Parent Weekly Update: March 19, 2021

Weekly Update
Based on all of the smiles we think Spirit Week was a success!
For more updates from this week, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram.
Information From Cotting School
See the slides from Kerry Mahoney’s keynote presentation “Charting the Life Course” here.
Check out the transition vendors resources here.
Upcoming Transition Fair events:
March 24th, 6:00 – 7:00 Housing: Join us as we welcome three Cotting Alumni families to learn from their varied experiences in the process of preparing for, finding, and evaluating supported housing options for their adult children. This will be a closed presentation and discussion for Cotting Families Only. Register in advance for this event using this link.
March 31st, 6:00 -7:00 Cotting Alumni Parent Panel: Adult Day Programs (Cotting Families Only). Register in advance for this event using this link.
Please email Director of Post-Secondary Pathways, Sejal Costa, at or Director of Transition Services, Mike Teuber, at with any questions or for more information.
Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with Cotting Student Ashley’s family! (Ms. Paull’s class)
World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st, Crazy Sock Day!
Why March 21?
Down syndrome is due to an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. This gives someone with DS three copies of this chromosome instead of the typical two. Since there are three 21’s, World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st, or 3/21!
Why crazy socks?
When you look at the chromosomes, they look like a pair of socks. Wearing crazy or mismatched socks is to promote celebrating the things that make us uniquely ourselves.
And my favorite reason…. crazy mismatched socks usually get attention! If someone notices, they may ask about them and give you a chance to talk about Down syndrome and your friend, Ashley, who happens to have DS.
We would like to invite you to celebrate SDSD with our family (from wherever you are) by wearing your crazy socks. If you do, please feel free to send Ms. Paull ( and she will post them on Instagram.
We believe that although we are not all the same, we are more alike than different and better together! The Campbells
The Cotting PTO is bringing Omnium to the Cotting Community!
Mark your calendars for an online “dinner and a show” event!
Friday, March 26, 2021 on zoom
6:00 pm   Circus performance
7:30 pm    Open Q&A with Jen Bricker Bauer, a person with a disability born without legs and an accomplished acrobat and aerialist with Omnium.
Get your “ticket” to this event by emailing Pam Varrin at with “I want to go to the circus!” in the subject line.
“Omnium: A Bold New Circus will transport you into a world of wonder, inspiring all with extraordinary feats of human accomplishment and the astounding potential of the human spirit. Experience the stars of international circus, from all four corners of the globe as they perform jaw-dropping spectacles. With full inclusion, both in and out of the rings, we celebrate our diversity and create joy, laughter and inspiration. We enrich empathy among all people and inspire healthier communities through shared positive experiences.”
Many thanks to the Cotting PTO for arranging and funding this experience.
Virtual Grandparents and Grandfriends Day is May 6th!
This year’s Virtual Grandparents/Grandfriends Day will provide an opportunity for folks to zoom in from the comfort of their homes! We will update everyone on the latest in Cotting’s Capital Campaign and provide an opportunity to ask questions about this exciting project. While students won’t be with us live for the event, we plan to show a short video starring our students, so that everyone can catch a glimpse of the latest in our classrooms! We miss our Grandparents and Grandfriends and hope this zoom time will suffice until we can safely gather together back at Cotting.
If you are new to Cotting in the last year, or believe we have an outdated or missing mailing address for a student’s grandparents or grandfriends, please contact Paul Chiozzi at with that information by Friday, March 26th.
We plan to invite any folks that we have contact information for, sometime in the next couple of weeks. If there is anything else we should know before sending invites, please also let Paul know by 3/26. Thank you!
Resources and Events
In the Community
“Moving Images” Virtual Disability Film Festival
NORMIE – When Annemarie looks in the mirror, she sees Down syndrome. She hates it. To her, the diagnosis is a giant barricade keeping her from the independence and intimacy she desperately desires. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to understand what it means to be normal.
  • Followed by a panel discussion featuring:
  • Star from NORMIE Annemarie Carrigan
  • Star from NORMIE and Annemarie’s father Pat Carrigan, CFA
  • Principal at Crawford Consulting and Communications, LLC and former Chair of Vinfen’s Family Advisory Council Kathleen Crawford, MBA
  • Board-certified medical geneticist, Emma Campbell Endowed Chair on Down Syndrome at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress Medical and Science Advisory Council Chair Brian G. Skotko, MD, MPP
BEDLAM – Through intimate stories of patients, families, and medical providers, BEDLAM immerses us in the national crisis surrounding care of the severely mentally ill.
  • Filmed over five years, it brings us inside one of America’s busiest psychiatric emergency rooms, into jails where psychiatric patients are warehoused, and to the homes – and homeless encampments – of mentally ill members of our communities, where silence and shame often compound personal suffering.
  • Followed by a panel discussion featuring:
  • Addiction Psychiatrist and director, producer, and writer of BEDLAM Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, MD
  • Star from BEDLAM Johanna Marie Swartz
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and star from BEDLAM Julea Leshar McGhee, MD, MPH
Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops – Part of the San Antonio Police Department’s ten-person mental health unit, Ernie Stevens and Joe Smarro are putting compassionate policing practices into action. Ernie & Joe chronicles their daily encounters with people in crisis, showing how their innovative approach to policing – which takes mental health into account – is having a dramatic effect on the way police respond to these challenges.
  • Followed by a panel discussion featuring:
  • San Antonio Department Police Officer and star from Ernie & Joe Ernie Stevens
For more information visit   or contact 617-441-1800 or
“Housing 101” for Families with Special Needs
Webinar, March 24th, 2021, with the Autism Alliance of Natick MA. Free. Part of the Alliance’s
Spring 2021 Speaker Series.
  • Speaker Catherine Boyle, president of Autism Housing Pathways of Massachusetts, will be the presenter.
  • Autism Housing Pathway’s “Housing 101” introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services – including for those without DDS supports.
  • Some examples are given of how these can be combined with private funds to create housing.
The presentation typically includes:
  • a review of public funds available to pay for housing
  • state care support options (including non-DDS)
  • the crucial process of combining available public funds with realistic family assets to create the best potential for housing options
  • all of the important steps to any plan in process.
RSVPs required to (508) 652-9900 or 
You have been invited to Virtual Trivia Night!!!
What’s a Virtual Trivia Night?
It’s just like an in-person Trivia Night, but we will play over Zoom. This Virtual Trivia Night is on Tuesday, March 30th at 6:00 pm EST. You can RSVP by registering as an individual or household at a giving level that is comfortable for you. All funds raised will go to support the young leaders of EPIC.
How to join the event?
On the day of the event, the registered attendees will receive an email with a Zoom link for EPIC’s Virtual Trivia Night.
How will the game work?
When the event starts, as an individual you will be randomly put into teams and assigned a Service Warrior as a team captain. As for households, gather around with your families and come enjoy some fun.
We will open the zoom waiting room at 5:55 pm EST. After introductions and instructions, Trivia will start promptly at 6:05 pm. There will be one 15 minute intermission in the middle that will include a live music performance, and then the event will end at 7:30 pm EST.
For questions:
Dorothy Whitfield
Insurance Options for Adults
Free Parent/Guardian Webinar
This webinar will focus on insurance options available for adults in Massachusetts with autism, ID/DD and other disabilities. A review of both public (MassHealth) and private (BCBS, Cigna, etc.) options will be included. An overview of Medicare, SSDI and SSI will also be addressed as well as provision of resources for you to access.
Terri Farrell is the Project Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center of Massachusetts (AIRC).
The AIRC provides technical assistance to families, providers, and agencies in need of information related to both public (MassHealth) and private insurance. Terri was appointed the chair of AFAM’s (Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts) Government Affairs Committee in 2013. AFAM is the leading Massachusetts autism advocacy non-profit promoting budgetary and legislative initiatives at the state level.
Terri has presented at local conferences focusing on autism insurance, transition and issues affecting homeless youth with ASD as well as SPEDPACS throughout the Commonwealth on the ARICA law and how to access ABA coverage through MassHealth. She has an MBA from Northeastern University and completed a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disability) Fellowship in 2015 to build on her expertise in the field of autism insurance.
Please join us for this informative evening.
Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Time: 6:30-8:00 PM
Format: Webinar
(Zoom link will follow registration)
To register for this workshop, R.S.V.P. by Monday, March 29th to
Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.
Team Verge Spring Season
April 11 – June 13
Center Track, Lexington
  • 9:30-10:30am (ages 7-12)
  • 10:45-11:45am (ages 13+)
Lincoln Park, Lexington
  • 6-7pm (all ages)
*Note that Sunday location is subject to change due to school sports scheduling during the pandemic.
Pre-Season Orientation/Training is THIS SUNDAY 3/21! (Ages 12+)
Contact Amanda Russell
VOLUNTEER as a peer coach!
Sign up NOW
Registration opens March 21
Fee: $100 per family
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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