Weekly Update: January 20, 2022

Weekly Update

Ms. Paull’s Upper School students did an experiment using ice water, rubber gloves and Crisco to learn how blubber keeps arctic animals warm.

Information From Cotting School

Next PTO Meeting

Friday, February 3, 2023 at 9 a.m.

Want to learn more about the PTO and volunteer opportunities? Join us at the next meeting! You can either attend in person (meetings are held in the school’s Board Room) or online via Zoom. All Cotting parents and guardians are welcome to attend!

Tip of the Week

From Cotting parent Audrey Griffin-Goode:


Agganis Arena’s New Sensory Room Debuts! Space will now be available for those experiencing sensory overload during Disney on Ice, hockey games and other events.

Click here for more information.

Upcoming Events

Please mark your calendar for these upcoming Cotting School events. All in-person events will be on campus and more information will follow.

Cotting Conversation: Establishing Healthy Boundaries

Tuesday, February 14, 3:15-4:15 p.m. ONLINE ONLY

Learn how to discuss establishing healthy boundaries with your children and teach them to be safe and good friends. Click here for more info and to RSVP for a link to the YouTube live stream.


Cotting School-Massachusetts Historical Society Partnership

Wednesday, March 15, 6:30-8:00 pm

Mass Historical has graciously agreed to be the archivists for Cotting’s rich educational history. Come help celebrate the partnership complete with a display of records and images from our 130-year history.


Play it Forward Fundraiser

Featuring Falcon Trivia

Thursday, April 13, 6:00-9:00 pm

Support our after-school and athletics programs! Play trivia, take your chances on exciting raffles and silent auction items, and even give the new candlepin bowling alley a try!


Student Art Show

Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Wonder at the creativity and artistic expression of our talented students. Student civics projects and other interactive displays will be on hand.

Cotting Student Art Cards Can Still Be Ordered for Delivery

Order your Cotting School Student Art Cards now for delivery next week!

Community Resources & Events
Volunteer for Operation House Call

Operation House Call (OHC) teaches essential skills to young medical students as a way to enhance the health care of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Offered by The Arc of Massachusetts, OHC volunteer families, parents and individual self-advocates serve as medical educators in a healthcare field that seldom focuses on more than making a diagnosis. This is a rare and important training opportunity. Through OHC, students begin to build confidence and interest in working with individuals with I/DD, including those with autism, and their families.

In Massachusetts, OHC now has 265 (and growing) volunteer families that teach over 1200 medical professionals every year. OHC is expanding geographically, and more volunteers are always needed. For more information or to volunteer, see the links below.

More information: https://thearcofmass.org/ohc/

Link to volunteer: https://bit.ly/OHC2023

Attention Caregivers: Take the FINDS Survey!

Caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have unique experiences and needs in in comparison to caregivers of other populations. Now is your chance to share your input. The Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey seeks to understand these experiences and perspectives to better support families like yours.

The FINDS survey is conducted by the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota. It uses insights from family caregivers to shape better public policy and service delivery systems.

The survey can be completed online and is available in English, Spanish and French. Those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of six $250 gift cards.

Your perspective is important and can help create a future of better supports and opportunities for people with I/DD and their families!

Take the survey

New Series from The Arc of MA: Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law

Your voice is needed! Join the conversation about the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy’s (MA21) advocacy for changes to the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law.


Help improve regulations and waivers at DDS to increase transparency, flexibility and self-determination. Learn how to be part of organized advocacy with DDS to transform regulations, policies and guidelines to make Self-Direction more transparent and less restrictive.


Sessions are currently scheduled for the following dates and times. You can attend one or more sessions. Additional dates will be posted.


Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.:

  • March 21
  • May 16

Register for Sessions Here

MA21 Real Lives Law Fact Sheet

Housing Options for Family Members with a Developmental Disability

Webinar, with Communitas of Wakefield and The Arc of Greater Haverill-Newburyport Family Support Center. Catherine Boyle, from Autism Housing Pathways, will present a four-part webinar series to help families learn the steps they can take toward a long-term housing option for their family member with a developmental disability.

Next Date and Topic

  • January 27: Applying for Housing – This presentation walks families and professionals through the range of affordable and subsidized housing options available to people with disabilities in Massachusetts. A strategy for completing a basic set of applications and tracking them over time is presented.

RSVPs are required or contact Andrea Morris, The Arc of GHN, by calling 978-373-0552 x211 or emailing andrea.morris@thearcofghn.org.

Universal Access Outdoor Connections in Massachusetts

Winter Recreation: DCR Programs, Parks and Trails

The Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts state parks for visitors of all abilities and ages. Join them on Zoom at Universal Access Outdoor Connections to learn about their offerings and share your experience with accessible and adaptive programs in DCR Parks.

All 2023 Dates and Topics

  • February 17- Partnering with DCR Parks for Programs and Groups
  • March 17 – Accessible Hiking in DCR Parks
  • April 21 – Birding in DCR Parks
  • May 19 – Summer Programs and Opportunities

To get more information, register and get the link to attend, email Kristen.Rhodes@mass.gov.

Need Supportive Housing? Mainstay Can Help!

Join our Housing Informational Sessions on Zoom, led by Doreen Cummings, Director of In-Home Services! Learn about Mainstay’s seven properties and other housing resources in Massachusetts. We will review budgets, websites and meet current residents who will share their perspectives.


All Sessions are from 6-7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Click here for the link

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Click here for the link

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Click here for the link

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Click here for the link

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Click here for the link

Mainstay coordinates supportive homes in Newton, Malden, Norwood and Walpole for adults with a variety of abilities. Residents live largely independently. Services offered include live-in overnight staffing, evening and weekend staffing, professional cleaning of common areas, a daily communal dinner, support with activities of daily living and built-in socialization and friendship opportunities.

Visit our Websites:




If you cannot attend a Zoom Open House session, please contact Doreen via email at doreen.cummings@mainstayliving.org or phone at 617-799-6739 to schedule a one-on-one meeting.

AANE Webinar: Virtual Book Talk with Essmaa Litim

January 24, 2023 from 7-8 p.m.

Register now and watch this webinar live online via Zoom or later on demand.

As part of AANE’s mission to deepen our understanding and learning surrounding the intersectionality of Autism with Race, Ethnicity, Gender Identity and Sexual Identity, AANE will be hosting a book talk with Essmaa Litim, the author of the recently released book SPEECHLESS: Mama’s Story.  Litim writes a moving biography centered in Boston, MA, that chronicles her Algerian mother’s courage and commitment to her non-speaking autistic son and family as she valiantly navigates the barriers and systems of a new country, language, culture, and autism.

This webinar will be recorded. If you are not able to attend the live presentation, registrants will receive the video link to access the recording two business days after the session ends. Registrants will be able to access the recorded presentation for 30 days.

Advanced registration is required.

Supported Decision Making for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Webinar, January 30th, 2023, with Seven Hills of Central Massachusetts. Guest speaker Frederick M. Misilo, Jr., will discuss coming of age legal issues for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Fred is the Chair of Fletcher Tilton’s Trust and Estate Department and is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. His practice focuses on all aspects of estate planning, including the areas of elder law, special needs planning, estate administration, trusts and foundations, guardianship, and adult service advocacy.
  • He will be discussing the legal logistics of guardianship and supported decision-making and its practicality.
  • Virtual events may be attended outside of your typical geographical region. For questions, please contact our Family Support Transition Specialists, Eliana Agudelo, eagudelo@sevenhills.org or Malissa Wilson at mwilson@sevenhills.org.

Click here to RSVP or for more information or contact Family Support Transition Specialists, Eliana Agudelo, eagudelo@sevenhills.org or Malissa Wilson at mwilson@sevenhills.org.

Executive Function in Children: How Parents Can Help

Understanding Our Differences is pleased to invite you to join us on Thursday, February 9 at 7:00 pm for this special evening webinar, “Executive Function in Children,” with Kristen Jacobsen, MS, CCC-SLP. We are presenting this program as part of a series offering expert advice to parents, caregivers and teachers about common challenges for children. All are welcome. Pre-registration is required.

From the Arc of MA: New MRC Program for 18-30 Year Olds


Tuesday, February 14 at 12 p.m. What’s New at the Massachusetts Rehab Commission? The NextGen Careers Program.

David Sykes and Michelle Banks from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) will introduce participants to the NextGen Careers Program at MRC, including service regions and the pathway to enrollment. NextGen Careers is a new initiative at MRC that helps young adults with disabilities, ages 18-30, fast-track their career journey.


NextGeners will learn to advocate for themselves, gain self-confidence, and become self-sufficient on their career path. Whether a certificate program, on-the-job training, or an internship in STEM, NextGen will pair them with a team of dedicated experts in counseling, benefits, and peer support to help them reach their goals.

Register here.

2023 Schedule of Free Events

We’re happy to announce the full 2023 schedule of our Especially for Me series of free events for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have vision or hearing loss or sensory issues. Come explore and discover in a welcoming, ADA accessible, and universally-designed museum environment. These events begin in January and continue throughout 2023.


The event titles indicate the types of accommodations provided, but any family that would benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome; a medical diagnosis is not required. See our website for more details on each event.


The events are free for all family members, but registration is required as space is limited. Dinner, including a gluten-free option, will be available at all evening events. Dates and registration links can be found online at http://bit.ly/EspeciallyforMe.


ASL interpretation may be available upon request; please indicate on the registration form if you would like interpretation.

2023 EFM Event Schedule


  • Sensory-Friendly Afternoons – Tuesdays, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Mornings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Infants and Toddlers – Mondays, 9:30 a.m.-12:30p.m.
  • Evenings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Children – Saturdays, 5-8 p.m.
  • Autism-Friendly Evenings – Saturdays, 5-8 p.m.
  • All-Access Evenings – Saturdays, 5-8 p.m.
  • Visually Impaired Family Evenings – Saturdays, 5-8 p.m.

Click here for a printable schedule.

Wildstar Wranglers

Job Skills Training for Young Adults with Autism

Wildstar Wranglers provides a weekly structured opportunity for 18-24 year olds with autism spectrum disorder who only require minimum to moderate support to prepare for future employment and engage in meaningful work in a safe, supportive and supervised environment.

Tasks include horse care (grooming; leading horses in and out of paddocks; preparing and feeding grain; and performing basic first aid) and barn chores (cleaning stalls, outdoor areas and equipment; organizing tools).

Location: Horse SenseAbility at Wildstar Farm, 16 Nason Hill Lane, Sherborn MA

  • Ages: 18 to 24 years old (maximum of 6 participants)
  • Dates: Tuesday, March 28 – Tuesday, May 23
  • Time: Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $600 *

*Partial scholarships availableTo apply, fill out the online Participant Packet. We will contact you to set up an appointment to visit.


For more information, email info@horsesenseability.org or call 508-744-6774.

Download a printable flyer here

Looking Forward to Summer Already?

Updated summer camp information for 2023 is now available! Check out the extensive listing of camps that accommodate a variety of disabilities and needs by clicking here.


Please share your own resources and questions with Pam Varrin at 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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