Weekly Update: August 12, 2022

Weekly Update

We had so much fun at the Talk2U Pop Up Party!

Information From Cotting School
The Annual PTO Fall Family BBQ is Coming Soon!
If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please use this link for more information:

2022 Sponsorship Information – US Letter by Sheryl Queen


Reach out to Sheryl at sherylannqueen@yahoo.com or Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org

2022-23 Info Sessions

Know someone who might be interested in learning more about sending their student to Cotting? We’ll be hosting information sessions on the following Fridays:

  • 9/16
  • 10/28
  • 11/18
  • 1/20
  • 2/17
  • 3/17
  • 4/28
  • 5/19

Learn more here. To RSVP, contact Director of Admissions Elizabeth Russell at erussell@cotting.org

Film Fans, Take Note!

Are you or your students interested in exploring recreation through movies? Cotting Thorndike Fellow and classroom teacher Lola Piscopo shared links to some awesome short films created by and/or featuring people with disabilities. The content varies, so she suggests previewing films before sharing them with your students. Zeno Mountain Farm is one of the best–in fact, several Cotting alumni have had the opportunity to participate in their films!


Zeno Mountain Farm

Easter Seals Film Festival

Sprout Film Festival (There is a 5 day free trial or you can pay to rent each film individually)

befree: an Adaptive Clothing Company from a Cotting parent!

befree is dedicated to improving lives by addressing the real, everyday challenges of people living with limited mobility and are committed to making adaptive and inclusive fashion that really works. Our goal is to offer a product that provides freedom during a time when freedom feels so far away.

To learn more, go to https://befreeco.com/

Community Resources & Events
Resource for Students with Low Vision

Cal State ExCEL Academy is offering a ten week online program on Saturdays starting September 2022 and ending December 2022. This unique program allows students to be paired with a VI Teacher Candidate, so that they can work on the expanded core curriculum.

As a teacher supporting students with visual impairments and their families, I know how difficult it is to find time to work on skills such as cooking, cleaning, money management, clothing identification, organization, career exploration, and technology. during an average day. That is why this program is so important and so necessary – so our kids receive an opportunity to work on skills rarely touched upon during their school day but pertinent for becoming a successful, independent adults.

Each of our teachers will work with you to identify your child’s current greatest area of need and write a goal that will be worked on throughout the semester. In addition, the students will learn through fun! Each year is theme based, and we plan activities and lessons built around the theme. For example, one year’s theme was “Around the World” where we taught the children about geography and different cultures and traditions.

This program has typically been offered in person to local students with visual impairments in Southern California. Due to COVID 19 safety precautions, we will be providing the program virtually during the Fall of 2022. We are excited to open the program up to students nationwide and internationally!

If you are interested in signing your child up, please click on this link to fill out the survey. Spots are limited, so please respond as soon as possible.

Should you have any questions, you may email me at calstateexcelacademy@gmail.com

Ramona Mclaughlin

Adjunct Professor, Cal State LA

TVI, Corona Norco Unified School District

New Resource in the Community: Katherine Perakis Music Therapy

Former Cotting Program Assistant Katherine Perakis is now a Board-certified music therapist! She has an interest in working with people with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, as well as adolescents and young adults struggling with their mental health. You can reach her and find out more at here.

Sensory-Friendly Open Barnyard in Hingham

Hingham, MA, August 20th, September 3rd and 17th, 2022. This program offers a dedicated hour for families with disabilities, providing a reduced number of guests and quieter sensory friendly environment. Any family that would benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome.

  • During the Weir River Farm Sensory-Friendly Open Barnyard series, meet ponies, llama, and potbellied pig. Interact with goats, sheep, chickens and black and white belted Galloway cattle. On your way down to the barnyard, enjoy the StoryWalk™.
  • During this program, the barnyard is closed to the general public and headcount is limited. Pre-registration is required. Children 2 and under are free.
  • Resources available to prepare for your visit include Story Guide available online.
  • A special sensory kit and visual story guide are available in the barnyard.
  • Limited number of sensory kits and headphones available.

For more information or to purchase tickets click here or contact 781-740-7233 or weirriverfarm@thetrustees.org.

Find more summer and fall accessible outdoor activities for children and families, including properties with mobility-impaired access here.

Adaptive Sailing for Ages 6 – 18 with Visual & Mobility Impairments: Boston

Esplanade, Boston, through August 31st, 2022, with Adaptive Sports New England. Free. Sailors ages 6-18 who have a visual or mobility impairment will meet to learn the basics of sailing.

  • This free program will be located at Community Boating at the Charles River Esplanade in Boston.
  • Parents and siblings may join sailors by arrangement on a space-available basis. Parking is 10-min walk to boathouse.

Click here for more information or contact Adaptive Sports New England, 617-690-9103


Self-Directed Disability Services with the DDS

Webinar Series, August 31st, September 14th & 28th, 2022, with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. Join interactive discussions about expanding choices and control in your life through Self Directed Supports.


  • This is an opportunity to hear how participants and their families can design individualized services to meet their needs through the Participant Directed Program or Agency with Choice.
  • Self-Direction is a process through which an individual/family can design and direct their own services, thus providing people with more options.
  • Self-Direction gives people the opportunity to use their allotted DDS Budget to purchase supports and services that meet their needs and goals.
  • This enables the principal of self-determination to be achieved by Self-Directing Supports.
  • Agency with Choice is a way to support individuals and families to engage in self-determination.
  • The Agency with Choice Provider, agrees to hire qualified staff to provide an individual and their family with direct supports.


  • 8/31/22 – 4:00 pm
  • 9/14/22 – 10:00 am
  • 9/28/22 – 4:00 pm

RSVPS are required to jennifer.r.benoit@mass.gov or visit www.mass.gov/dds-self-directed-services

Two Virtual Disability Voter Forums with Candidates for Attorney General and Governor

Massachusetts Elections are on September 6 and November 8, 2022. Before you cast your vote in these elections, join us in hearing from the candidates themselves about important disability issues.


The Arc of Massachusetts, Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts, Boston Center for Independent Living, Disability Law Center, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong, and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council have organized two upcoming Virtual Disability Forums for the Governor’s and Attorney General’s races.


These Virtual Disability Forums offer a unique opportunity to hear candidates speak, and answer questions about issues important to the disability community in Massachusetts. The virtual forum will be presented as a Zoom webinar and streamed live via The Arc’s Facebook page. We are currently securing American Sign Language (ASL), as well as CART and Spanish interpretation.

2022 Virtual Disability Forum:

Candidates for Attorney General

Thursday, August 11, 6:00 – 7:00PM

Registration: https://bit.ly/2022AGForum

2022 Virtual Disability Forum:

Candidates for Governor of Massachusetts

Thursday, September 8, 6:00 – 7:00PM

Registration: https://bit.ly/2022GovForum

Visit The Arc of Massachusetts Voting Resource Center

Music Education Program for Kids with Special Needs at Concord Conservatory

For kids ages 3 through 10 with special needs


Concord Conservatory of Music (CCM) uses the language of music to help children with special needs flourish. Parents often seek extracurricular activities for their children to help expand their horizons. It’s not an easy task, and it becomes even more complicated when a child has special needs.

Deeply committed to providing educational opportunities for all learners, CCM has contracted with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs to bring Tones of Fun Developmental Music Class to our community. Starting on September 21, 2022, the 45-minute class will meet on Wednesdays at 4:00 pm for ages 3 – 6 and at 5:00 pm for ages 7 – 10 for a 10-week semester.


Music and its creative interactions make Tones of Fun the perfect teaching tool for children with special needs. Physical, language, social, cognitive, and musical development are stimulated through musical play in a celebratory social group of all ages and skill levels. Each class will incorporate simple percussion instruments, creative movement, improvisation, and playful props. A highly trained instructor from the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs will lead the class and ensure that each student receives the attention they need in a safe and welcoming environment.


No previous musical experience is necessary to participate. However, students must be accompanied by an adult to every class, participate effectively in classes, and maintain an environment that is safe for themselves and others. Parents/Caregivers can apply through CCM here


Visit ConcordConservatory.org for more information. Concord Conservatory of Music is the area’s non-profit community music school, located at 1317 Main Street in the West Concord Union Church. Financial assistance is available.



Kate Yoder, Executive Director & Founder

Concord Conservatory of Music

978-369-0010 / kyoder@concordconservatory.org

AANE’s Fall 2022 Virtual Daniel W. Rosenn Connections Conference
A one-day virtual event for the entire autism community: adults with Asperger/autism profiles, family, friends, and professionals!

  • When: November 5, 2022 –  Livestream only (Please note that this conference will not be recorded.)
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM ET
  • Where: Online via Zoom
  • Cost: $40 for AANE Members, $50 for non-AANE Members, $75 for professionals seeking CEUs (CE/CEU/CMEs for MA based social workers, psychologists, LMHCs and medical professionals)

Contact fundraising@aane.org to learn more about membership. AANE provides discounted and free admission upon request. Contact events@aane.org to inquire further.


For too long, autistic perspectives were not valued in key fields that significantly impact life. This year’s virtual conference event will include a series of presentations highlighting how integrating lived experience into professional practice can improve and advance the fields of medical & behavioral healthcare, education, and employment. This annual conference provides autistic adults, families, and professionals working in the autism community opportunities to come together and learn.

Information + Registration

Stay in touch!

Please share your own resources and suggestions! Send them to pvarrin@cotting.org.

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2022-2023 School Year Calendar
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!
Cotting’s Viewbook: Cotting Forward!
Cotting Admissions Information
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