Weekly Update: March 4, 2022

Weekly Update
Ms. Walz and her students recently took a community trip to Target and discussed the best types of clothing for a cold winter day. Looks like they will be warm and fashionable!
Information From Cotting School
Service Canines at Cotting
We have updated the information regarding Service Dogs at Cotting events and it will be added to the parent handbook this week. In short, service dogs in their working states are allowed at Cotting events open to the public, not during school programming.
Cotting works very hard to ensure that all students are able to optimally access the programming offered. While some students may have service dogs in their lives and we are supportive of these resources, we do not accommodate service dogs during school programming. School programming includes the school day as well as trips (day and overnight), work experiences, and other adventures open only to Cotting students or by invitation to specific people in the broader Cotting community.
We do allow these service dogs at Cotting events that are open to the public, so long as the service dogs are in their working states during their time on campus.
You can find more information at here, and you are also always welcome to reach out to Lynn Coleman, Clinical Director, or Karen Waddill, Program Director with any other questions or feedback.
POSTPONED — Cotting Parent Transition Workshop on March 8:
What is your vision for your student’s life after Cotting?
A new date for this workshop will be determined and announced soon
Questions? Contact Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org
Workshop facilitators: Kathy Tyrer, Guidance Counselor and Pam Varrin, Family Support Coordinator
Parent Panelists: Kathryn Stanley and Cindy Kaplan
Do you love trivia, fun and giving back to Cotting? Grab some friends and join us for the 5th annual Falcon Trivia Night to support Cotting School!
Would your company be interested in sponsoring a team?
Teams are typically four to eight people and we ask that each team contribute a minimum of $1,000 to play. There will be prizes for the top three teams, a raffle and a silent auction!
Learn more and register here:
Questions? Email Carly Churchill at cchurchill@cotting.org or call
Upcoming Info Session
Know someone who’d like to learn more about sending their child to Cotting School? We’ll be holding an in-person info session (including a brief tour) from 9:30-11:00am on Friday, 3/11. Please feel free to share this information!
RSVP to Elizabeth Russell, 781-862-7323 ext. 114 or erussell@cotting.org.
Sibling Groups at Cotting this Spring
Saturday, March 26, 2022
Times to be announced.
We are very pleased to offer sibling support groups for the brothers and sisters (of any age) of our students again this year. The groups will take place at Cotting School on Saturday, March 26 and will be facilitated by our mental health interns, Rachel Moreno and Sofia DiPace. We will run one or two groups, depending on how many siblings want to participate and the ages of those who are interested. We hope this will be a time for the siblings of our students to feel understood and to make supportive connections with each other.
We will also offer a parent/guardian group, facilitated by Family Support Coordinator Pam Varrin, which will run at the same time as the sibling group(s). Even if your child is not attending a sibling group, you are welcome to attend the parent group.
If you and/or your child’s sibling(s) would be interested in attending a group, please contact Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org. In your response, please let us know the age(s) of the sibling(s) who would like to attend a group and whether you would like to attend the parent group.
Community Resources & Events
Prepping for Disability Transitions & Next Steps
Webinar, March 8th, 2022, 6-7:30 pm, with the Charles River Center of Needham, MA. Discuss the transition to adulthood and the adult eligibility process with presenter – disability advocate and attorney Tere Ramos.
Discussion topics will include:
  • The Adult Eligibility Process
  • Preparing for Adulthood
  • Whatever other topics the audience would like to discuss.
  • Please bring any other questions or concerns
About the Speaker: Tere Ramos is an Education, Social Security disability, and civil rights lawyer.  She focuses her practice on education and Social Security disability law. Tere represents children with special needs and their families, as well as students who have faced bullying, harassment, or civil rights violations in school. She also works to protect the financial future of individuals with disabilities by helping them access benefits.
Registration is required to familysupport@charlesrivercenter.org or visit www.charlesrivercenter.org/.
Adult Family Care (AFC) Information Sessions
Webinar, March 8th & 9th, 2022, with the Arc of Greater Haverhill – Newburyport. The Adult Family Care (AFC) program is an Arc program funded by MassHealth that pays either family* or non-family members a monthly tax-free stipend to care for people aged 16 and older in a home setting, who cannot live safely on their own. *Spouses and guardians may not become the AFC Member’s caregiver.
In order to qualify for AFC services, the member:
  • Must have MassHealth
  • Be 16 years or older
  • Have one or more medical diagnoses
  • Require at least supervision with one Activity of Daily Living (ADL), including: bathing, dressing, eating, transferring, or ambulating
  • Cannot be left alone in the home setting for more than three hours per day
Benefits of joining the AFC Program:
  • RN’s and Case Managers offer ongoing education, advocacy, and healthcare oversight
  • Non-taxable monetary support according to the needs of the individual cared for
  • 24-hour emergency line
  • Assistance with accessing community supports
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish/Eng.) Case Management is available
To register or to request more information, contact Heather Hess Heather.Hess@TheArcofGHN.org or (978) 373-0552 x222
Virtual Disability Legislative Reception for Massachusetts’ Families
March 9th, 2022, 10 a.m – 11 a.m., with The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. Persons with disabilities, family members, advocates, state agency heads and their staff, and legislators to meet and catch up on legislative priorities and other important issues.
  • The 2022 theme is “United by Crisis, Uniting for Change: Our Services and Supports Can’t Wait”
  • The MDDC will be honoring Senator Cindy Friedman, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • The Arc will be honoring Representative Michael J. Finn, the Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, as Legislators of the Year.
  • Lauren Beckham Falcone, WROR radio host and mother of a child with Down syndrome, will be serving as the emcee.
  • The disability community continues to face enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this Legislative Reception, reflect on what our community has endured and how the Massachusetts Legislature and Administration has responded to the crisis.
  • Look ahead as we unite together for change to serve all members of our community equitably.
  • The hosts anticipate several hundred citizens, family members, and staff in the field will attend virtually, as well as numerous elected and appointed officials.
  • American Sign Language (ASL) will be provided, as well as CART and Spanish interpretation.
Accommodations must be requested by February 22.
Click here to register or for more information or  https://thearcofmass.org/ or contact The Arc of Massachusetts (781) 891-6270 or arcmass@arcmass.org 
DDS 101 Disability Transition-to-Adult Workshop
Webinar, March 14th, 2022, with the Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services. Free. The Transition Years: A Miniseries DDS 101 Training.
* This workshop will provide need-to-know information about the Department of Developmental Services as the transition from high school to life after high school approaches.
This workshop will focus on the following topics:
  • ELIGIBILITY: How do I become eligible for DDS Services?
  • AREA OFFICE: What is the role of the DDS Area office?
  • FAMILY SUPPORT: What can Family Support provide to my family, and what are the limitations?
  • SELF-DIRECTION: What are Self-Directed Services? How do they differ from Traditional Services?
  • AUTISM SERVICES: What support is available to my family member with autism, and how do we access it?
To register or for more information click here or contact Becky Morrissey, DDS Southeast Learning and Development
Driving With Autism
Webinar, March 17th, 2022, with a Disability Family Support Center in Peabody, MA.
Driving With Autism – A presentation by Andrew Arboe.
  • This introduction to the Autism Driving Series presents a roadmap for how a new driver can get their license, from obtaining a learner’s permit to taking the road test.
  • Review why transportation is important and the barriers that can prevent someone from driving.
  • Speaker Andrew Arboe will present on the program he founded that will help answer many questions leading up to getting a learners permit.
  • About the speaker: Andrew Arboe is the Director of Community Outreach of Planning Across the Spectrum in Farmington, CT. This outreach includes virtual consultations for autistics learning how to drive in all 50 states. Andrew helped inspire the first driving program in Connecticut for the autism community.
  • Andrew found his path to community outreach because of his experiences as an autistic adult. He graduated from Manchester Community College with an associate degree as a Disability Specialist.
  • Zoom link will be sent 24 hours prior to presentation
Fees apply, registration is required or contact 781.593.1088
“Visions of Community” Special-Needs Conference
Virtual Conference, March 19th, 2022, with The Federation for Children with Special Needs of Massachusetts. Visions of Community is the Federation’s annual conference for parents and professionals caring for children with special needs.
  • The conference includes workshops on topics such as, IEPs and other special education issues, impact of trauma, self-care, health services and benefits, and transition planning.
  • Workshops are offered in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
  • There will also be Virtual Exhibitors sharing information about their services that support families.
To register or for more information click here.
Family Dynamics: Who Will Be There to Worry When I’m Not?
From the Mass Sibling Support Network
Tuesday, March 22nd
7:00 – 8:15 pm
Special needs planning is an emotional process — and we tend to put it off. Every family is unique; therefore, planning for who will be there next to take care of your child requires important conversations.
  • Have you had discussions with family members?
  • Have you considered who would be a future guardian if you are not here?
  • Have you created an important contacts list of everything you do for your child so you will make it easier on others who need on these responsibilities?
We can move forward on this journey by listening and learning from others who have been there. In this workshop, Patric Barbieri, adult sibling of a person with a disability, Co-Director of ForeverParent, and retired Executive Director of LABBB Collaborative, will talk about his family experience and share what he has learned along the way, both personally and professionally.
Self-Directed Services for Adults With Disabilities
Webinar, March 28th, 2022, with the Seven Hills Support Centers of Central Massachusetts. Pam Hickey, DDS Regional Self-direction Manager, will explain the concept and answers questions that you may have.
  • Self-Directed Services for Adults with Disabilities – A growing number of individuals who live and receive services in the community are choosing to self-direct their services.
  • The purpose of Self-direction is to expand individual choice and control over services and supports that they need to live in the community.
RSVPs are required or contact Pam Hickey, Regional Self-Direction Manager, 413.205.0871 or pamela.hickey@state.ma.us
Stay in touch!
Please share your own resources and suggestions! Send them to pvarrin@cotting.org.
Helpful Links
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Cotting School every time you shop, at no cost to you. Just select “Cotting School, Inc.” as your charitable organization and remember to shop at smile.amazon.com! Amazon will then donate a portion of your order’s purchase price to Cotting School!
Spread the Word!
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 would like to learn more!
Follow us on social media for more photos, videos & updates!

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