Weekly Update: May 12, 2023

Weekly Update

Students had a great time making healthy smoothies in the OT Skills Lab!

Information From Cotting School

Shout Out to the PTO Snack Squad

The Cotting PTO “Snack Squad” continues to surprise and delight Cotting staff with unexpected treats on ordinary work days. Somehow, just when a pick-me-up is most needed, an avalanche of yummy snacks appears like magic in the staff lounge. Since the PTO switched from a once-a-year event to “sprinkling” its staff appreciation activities throughout the year, the results have been very welcome!


Cotting Alumna Esther Greenspan is a Published Co-Author

Esther and Jonathan, two people with disabilities, doubted they would ever find love. But then love found them. This heartwarming memoir in words and photos tells their story. In eighteen revelatory chapters—including Love at First Sight, Angels and Miracles and Secrets of True Love—the authors describe their intimate bond and reveal their genius for connection: laughing, crying and celebrating together, writing poetry and singing to each other, soothing each other’s fears and sorrows and listening to each other’s dreams. Esther’s mother, Miriam, writes: “We are so grateful for all the people who helped Esther find her voice and represent her life so that others may benefit. Thank you, Cotting School, for being such an important part of Esther’s development and growth!”

Available through Amazon.

Got Feedback? We Want to Hear It!

The Cotting School website has been going strong for a truly impressive and almost unheard of seven years. It was a huge undertaking and major collaboration for the Cotting community, but a lot has changed since 2016. The time has come for a new website, and to make it as user-friendly as possible, we need your help!

Take our survey: https://forms.gle/34xNR87Y1CDdHyU47

It only takes two minutes (or less) to fill it out!

Questions, comments or concerns? Email Amanda at abalagur@cotting.org.

On Sale Now: 2022-2023 Yearbooks

The Cotting School yearbook includes all students, staff and events from the current academic year. If you would like to purchase a 2022-2023 yearbook ($30), please complete the form below and return it to Cotting (Attention: Mike Drew/Development Office) BY THURSDAY, MAY 18. You can leave it at the front desk with Andie, with your student’s homeroom teacher or email it to Mike (see below). Payment by cash, check or Venmo (@cotting-school) is accepted. Please note that seniors (class of 2023) receive one yearbook free of charge.

Questions? Contact Mike at mdrew@cotting.org.

Order form – English

Order form – Spanish

Order form – Chinese

You’re Invited: Spring Social

ALL Cotting parents/guardians are invited to a Spring Social on Friday, May 19, 2023 from 7-9:30 p.m. The event will take place in the Family Courtyard across campus from where the prom is being held. Chat with old friends and new while enjoying hearty appetizers and beverages. This complimentary event is open to all Cotting parents and guardians, regardless of your student’s age and whether or not they plan to attend the prom.

We hope you can join us! Click HERE to register! Reach out to Carly Churchill at cchurchill@cotting.org with questions.

Join the Prom Committee

Want to help make this year’s red carpet event-themed prom as amazing as possible? We’re looking for parent/guardian volunteers to help organize the drink station with several fun options for students to choose from and a creative way to serve them!

Open to any parent or guardian of a student at Cotting School. After setting up, we would encourage you to then go join the parent/guardian Spring Social in the Campus Center for drinks and apps.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please reach out to Marcie Garon mgaron@cotting.org or Dave Largenton dlargenton@cotting.org.

Program Level Discussion

Join us on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom​ for the follow-up discussion about the continuity and differences between program levels at Cotting. We will send a reminder email with the Zoom link closer to the event date.

Thank you to the parents who joined our conversation about the groupings process on a beautiful Wednesday evening! You can find the slides from that event here for your reference.

Attention Upper School & Capstone Families: Project Bridges Breakfast

If your student participates in Project Bridges, we hope you can join us for a morning event on Wednesday, May 24 from 9-10:30 a.m. in Cotting’s Campus Center. There will be a light breakfast, employer awards, meeting employers from job sites and celebrating with other students and families. Please RSVP by May 19 to Job Coach/Advancement Coordinator Mike Drew at mdrew@cotting.org or 781-862-7323 x168.

Grandparents Day Reception

Grandparents, “grandfriends”, relatives and family friends are welcome to attend this event on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 from 5-6 p.m. at Cotting School. Light refreshments will be served, staff will be on hand to answer questions and we’ll be sharing what goes on day-to-day at Cotting with tours and an interactive activity. Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to attend with their guests. After the reception, please stay for Cotting’s annual Art Show (details below). Families may RSVP on behalf of their guests to Mike Drew at 781-325-7997 x168 or mdrew@cotting.org.

Cotting’s Annual Art Show

All Cotting community members are welcome to the Campus Center on Wednesday, May 31 from 6-7:30 p.m. for the annual Art Show, a celebration of creativity and artistic expression! Student artwork, sustainability projects and more will be on display. Thanks to our event sponsor, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals! No RSVP necessary.

Community Resources & Events
ILL-ABILITES™: No Excuses, No Limits
Technology for Students Who Learn Differently

Online Summer Weekly Workshops

Discover your creative potential this summer with our Weeklong Workshops! TKU’s dynamic program features a different tech topic each week.

The workshops run from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can choose between registering for full or half-day sessions. The program is a great way to develop your skills and explore new tech in a fun and engaging environment. Youth workshops are for ages 7-13 and Teens/Young Adult workshops are for ages 14-22.


Enroll before May 15 for Early Bird Registration with a 20% discount.

Learn more.

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

Webinar on Tuesday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.

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.

Register for Sessions Here

MA21 Real Lives Law Fact Sheet

Navigating Vocational Rehabilitation for Applicants & Consumers

Webinar, May 16, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. with the State of Massachusetts’ Client Assistance Program. For individuals with disabilities applying for or currently receiving vocational rehabilitation services, their families, and VR stakeholders.

* Join the Client Assistance Program staff for an interactive presentation to learn about navigating vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.

* They will cover the purpose of the VR program and the role of each party (consumer and VR agency staff) in implementing services to reach an employment goal, how to recognize when something might be going wrong, and how to get back on track.

* To help participants better understand the VR process, they will review a hypothetical Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and experience how services are selected to meet their goal of employment. Come ready to interact and bring any questions you have.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain a basic understanding of VR
  • Recognize the importance of the employment goal and IPE and their role in determining VR services
  • Learn basic strategies for navigating the VR process
  • Learn how the Client Assistance Program assists individuals with disabilities in the VR process
  • Accommodations: MOD does not discriminate on the basis of disability and is committed to providing accessible programs, meetings, and events.

Register here or contact Julia.E.OLeary@mass.gov or 617-727-7440 x27324.

Navigating SSI & SSDI for Families with Disabilities

Webinar, May 17, 2023, with Kerry Mahoney, Director of Education and Outreach at The Arc of Massachusetts. In this edition of The Arc’s ongoing Problem-Solving Webinars series,

Attorney Karen Mariscal will join Kerry Mahoney for an overview of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Kerry has over four decades of experience assisting families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism. Kerry is also an Ambassador with Charting the LifeCourse Nexus, which offers a person-centered framework for planning, problem solving and supporting a good life for families and their loved ones.

Register here or contact 781-891-6270 or arcmass@arcmass.org.

Outdoor All-Access Evening

Saturday, May 20, 5-8 p.m.

Register Now!


Tonight, we are focused on being outdoors! Explore our accessible Discovery Woods, try out a variety of outdoor activities and take part in our Nature Connections program!


Join us during this special free evening event for families with children with disabilities. During this event, the Museum will be closed to the general public. Any family who can benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome at this event; a medical diagnosis is not required. ASL interpretation may be available upon request. Dinner, including a gluten-free option, will be provided.

These events are free for all family members, but registration is required as space is limited. ASL interpretation may be available upon request; please indicate on the registration form if you would like interpretation.

Click here for a printable schedule.

Free Family Training: Voicing Choices and Needs

Webinar Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 6:30-8 p.m. The Zoom link will be sent following registration.

As a follow-up to our meetings on different housing options, we will continue the conversation on voicing choices and needs for the community.

The format for this evening will enable participants to tune in to any or all of what interests them. The conversations will include Community-Based Residences, Shared Living, Independent Living and an overview of options that are being explored in other parts of the country that could be feasible in Massachusetts. The focus will be on YOU and your family’s wants and needs as information is shared in each session.


The schedule is as follows and will be accessed by the link you receive after registering:

  • Community Residences 6:30–7 p.m. (Ryan Haskins)
  • Shared Living/Independent Living 7-7:30 p.m. (Shailee Anderson)
  • New Ideas 7:30-8 p.m. (Andy Richardt): Technology and creativity are driving new housing options. Andy will provide an overview of what’s happening elsewhere and what might come next.

To register for this workshop, RSVP by Monday, May 22 to

FamilyTraining@minutemanarc.org. Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.

Northeast Regional Inclusion Summit | Creating Welcoming Communities Where Everyone Belongs

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Lexington Community Center


Participants will learn concrete strategies for supporting inclusion and have opportunities to connect with like-minded people seeking to create a culture of inclusion. The summit consists of an expert-led workshop, diverse panel discussion, lunch, and networking. Ideal for organizations that serve the community. $25 per person. Questions? Contact Phoebe Goodman at goodman@arcmass.org or Rachel Hayward at rhayward@arcmass.org.

Learn more and register here. 

How To Talk to Kids about Gun Violence

What: Boston Globe “Parenting Unfiltered” columnist Kara Baskin has helped us assemble a live panel version of two of her important articles all parents should read: “How to talk to kids about gun violence” and “Will our kids ever be safe.”


Join us to hear Drs. Patricia Crain de Galarce, Neena McConnico, and Anthony Rao—specialists in child behavior, trauma, and exposure to violence—discuss how to answer children’s questions about gun violence and manage our own fears as we try to keep them safe.




  • Dr. Neena McConnico is director of Boston Medical Center’s Child Witness to Violence Project
  • Dr. Patricia Crain de Galarce is director of Lesley University’s Center for Inclusive and Special Education, overseeing the Lesley Institute for Trauma Sensitivity
  • Dr. Anthony Rao, pediatric psychologist, lecturer, and author
  • Moderator Kara Baskin, “Parenting Unfiltered” columnist for The Boston Globe


When: Wednesday, June 7, 7-8 p.m., live via Zoom webinar


How? And, how much? Free with advance registration, which is required.

The event will be live captioned. Certificate of attendance is available upon request to events@discoveryacton.org.

Accessible & Adaptive Recreation Fair

Artesani Park/Herter Park, Brighton, MA, June 10, 2023, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. With the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Universal Access Program. Free and open to the public.

2023 Vendors, Supports and Exhibitors TBA.

  • Join DCR’s Universal Access Program and many other regional adaptive recreation organizations that offer hiking, cycling, power soccer, sport kite decorating and other accessible activities.
  • Enjoy scenic views of the Charles River and social connections while signing up for disability-friendly adaptive summer programs like sailing, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, hiking and more.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program provides outdoor recreation in Massachusetts State Parks for all abilities.

For details or to register, contact Mary at 413-545-5760 or marcy.marchello@state.ma.us or click here.

Another “day camp” possibility: ABLE at Berklee College of Music

At Berklee, we believe that the arts better the lives of everyone. That’s why we offer the ABLE Day Sessions program for musicians with disabilities. Study your instrument in group lessons. Play or sing with other musicians in an ensemble. Experience music through drumming, singing, and music technology workshops. Learn from other musicians in clinics. Share your music in a performance with your ensemble at the end of the week.

  • Ages 9-17
  • Week 1: July 31-August 4
  • Drop-off: July 31, 8-9 a.m.
  • Week 2: August 7-August 11
  • Drop-off: August 7, 8-9 a.m.
  • Tuition: $998/week, financial aid available


Scholarship for College Student Pursuing a Career Related to Assistive Technology, OT or PT

Applicants Wanted for the Jennifer Baker Memorial Scholarship

Do you know a student interested in assistive technology (AT) and durable medical equipment (DME) reuse?

The REquipment Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program, Inc. is pleased to offer its second annual $1,000 Jennifer Baker Scholarship to help fund a student in a program related to DME/AT who also values reuse.

The scholarship was established in 2022 by the REquipment, Inc. Board of Directors to honor former Program Director Jennifer Baker. Baker died unexpectedly in January 2022 and was an Assistive Technology (AT) Professional who prized lifelong learning.

The scholarship supports a student pursuing a career related to assistive technology and durable medical equipment who values reuse to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and older adults.

The successful candidate will be enrolled in a degree or certificate program in occupational therapy, physical therapy, adaptive technology, or a similar field. Applicants residing in Massachusetts or Connecticut will be given preference, as that is where Jennifer Baker lived and worked.

The 2023-24 academic year application process closes on June 30, 2023. A one-page essay explaining why they have chosen their field of study is required.

Interested? For more information, please contact Karen Langley at klangley@dmereuse.org.

Have a great weekend!


Please share your own resources and questions with Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2022-2023 School Year Calendar
Cotting Admissions Information
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