Parent Weekly Update: May 21, 2021

Weekly Update
Members of Cotting’s Class of 2021 enjoyed a celebration on Saturday! Great friends, carnival-style adventures, even a place to decorate caps for graduation! There was
music, dancing, and pizza for all. Seniors ended the evening with a movie and
a slideshow. We are looking forward to even more fun activities and events with
Cotting seniors in the coming weeks! See more pictures from the day here!
For more updates from this week, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Instagram.
Information From Cotting School
Current Cotting School parents are invited to learn more about opportunities at HOPEhouse for young adults ages 17-22. Register today for a virtual meet and greet which will include a tour of HOPEhouse! This event is open to all.
The 2020-2021 Cotting School Annual Fund T-Shirt is here!
This year’s Cotting School Annual Fund t-shirt or hoodie (your choice) sale has begun and will be ongoing through the end of the school year and into the summer! Order yours today
at the link below. Your shirt order counts as a generous contribution to the Cotting School Annual Fund!
Use this link to place your shirt order. Help us achieve 100% Cotting community participation by placing your order. If you have questions please contact Omni Raimo (
Pam Varrin is available to assist Cotting families in need of financial assistance. You can reach Pam at
Past Cotting Mental Health Intern and Cotting Sibling Groups Leader Emaline Surgenor is recruiting participants for her doctoral project on siblings!
Siblings (ages 8 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, MA
Fourth Year PsyD Candidate, William James College
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
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 begin 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 trio 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.
On Monday, May 24, Leo and Kerry are excited to welcome Rosalie Edes for a discussion of the new “Tools for Tomorrow” booklet. Tools for Tomorrow is a tool you can use to implement your person-centered plan, which utilizes Charting the LifeCourse. Register here.
In Pursuit of the Good Life Across the Lifespan
Introducing a new series from The Arc of Massachusetts
and the Department of Developmental Services
The Department of Developmental Services and The Arc of Massachusetts have partnered with Quillo Connect to produce a series of short videos that feature how Massachusetts is using the Charting the LifeCourse framework and tools to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families. Each week from May through July two stories authored by Massachusetts families, self-advocates, and professionals will be released. To learn more, visit
How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed the World
Webinar, May 25th, 2021, with SPARK Kindness of Natick, MA.
For elementary and middle school students and their caregivers. Celebrated disability rights activist and author Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins will share her book, “All the Way to the Top,” which addresses the struggle for inclusion and the fight for equality in our country. Ms. Keelan-Chaffins will also encourage young people to use their voices to make a positive difference.
Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins is an advocate and activist for disability rights. At age eight she participated in the famous “Capitol Crawl” protest to support the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In 1990, she received the Americans With Disabilities Act Award from The Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities. Currently she does educational speaking presentations to teach children the importance of the ADA, the Capitol Crawl, and the disability rights movement in American history with a emphasis on education, advocacy, and empowerment.
Neuropsychological Evaluations:
What are they and what to look for in an evaluator?
When: May 26, 2021, at 7:00 PM ET
Please join us for an upcoming free webinar presented by NESCA’s Founder and Director Ann Helmus, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist.
In this live webinar, Dr. Helmus will explain what a neuropsychological evaluation is and how it can be a vehicle to getting the appropriate supports for a child or adolescent who is struggling academically, psychologically, socially, or developmentally. Dr. Helmus will discuss what you should look for in a neuropsychological evaluator and what should be in the resulting report. She will also delve into NESCA’s philosophy that the tests administered in a neuropsychological evaluation are not what diagnoses the person being tested…the people who are evaluating the child or student do.
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
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.
  • 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
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
Adapted CPR/FA/AED Course through B.I.L.T.*
We will be conducting a CPR/FA/AED course on June 27th from 10am-12pm in the Lexington area (specific location will be announced once a few details are ironed out).
Participants will learn about emergencies, how to react in an emergency, choking care, CPR care, and how to use an AED. All participants will be certified and take-home visual aids, as well as a CPR mask keychain.
About B.I.L.T.
Bridging Independent Living Together, Inc. works to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through compassionate support. Our team is committed to bridging the gap of care to enhance individuals’ independence, maximize their capabilities, and provide meaningful community inclusion by assisting and supporting their choices with regard to housing, socialization, learning, employment opportunities and recreational activities.
For more information about B.I.L.T. go to
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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