Weekly Update: March 18, 2022

Weekly Update
Spirit Week has been so much fun!
Information From Cotting School
Exciting News: We have added a new live feed calendar to our website! Subscribe to the calendar and choose your preferred language by scrolling to the bottom of the page and selecting from the dropdown menu.
Are you attending the FCSN 2022 Virtual Visions of Community Conference? Don’t miss Director of Cotting Consulting Tim Richmond’s presentation this Saturday, “Assistive Technology Tools to Support Caregivers and Families.”
Support a Cotting Alum’s Fellowship — Participate in a Survey
The main focus of my project is to gather information and experiences about living with a disability and accessing support for the individual and family in several countries. I will present this information to a team of health professionals and educators to help them make a difference in the care they give.
I would appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions and emailing them to me! The answers do not need to be lengthy. Just enough to share your experiences and feedback. Ideally, I need them by mid-late March so that I can put all of the responses together and create a presentation to share with the LEND group. You may pass this questionnaire along to others you know.
Please email your answers to julierburns96@gmail.com
Thank you! Julie Burns, Boston LEND Fellow
RESCHEDULED! Cotting Parent Transition Webinar: What is Your Vision for Your Student’s Life After Cotting?
Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 6:00 pm on Zoom
Please RSVP to pvarrin@cotting.org to receive the Zoom link
Workshop facilitators: Kathy Tyrer, Guidance Counselor, and Pam Varrin, Family Support Coordinator
Parent Panelists: Kathryn Stanley and Cindy Kaplan
This workshop will focus on the process of articulating, organizing and sharing your vision for your child’s best life after Cotting. Two Cotting parents who have joined with others to make future plans for their children will share their process of being guided by their vision in their planning.
Sibling Groups at Cotting This Spring
Saturday, March 26, 2022
10:00 am – 12:00 pm:
Group for participants ages 12-14 years old
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm:
Group participants ages 8-10 years old
We are very pleased at the response to our sibling support groups for the brothers and sisters of our students this year! As you can see from the information above, we have enough participants to be able to plan two groups for two different age ranges.
There is room in both groups for several more participants. If your child is interested in joining a group and is in (or close to) these age ranges, we would love to include them. Just email Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org with your child’s name and age.
We are also offering a parent/guardian group, facilitated by Family Support Coordinator Pam Varrin, which will run at the same time as the sibling groups.  Even if your child is not attending a sibling group, you are welcome to attend the parent group. Email Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org to attend one of these groups.
Save the Date for Cotting School Movie Night
We hope you’ll join us for a special movie screening of Best Summer Ever (PG13), a feature film by Zeno Mountain Farm, on Friday, April 8 at 6 p.m., followed by a Q&A with the directors and featured Cotting alumni. Click here to learn more. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Abby Farquharson at afarquharson@cotting.org.
Community Resources & Events
“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 services that support families.
To register or for more information, click here.
And… you can register for Director of Cotting Consulting Tim Richmond’s workshop!
Saturday, March 19, 2022
3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
Learn about the best technology hacks for home to support students (and families!). We’ll review the top tools & tricks for iPad & Chromebook to simplify the technology experience. From speech to text to guided access, we will illustrate examples that you can use. Where do the accessibility options live? How can I easily demonstrate these tools with my child? This session is beginner friendly and informative! This workshop will be presented in English.
Tim Richmond
Director of Cotting Consulting
In Our Words: Navigating the Disability Transition Years
Free Webinar, March 21st, 2022, with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. This presentation will introduce you to three women who currently receive supports from DDS. They will discuss their experiences navigating their transition years, relationships and Agency with Choice.
For more information or to register, click here or contact Becky Morrissey, DDS Southeast Learning and Development, 774-384-4988, dds.southeasttraining@massmail.state.ma.us
Understanding and Managing Meltdowns, 101
Webinar, March 22nd, 2022, with the MGH Aspire Program for Autism in Lexington. Free. This workshop is intended for parents and caregivers of elementary school-aged children with ASD or a similar social profile who are looking for an introduction to the topic of Managing Meltdowns.
  • Participants will review the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum, the anatomy of a meltdown (including typical triggers) and various considerations that might lead to escalation.
  • Participants will learn ASD-informed strategies to help manage each phase of the meltdown.
  • About these workshops: Aspires’ virtual workshops are designed to support parents and caregivers of individuals with ASD/an Asperger profile.
  • Workshop attendees do not need to have a child currently registered in an Aspire program.
  • Interested adults may register for individual sessions or the entire series.
Registration is required. Scroll down the page to find your desired event or contact 781-860-1900.
Demystifying SSI and SSDI
Webinar, March 23rd, 2022, at 12 noon with the Arc of Massachusetts. Attorney Karen Mariscal will walk attendees through the steps of applying for benefits via Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • What is the application process?
  • Who is eligible?
  • What are the reporting requirements?
  • Learn all of this and more
Registration required or contact at (781) 891-6270 or arcmass@arcmass.org
Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress 2022 Virtual Conference
March 26th & 27th, 2022
  • The 2022 Key-Note Speaker will be Sujeet Desai. Sujeet is a musician, motivational dpeaker and the first individual with Down syndrome to play at Carnegie Hall. Sujeet has mastered more than seven musical instruments – b-flat and bass clarinets, alto saxophone, violin, trumpet, piano and drums – and has received numerous awards for his musical accomplishments.
  • In addition to the keynote address, Sujeet will give an exclusive musical performance during the live launch ceremony.
  • The 2022 conference also features a broad array of live interactive workshops, specialty workshops, and a self-advocate track.
  • The conference also features dozens of sessions for people with Down syndrome, their family members, health care professionals and educators.
  • These sessions will feature the latest research findings and timely information from national and local experts on a range of topics related to Down syndrome.
Fees apply, registration is required to the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress https://mdscconference.org/ or contact 781-221-0024.
Autism and Sibling Relationships(including related disabilities)
Free Parent/Guardian Training
Please join us for this evening of essential information and discussion.
Sue Loring, RN, former Director of HMEA’s Autism Resource Central, will be speaking about the impact on a family of having a child with autism and other related disabilities, and in particular, how that affects the siblings. With her experience both as a professional and the mother of a child on the spectrum, Sue brings her expertise and a great sense of humor to her interactions. She will share with us what she has learned in supporting the many people with whom she has worked and also draw from her own family experiences as she helps us to understand how positive relationships can be fostered. Additionally, Sue will touch on what neurotypical adult siblings need to know when parents are no longer able to provide care.
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m.
via Webinar
(We will send you the Zoom link following registration)
To register for this workshop, R.S.V.P. by Monday, March 21st to
Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.
“Moving Images” Virtual Disability Film Festival
Virtual Event, March 26th, 2022, with Vinfen of Cambridge, MA. Free and open to the public. When a Whisper Becomes a Roar: The Power of You.
  • Each year, Vinfen uses the power of film to raise awareness, foster important dialogues, and fight again the prejudice and discrimination often faced by people with mental health conditions and disabilities.
  • This year they will explore how one significant person or event can make a world of impact. When a whisper becomes a roar, a person’s passion to make a difference takes hold. Be the change you have always dreamed of – this is the power of you.
2022 Movies presented include:
  • Wake Up
  • The Definition of Insanity
  • Autism – The Sequel
To register or for more information visit https://vinfen.org/events/   or contact 617-441-1800 or info@vinfen.org
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
TOPSoccer in Chelmsford
March 31, 2022 – May 31, 2022
Chelmsford, MA, Spring 2022 (please contact group for exact dates). For ages 3 – 22 with a disability.
  • TOPSoccer is a community-based program that is designed to meet the needs of young athletes that have physical and/or intellectual disabilities.
  • Geared towards player participation and development rather than competition, with players placed in groups or on teams according to ability and NOT age.
  • Designed to improve the overall fitness, self-esteem and social skills of the athletes.
“In A Different Key” Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Lexington High School, Lexington, MA, March 31st, 2022. The Lexington Special Education Parents (LexSEPTA / LexSEPAC), will present a film screening and panel Discussion of the film “In A Different Key”.
“In A Different Key” was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. The story is a narrative history of autism, the story of parents fighting for their children ’s civil rights, doctors working to define autism, self-advocacy, and societal change.
  • In the 1940s, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it.
  • Unfolding over decades, the film is a history of liberation from dank institutions, campaigning for rights to attend school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.
  • The film also highlights the stories of the journeys of parents, physicians, lawyers, scientists, and individuals with autism who advocated for themselves and others.
For more information visit the Lexington Special Education Parents Advisory Council https://lexsepta.org/ and scroll down to events or contact presidents@lexsepta.org
New Open Interest Period for the DESE/DDS Program:
If your student needs intensive home supports, you can now put them on the waiting list for this wraparound program with few openings
The DESE/DDS Residential Prevention Program is a wraparound program designed to provide necessary intensive home and family supports in order to reduce the need for a residential placement for students. In addition to a day school placement, students work in their homes with Skills Trainers and other therapists to develop life-long skills. The Open Interest period is offered to refresh the list of interested students and families, as the Program is near capacity. However, there are students who leave the program because they turn 22 or for other reasons throughout the year. New participants are added from the Interest List as spaces become available. Expressing interest in the program is not a guarantee of acceptance. For the Interest Form and more information, please go to this link.
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!
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