Parent Weekly Update: May 14, 2021

Weekly Update
Anika and her classmates were excited to begin some planting projects!
For more updates from this week, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram.
Information From Cotting School
Continuing this month from the Cotting PTO – two opportunities to join in with fellow parents to plan activities and events!
For those of you who might have trouble joining a daytime meeting, the Cotting PTO will again be offering two times, one in the morning and one in the evening, for their May meeting:
Wednesday, May 19 at 6 pm on zoom
Friday, May 21 at 8:30 am on zoom
Both meetings will follow the same agenda, which will be sent out at the beginning of next week. Come join us to learn what’s going on at a time that works for you – you are welcome at either or both!
Cotting PAC Meeting
Friday, May 21 at 9:30 am on zoom
Agenda will be sent out early in the week.
The 2020-2021 Cotting School Annual Fund T-Shirt is here!
We can’t get enough of the retro look of this year’s Cotting School Annual Fund t-shirt! You can order our 2021 t-shirt design on a t-shirt or hoodie (your choice)!
Use this link to place your shirt order. Your Annual Fund shirt order counts as a generous contribution to the Cotting School Annual Fund! Help us achieve 100% Cotting community participation by placing your order. If you have questions please contact Omni Raimo (oraimo@cotting.org)
Pam Varrin is available to assist Cotting families in need of financial assistance. You can reach Pam at pvarrin@cotting.org.
Past Cotting Mental Health Intern and Cotting Sibling Groups Leader Emaline Surgenor is recruiting participants for her doctoral project on siblings!
BE A PART OF EXCITING RESEARCH ABOUT SIBLINGS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER & ABA THERAPY!
Siblings (ages eight and above) of an individual who has been diagnosed with ASD (aged 4-18) and have received at least 6 months of in-home ABA treatment in the last two years are invited to share their experiences. Participating siblings must have lived at home during their sibling’s ABA therapy treatment. In addition, participating siblings must not be diagnosed with autism and must be aware of their sibling’s diagnosis.
Participation includes a 30-45-minute interview with each participant. Each participant will receive a $20 gift card to Amazon as a token of gratitude for their participation.
If interested, kindly email emaline_surgenor@williamjames.edu
Emaline Surgenor, MA
Fourth Year PsyD Candidate, William James College
We hope our you will grab your hard hats and join Dave Manzo and Bridget Irish for a virtual tour of the new Campus Center! It’s on schedule to be completed for fall term 2021, and we’d love to share the progress with you.
Wednesday, May 19
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP to Omni Raimo at
to get the meeting link.
Yearbook (2020-2021) order forms went home in backpacks this week and are due back by Friday, May 21, 2021. An electronic form was emailed to families of remote students. The cost is $25 per book and they will be distributed to classrooms (or mailed home to remote students) in June. Please note that seniors are provided one yearbook free of charge!
If you need another copy of the Yearbook Order Form it can be found here.
If you have any questions at all, please reach out to Abby Farquharson at afarquharson@cotting.org.
The Talk2U 2021 program will be virtual this year.  We will host 4 online sessions (each 45-60 minutes depending on the interest of the group members) during the week of August 9-13, 2021.
 Virtual sessions are scheduled as follows:
  • Monday, August 9: 9-9:45 AM
  • Tuesday, August 10: 6:15-7:00 PM
  • Wednesday, August 11: 9-9:45 AM
  • Thursday, August 12: 6:15-7:00 PM
Sessions will be held using Zoom. Participants can join all 4 sessions or drop-in to individual sessions as your schedule allows.
The cost of the program is $35 per participant. Each registered participant will receive a t-shirt and materials packet, mailed in advance of the program. Planned activities will make use of the items sent, common household items, and creativity.
Participants can expect:
  • conversation and fun with other people who use AAC
  • short challenges to complete with a partner (either online or someone at home with you)
  • an opportunity to share a joke or a story
  • a mini-mystery to solve together
Please feel free to share with students and friends. We are building our 2021 group now. Talk2U provides AAC enrichment opportunities for teens and tweens. Join us this summer on Zoom!
Contact Melissa Mulvey with questions at 781-862-7323 x257 or mmulvey@cotting.org.
Resources and Events
In the Community
Special Needs Arts Programs, Inc., provides people with developmental and intellectual disabilities recreational opportunities that celebrate each person’s unique abilities while cultivating expression, building peer relationships and fostering self-esteem through life enhancing activities in art and music.
Summer Special Artists will being on July 10th and run for four consecutive Saturdays. We have a 10am and an 11:30am class. Cost is $70. We are still programming virtually this summer and will mail or deliver all project supplies the week before class begins. If you have attended a program at SNAP already this program year, you can proceed directly to our program payment page. If you are new to SNAP and would like to register for summer Special Artists, please click here.
We are excited to introduce a new program this summer, Chorus Camp! Chorus Camp is different from our regular Sing Along Chorus in that each participant will focus on learning a song of their choosing. Participants will work on their song during the month of July and perform in a virtual concert at the end of Chorus Camp. In the on-line registration form, each participant needs to list up to five songs that are personal favorites. Music Director Tom Malone will pick their song from the list they submit. Participants need to indicate if they would like to perform as a soloist or in a duet or trip group. Chorus Camp will be run by Tom and our SNAP Accompanist Harley Smith.
Chorus Camp will run for four weeks on Wednesday evenings starting on July 7th, from 7-8pm. This program will take place over Zoom. The cost of the program is $70. Enrollment is limited and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please enroll early to secure your spot.
To register for Chorus Camp, please click here.
Improving Your Child’s Sleep… and Your Own!
Webinar, May 19th, 2021, with the Lurie Center for Autism in Lexington. Sleep is a common challenge for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Presenters Ann Neumeyer, MD, and Rachel Goldin, PhD, will host an open discussion around understanding sleep, medical considerations, and addressing underlying issues and behavioral strategies to improve sleep.
About the speakers
  • AnnElise Wulff, MEd, MGH Aspire Works. Elise emphasizes that there is a mutual accountability of neurodiverse individuals and their environments (schools, communities, workplaces) to create safe, inclusive spaces that enhance the potential for success for all involved. She has specific expertise in inclusive practices, program design, social-emotional curriculum, tools to build independence, and strategies for building Executive Functioning.
  • Laura Sears is a trained mental health counselor with a background in developmental disabilities and serious mental illness and has master’s degree with a specialization in providing counseling services to individuals with developmental disabilities. She has also worked as a crisis clinician and mental health counselor for adults with serious mental illness
Registration is required, scroll down to your desired event, or contact LurieCenter@partners.org or call: 781-860-1700. Event link will be emailed by 1:00pm on September 23rd.
Demystifying Insurance Coverage for Youth with Behavioral Health Needs in Massachusetts
Webinar, May 20th, 2021, with The Children’s Behavioral Health Knowledge Center at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)
  •  Topic: Are you a parent looking for treatment for your child with a behavioral health challenge, but are confused about where to start?
  • Or maybe you are a case manager, family partner, or other helping professional who is assisting a family who is seeking in-home behavioral health care for their child, but aren’t sure if these services are covered by commercial insurance?
  • Then join the Children’s Behavioral Health Knowledge Center at DMH and Amy Weinstock from the Autism Insurance Resource Center for a primer on how to navigate commercial insurance benefits for youth in Massachusetts.
  • About the Speaker: Amy Weinstock is the Director of the Autism Insurance Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, and an instructor in the medical school’s Department of Psychiatry. She has an extensive background on insurance issues related to autism and has played a key role in passing several significant pieces of autism insurance legislation in Massachusetts.
Click here to register for the webinar or for more information or contact Jacob Ward, UMass Donahue Institute, jbward@donahue.umass.edu
Legislative Breakfast: The Workforce Crisis & How it is Affecting the Disability Community
Virtual Event, May 21st, 2021, with The Providers of Central Massachusetts. The Providers of Central Massachusetts are hosting the 30th Annual Legislative Breakfast virtually.
  • The event brings awareness to our legislators about the needs of individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts.
  • This year they focus on the workforce crisis and how this crisis is affecting the disability community. They need people to “Hear Our Voices”, so please join this event and help us be heard.
  • The first 200 registrants will receive a Providers of Central Mass coffee mug, coffee and a pastry for the event. Register soon so that you can “raise a cup” with us on May 21st.
  • Featured Guest Speaker: Representative Michael Finn, Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.
  • The Providers of Central Mass are a group of providers from Central Massachusetts supporting individuals with disabilities. Together they stand to have their voices heard from our Legislators on topics that affect the individuals they serve. Their mission is to enhance the lives of the disability community by raising awareness for each individual’s needs.
Click here to register or for more information or contact The Center of Hope Foundation 508.764.4085
Adaptive Indoor Climbing for All Ages
Somerville, May 23rd, 2021. Adaptive Climbing Group-Massachusetts All Ages Adaptive Climbing Sessions includes youth participants. Everyone is encouraged to come climb – accommodations and equipment will help climbers with any disability get on the climbing wall. ACG will provide a safe, fun and supportive environment for people with disabilities to discover and enjoy the sport of climbing.
  • ACG volunteers will be on hand to help fit gear, guide new climbers, and belay the ropes.
  • CLIMBERS: Cost (admission, gear, and climbing support) for participants is $11.
  • Payment can be made at the front desk of the facility on the day of the session.
  • GUEST/ FAMILY MEMBER– Guest and family members can join the session and must fill forms again with your information so the gym has a record of all attendees.
  • If you are climbing, the cost will be $11.
  • Please inquire about updated COVID-19 protocols.
Understanding Government Benefits Workshop
The Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network (CPLAN) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) invite you to join us May 25 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM on Zoom to learn about SSI, SSDI, Auxiliary Benefits for Children, MassHealth, Medicare, and more!
Please contact Ivelisse Caraballo, with questions at icaraballo@cplanma.org.
Telling Your Loved One’s Story: The Letter of Intent
Free Parent/Guardian Webinar
This time last year, many of us created a long list of daunting tasks that we seemed to never have time for in the past. Among those goals may have been completing the Letter of Intent, a document that, as an addition to the legal papers you already have (hopefully) completed, is perhaps the most valuable document you can prepare for the future well-being of your loved one.
If you have not yet achieved this objective or if you just added this to your list, please join us for this informative evening.
Alex Nadworny CFP ®, of Affinia Financial Group (and a sibling of a brother with Down Syndrome) will touch on the high points of this essential document and why completing the Letter of Intent is so important for the future of everyone in your family.
Please join us for this informative evening.
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 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, May 24th to jmell@minutemanarc.org
Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.
DDS Northeast Region Virtual Family Support Conference
Virtual Event, May 27, 2021, 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM, with the Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services. Free. The goal of this free conference is to provide a variety of information to individuals and families on programs and support services for individuals with developmental disabilities or those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder living throughout the DDS Northeast Region.
Speakers:
  • Jane Ryder, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
  • Kelly Lawless, Northeast Regional Director for the Department of Developmental Services
  • Keynote Speaker – Cheryl Ryan Chan, Building Community
Registration is open to anyone who would like to learn more about DDS support services.
REGISTER HERE or for more information, please contact Michelle Vercellone at Michelle.Vercellone@mass.gov.
This conference is made possible by the Family Support Centers throughout the Northeast Region and the Department of Developmental Services.
“Guardianship 102” Virtual Transition Support Group for Parents
Online Group, May 27th, or the second and fourth Thursday of each month, with the 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.
Click here to register or for more information and scroll down to “workshops/events” or contact 781-860-1700
Stay in touch!
Please share your own resources and suggestions! Send them to pvarrin@cotting.org.
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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