Weekly Update: October 20, 2023

Weekly Update

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Everyone had a great time at the PTO Fall Family BBQ!

Information From Cotting School
RESCHEDULED: Trunk or Treat Is Moving to Sunday, October 29, 2023

Dear Cotting Community,

Thank you all for supporting the PTO by joining us at the Fall BBQ and participating in the fun of the raffle baskets, the 50/50 and the addition of the Corn Hole Tournament. It is such a pleasure to have the community come together to kick off the beginning of the year! Without you, the PTO cannot do what we do and bring all of the great events your way. Thank you again for supporting us.

Speaking of events, due to inclement weather, we are moving Trunk or Treat this Saturday, the 21st. It seems the weather is not cooperating with the PTO this year.


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2023 (Next Sunday)

The rest of the details remain the same.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Set up your Trunks

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Trunk or Treat

  • If you have already signed up and are still planning on coming, no problem, the date has already been changed on your tickets, you do not have to do anything but show up and do the decorating/trunk or treat thing!
  • If you have not signed up, but can now come with the date change, you can, click here for more information and to get your FREE tickets.
  • If you signed up and now, due to date change cannot attend, please email cottingschoolptoinc@gmail.com.

If you need anything Trunk or Treat related please reach out to Kate Goldlust, Sheryl Queen, Diane Corrao or Pam Varrin. You can also email cottingschoolptoinc@gmail.com.

I hope everyone has a fantastically ghoulish time and there are many tricks and treats to be had!

Kelly De Angelis

Cotting School PTO President

Trunk or Treat Rescheduled

Sunday, October 29, 2023

In the Cotting School Campus Center parking lot.

Decorate your car:

3-5 p.m.


Trick or treat:

5-7 p.m.


There will be a snack bar with pizza, popcorn and more to purchase.


Find more information and reserve your free tickets here!

Fall Family BBQ Shout Out

A huge shout out to the PTO for another amazing Fall Family BBQ. Over 200 people attended including current and alumni families. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food, cornhole competition, raffles and sundae bar. Perhaps just being together and connecting with each other on a beautiful sunny day, was the best part. We know what a big lift this is for the PTO members but what a special contribution to the Cotting Community! Special thanks to Sheryl Queen for her inspired management of the event and her crew from Twist & Shake for volunteering their time and energy to the food service. We look forward to next year!

Family Learning Opportunities Invitation

As part of Cotting’s Family Engagement in Transition initiative, we are excited to invite you to participate in four important family learning opportunities. Throughout the course of your child’s time at Cotting, from Lower School through Capstone, these concepts are important for everyone to consider!


At our quarterly family learning opportunities, you will be able to:

  • Learn about vision planning and its importance in transition
  • Explore a timeline of transition milestones
  • Understand the importance of self-determination for our students
  • Have regular opportunities to network and collaborate with other Cotting families


Turning 18 Workgroup Meeting Schedule:


1st Quarter: Vision Planning With Tools From Charting the Life Course

Friday, October 27, 2023, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom link (same Zoom link for all meetings).


2nd Quarter: Exploring Important Milestones On the ARC’s Transition Timeline

Friday, January 26, 2023, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom link


3rd Quarter: Learning About Eligibility for Adult Services & Options

Friday, March 29, 2023, 10:30-11:30am

Zoom link


4th Quarter: Understanding & Fostering Self-Determination Skills at School and at Home

Friday, May 3, 2023, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Zoom link


We want to know you will be joining us! Please click here to RSVP to Pam Varrin.


Let us know if you have any questions–looking forward to seeing you soon!


Lola Piscopo, Capstone Teacher lpiscopo@cotting.org

Kathy Tyrer, Guidance Counselor ktyrer@cotting.org 

Pam Varrin, Family Support Coordinator pvarrin@cotting.org 

Mark Your Calendar for Our Next PTO Meeting

Friday, November 3, 2023, 8:30-10:00 a.m.

In person in the Board Room and on Zoom.

A draft agenda and link for joining online will be sent by email prior to the meeting.

Please mark your calendars for upcoming PTO meetings, all on Friday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

  • November 3
  • December 1
  • January 5
  • February 2
  • March 1
  • April 5
  • May 3
  • June 7
Community Resources & Events
Be Prepared for the Transition Years – DDS 101 Info Session

Webinar, October 24, 2023, with the Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services Southeast Learning and Development. Free.

  • 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.

You will learn about:

  • 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?

RSVPs required or contact the DDS Southeast Learning and Development, 774.384.4988 or dds.southeasttraining@massmail.state.ma.us.

National Disability Employment Month: How & Why to Celebrate

Diversity in our workforce strengthens cultures and bottom lines, but one important group continues to be overlooked: people with disabilities. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) want to work, but 85% of them remain unemployed. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an opportunity to celebrate the diverse skills of employees with disabilities, the unique value they bring to workplaces, and bust the common myths that are impeding their inclusion. Learn more about how you can support NDEAM.

Introduction to Paralymic Sports

Tufts University, Medford, November 5th, 2023. Adaptive Sports New England and many adaptive sports organizations from throughout New England for a day full of fun, games and new experiences.

  • This day is designed to introduce Paralympic sports and skills to participants with a mobility or visual impairment.
  • Feel free to stop by at any time from 9:00 to noon and check out the sports that interest you..
  • There is no fee or age requirement.
  • Try these sports: curling, tennis, skiing, wheelchair lacrosse, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, rowing, beep baseball, running, volt hockey, boccia, and soccer.
  • Partner organizations: Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers, Northeast Passage, Community Rowing Inc., Franciscan Children’s, South Coast Wheelchair Tennis Foundation, New England Disabled Sports, Boston Self Help Center, CP Soccer New England, Achilles International, and Boston Fencing Club.

Registration is required to or contact Joe Walsh, Adaptive Sports New England, 617.690.9103 or joe.walsh@adaptivesportsne.org

DDS 101: What You Need to Know from the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Metro Region

For individuals and families of all ages.

Where: Virtual

Topics: Eligibility, transition, self-direction and autism supports


  • Thursday, October 26, 10-11 a.m. register here. To request ASL and other language interpreters, contact Maria by October 12, 2023.

Meeting links will be emailed to registrants prior to the event.

Questions? Contact Maria Stefano maria.stefano@mass.gov or 781.314.7508.

Especially for Me Free Events

Autism-Friendly Evenings

  • Saturday, October 21, 2023-Register Now
  • Saturday, December 16, 2023-Registration not yet open*

Join us during this special free evening for families with members on the autism spectrum. Enjoy a fun, friendly experience in our accessible and universally designed museum while exploring our interactive exhibits and participating in hands-on activities. Any family that can benefit from a limited capacity visit is welcome at this event; a medical diagnosis is not required.

Dinner, including a gluten-free option, will be provided.

This Especially for Me event is offered in conjunction with Autism Alliance of MetroWest.

The 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.

All-Access Evenings

Saturday, November 18, 2023, 5-8 p.m. Registration not yet open*

Evenings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing and KODA Children

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 5-8 p.m.

Register Now

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons are all about inclusion. During these events, the Discovery Museum is open to the general public, but group visits and birthday parties are not scheduled to avoid crowding and support access to exhibits. Try a fun hands-on activity and use your sense of touch to explore a variety of textures.

Webinars: Help With Problem Solving the Transition Process

The ARC of Massachusetts is offering webinars to help problem solve the transition process:

Virtual Navigation Help with ARC staff.

  • Have issues navigating services?
  • Want tips on Turning 22?
  • Where do you start?

12-1 p.m.

  • Nov 15
  • Dec 20

Registration is required.

This fall, the BAC is hosting a Community Game Day series! This group is intended for neurodivergent pre-teens and teens ages 9-17 (non-BAC individuals welcome as well!) to make new friends outside the context of typical therapeutic activities. The groups will be held from 3-4 p.m. at BAC Natick on:

October 21, 2023

November 18, 2023

December 9, 2023

Participants do not need to sign up for all dates.

Feel free to check out the flyer and go to Boston Ability Center Community Game Day to register!

AANE’s 2023 Virtual Daniel W. Rosenn Connections Conference

A one-day virtual event for the entire autism community: autistic individuals, their families, professionals and allies!



Join us for a vibrant, virtual gathering of autistic individuals, their families, professionals, and allies to celebrate the richness of autistic culture. This year’s conference will deep dive into the world of autism from a cultural perspective while fostering understanding, acceptance and appreciation for the unique experiences of autistic individuals.


  • Date: October 27, 2023
  • Time: 11 a.m- 4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Livestreamed via Zoom and the recording will be available to registrants post-event
  • Cost: $45 for AANE members, $60 for non-members

To learn more about AANE membership contact fundraising@aane.org. AANE offers free and discounted admission; contact events@aane.org to learn more.


Keynote Highlight:

An Ethnographic Examination of Autistic Culture and Identity

As the neurodiversity movement has gained momentum, communities of autistic individuals have evolved towards a unique autistic culture. In this keynote, Dawn Prince Hughes explores the ethnographic evolution of the autistic culture and the importance of the autistic identity.


Dawn Prince-Hughes is an anthropologist, primatologist and ethologist. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary anthropology from the Universität Herisau in Switzerland and is an adjunct professor of anthropology at Western Washington University. She is also a successful author of books such as Gorillas Among Us: A Primate Ethnographer’s Book of Days and Songs of the Gorilla Nation in which she describes how she learned to manage her autism from observing and interacting with gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo (where she was employed when she was young). Additionally, she is the editor of Aquamarine Blue 5: Personal Stories of College Students with Autism. Most recently, Dr. Prince-Hughes has been facilitating the autism ethnography project, which she also designed, for the Cultural Autism Studies arm of Yale’s social autism programs (CASY), run by Dr. Roger Jou.

Planning a Life (PAL)

November 3, 2023 (virtual) and November 4, 2023 (Charlestown)

Planning a Life (PAL) is a two-day transition conference for parents, caregivers and professionals. Learn useful skills and information to help young people prepare for full, productive lives during and after high school. Topics include the transition planning process, transition goals on the IEP and encouraging independence and self-advocacy.

Learn more and Register for Planning a Life

2023-2024 School Vacation Programs

They’re back and registration is open!

December 26, 27 and 28, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

February 20, 21 and 22, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

April 16, 17 and 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Multi-age program for ages 5-12. A great alternative for families who live a distance!

Reserve your spot(s) here! No deposit required.

Tuition: $400/week cash discount or $425/week by check/Venmo.

Drop-in available $140/morning.

Have a great weekend!


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

Helpful Links
Family Resources Dashboard
2023-2024 School Year Calendar
Cotting Admissions Information
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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: Reaching New Heights!
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