To register or for more information visit and scroll down to “workshops/events” or contact 781-860-1700
“A light that shines in an empty space makes us feel less alone.”
What does it mean to be an artist today in a field transformed and with fewer opportunities to create? What magic does a performance space hold, even without an audience to fill it? Filmed in OBERON by The Loop Lab, Keep the Light On features acts by Boston Circus Guild members Liz Knights, Elsa Hall, Tim Ellis, and Alexis Hedrick rediscovering the unwavering joy of performing and sharing circus.
Join us for the virtual premiere of Keep the Light On! By purchasing a household ticket, you can join the virtual premiere celebration on January 15 at 8PM ET, watch the event starting at 8:30PM, and have access to the stream for 48 hours.
Tickets are “pay as you can” and start at $5 at
A portion of the proceeds from Keep the Light On will support the Boston Circus Guild Performer Relief Fund, which provides direct financial aid to BCG artists who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual Support in a Pandemic & Beyond for Teens & Young Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Online, January 27th, 2021, with the with the Lurie Center for Autism in Lexington, MA. Throughout much of previous year, many services for autistic teenagers and adults have transitioned to a virtual format.
  • This will be an open discussion of the unique opportunities the virtual space provides for authentic social connection, and skill development for individuals on the spectrum.
About the speakers:
  • Brett Mulder is Director of Teen and Adult Programs, MGH / Aspire Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School, and Psychologist in the MGH Department of Psychiatry.
  • Andrew Harris is Assistant Program Manager, Teen and Adult Services at MGH / Aspire. He designs curriculum for and working with children and teens with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, and runs teen and young adult groups.
  • Jessica Pappagianopoulos is the Assistant Program Manager for Teen & Adult Services at MGH / Aspire.
Registration is required to and scroll all the way down to “workshops/events” or contact 781-860-1700.
Peter Boie: Magician for Non Believers
Enjoy this live stream magic show on Sunday, January 31, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
The award-winning “Magician for Non Believers,” Peter Boie presents a live stream magic show that is high-energy, funny, and showcases incredible, interactive magic for people of all ages.
During this one-hour event, everyone watching will be able to participate, and a few lucky people will join the performance via video call. Peter will teach everyone two amazing but simple-to-learn magic tricks, and entertain a brief Q&A at the end of the event.
A minimum donation of $10 is required to register. Click the button below to make your donation. You’ll receive a link to register for the performance in your donation confirmation email.
Autism Insurance: Advocacy & Beyond
February 3, 2021, with UMass Lowell. Free and open to the public.
The UMass Lowell Center for Autism Research and Education (CARE) Online Expert Speaker Event will feature “Autism Insurance: Advocacy and Beyond.”
* The speaker will be Amy K. Weinstock. Amy is Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center; Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Amy is the parent of a child who has autism; she decided to merge her personal passions and professional experience.
* Amy Weinstock will discuss how grassroots advocacy efforts changed the system of care for people with autism. The presentation will also include current information on insurance coverage for autism, and advice for families and providers.
* This event is co-sponsored by UMass Lowell’s Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies and the UMass Lowell Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies.
For the Zoom link, contact Ashleigh Hillier, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychology, to register and receive the link.
Stay in touch!
Please share your own resources and suggestions! Send them to
Be well and Cotting on!
A Few Helpful Cotting Community Resource Links:
We’ll share photos and updates throughout the year on our Social Media pages! If you don’t already, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Quick links to our social media pages can be found below.
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about Cotting School? Please share the information at the links below with someone you know. Cotting School parents are our best ambassadors and our team is available to connect with families that may have questions about Cotting School at this time!
Let’s keep in touch!

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