Weekly Update: November 3, 2023


Weekly Update

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Ms. Maskin’s middle school students love Industrial Arts with Mr. Phelan!

Information From Cotting School

Mark Your Calendar for Our Next PAC Meeting

Friday, November 17, 2023, 9-10 a.m.

In person in the Board Room and on Zoom.

A draft agenda and link for joining online will be sent by email.

Please mark your calendars for upcoming PAC meetings, all on Friday mornings from 9-10 a.m.:

  • December 15
  • January 19
  • February 9
  • March 15
  • April 26
  • May 24

Holiday Marketplace

Mark your calendars! The Holiday Marketplace is coming to school Dec. 4-Dec.5, 2023! Cotting School’s PTO Holiday Marketplace gives students the opportunity to shop independently for holiday gifts for their families during the school day so they can bring home wrapped gifts for their loved ones (back by popular demand, including pet gifts, too!).

Coming Soon: Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities!

Vision Planning with Tools from Charting the LifeCourse

Did you miss the first of our Transition Family Learning Opportunities, Vision Planning with Tools from Charting the LifeCourse? Don’t worry, you can watch it here!


Charting the LifeCourse Framework:

â—Ź Was created by and for students with developmental disabilities and their families to help determine the life they want, what they need to get there and how to find/develop supports to do so.

â—Ź Was created to support the over 4.7 million families with developmental disabilities, but can be used by anyone.

● Vision planning is the first step of the transition journey; it’s an important part of a student’s IEP and gets written/updated every year. Students are mandated to participate in their IEP at 14 years of age, but can start this process sooner (sooner is better!).


Download the  slides here.

Download a  of key information here.

Community Resources & Events
Wings for Autism (A FREE Event!)

Date: November 4, 2023

Where: Boston Logan Airport, Terminal E

Time: 9 a.m.


Travel is stressful in general, but can be particularly stressful for families who have a child with special needs. Come take a “test run”. Gain the familiarity and confidence necessary to take future trips.


Your child will experience:

  • Entering the airport
  • The check-in process and checking bags
  • Security screening
  • Boarding the plane
  • Preparing for take-off
  • Exiting the plane

Registration is required.

Questions? Please contact wingsforautism@charlesrivercenter.org.

Tell Congress to Pass the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Relief Act!

Exciting news! Congress introduced a new bill that would increase desperately needed funding for people with disabilities to live in their communities.

The HCBS Relief Act of 2023 was introduced in Congress by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). The bill would provide two years of additional Medicaid funds to:

  • Improve access to HCBS by increasing direct care worker pay and benefits
  • Decrease the number of people on waiting lists for HCBS (there are currently over 650,000!)
  • Pay for assistive technologies, staffing and other costs that facilitate community integration

Take action now to support this important bill, which could help address the workforce crisis and decrease waiting lists for HCBS.

Why is the HCBS Relief Act needed?

Many people with disabilities are eligible for Medicaid long-term services and supports to help with everyday needs, such as eating, bathing, dressing and traveling to work, school or appointments. Most people want to receive these services in their own homes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states received extra funding for home and community-based services. This helped providers retain workers and allowed states to provide HCBS to more people. However, this additional funding is ending, which means many people will lose access to HCBS. Families who need home care will need to make hard choices to care for their loved ones at home.

Send a message to your members of Congress in a few easy steps, and ask them to once again provide states with extra HCBS funding to help people with disabilities thrive in their own homes and communities!

Introduction to Paralympic Sports

Tufts University, Medford, November 5, 2023. Join Adaptive Sports New England and other 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 a.m. 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  or contact Joe Walsh, Adaptive Sports New England, 617.690.9103 or joe.walsh@adaptivesportsne.org

Rock Climbing with Waypoint

Join Waypoint for a rock climbing skill-building series, where participants climb each Tuesday for one hour. The structure is a little different than other group programs–it is more of a one-on-one lesson with a volunteer instructor.


2023 Dates:

  • November 7
  • November 14
  • November 21


The rock climbing gym at Arsenal Yards in Watertown


Links to register and more information can be found here:

Self-Advocate Driving Event

Southborough, MA, November 8, 2023, with Key Autism Services. Unlocking Your Child’s Potential.

  • Join us for an evening with Andrew Arboe, an autistic self-advocate and the creator of the Autism and Driving Resource Database.
  • Hear Andrew’s compelling insights on driving, its social impact and the journey towards gaining independence in the community.

RSVPs required or contact info@keyautismservices.com.

Charting the Life Course in Action: Caregiver Series

Webinar, November 8, 2023 with The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, The ARC of Massachusetts and the Institute for Community Inclusion. The LifeCourse in Action series is a virtual educational forum where you will hear inspiring stories and learn first-hand how these tools and resources may benefit you, your family and/or your organization.

  • The LifeCourse in Action Series is for you, your family members, service providers, advocates, self advocates and anyone who wants to learn more about the Charting the LifeCourse framework and tools.
  • Presenter: Ingrid Flory, Facilitator for the Massachusetts Supporting Families Community of Practice, Family Support Director, Department of Developmental Services Central/West Region


  • Session 3: November 8
  • Session 4: December 13
  • Session 5: January 10, 2024
  • Session 6: February 14

Click here to register or contact Elizabeth.Wike@umb.edu.

Interoception for Holiday Stress

Webinar, November 9, 2023 with the Association for Autism and Neurodiversity in Watertown, MA. Managing holiday stress is a challenge for all, but for autistic people and other neurodivergent people, it is also the time of year when taking care of your own needs gets complicated. Social expectations and holiday traditions can make usual self-care routines feel like they are just not enough.

  • This webinar is designed for autistic adults, their parents, other adult family members and partners of these individuals. Professionals who support the autism community are also welcome.
  • With various kinds of disregulation at the heart of so much of our holiday stress, understanding how your interoception system works, and how you can hack into its powers, can be the key to making it through the challenges of the holiday season.
  • This webinar will be recorded. If you are not available during the live presentation, registrants will receive the video link to access the recording of the presentation two business days after the session ends. Registrants can access the recorded presentation for 30 days.

Advanced registration is required or contact events@aane.org.

Friendsgiving with Autism Eats

Join us for an autism-friendly Friendsgiving Dinner:

  • November 14, 2023, 6-8 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Restaurant, 14 Broadway, Somerville
  • November 17, 2023, 6-8 p.m. at Michael’s Harborside, 1 Tournament Wharf, Newburyport

All behaviors are welcome.


Reservations are required

EPIC Youth Nights


EPIC is excited to announce the return of EPIC Youth Nights!


  • Third Thursday of every month
  • ​Time: 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Monthly sessions alternate between in-person and virtual. See schedule below.
  • Open to ALL youth with disabilities ages 14-26, current and past Service Warriors, as well as youth new to EPIC.

Youth Night themes change every month and are picked by the attendees. Previous themes have included: Game Night, Self-Advocacy Training, Karaoke Night and Social Media 101.


Click the link below to RSVP



Nov 16, 2023 – In-Person

Dec 21, 2023 – NO YOUTH NIGHT

Jan 18, 2024 – Virtual

Feb 15, 2024 – In-Person

March 15, 2024 – Virtual

April 18, 2024 – In-Person

May 16, 2024 – Virtual


In-Person Locations:

Boston – 89 South Street, Boston, MA 02111

Worcester – 203 Pakachoag Street, Auburn, MA 01501


Virtual Sessions will be on Zoom.

Zoom links will be sent after receiving your RSVP.

Webinars: Help With Problem Solving the Transition Process

The ARC of Massachusetts is offering a series of 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.

Wheelchair Football Clinic in Foxboro

Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA, November 18, 2023. Join Adaptive Sports New England for a Wheelchair Football Clinic hosted by the Patriots Foundation and supported by Move United and the NFL/Bob Woodruff Foundation Salute to Service initiative.

  • Clinic participants will learn the fundamentals of wheelchair football and develop new skills over the course of the session.
  • Youth and adults, especially U.S. military veterans, are encouraged to register.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Clinic participants must have a permanent physical disability that reduces the function of the lower limbs to a degree where they cannot play running football.
  • Players must be able to propel themselves in a manual wheelchair, but do not need to be an every day wheelchair user.
  • Sport chairs will be provided for those without their own.

Click here to register or for more information or contact Sam Bernstein, Program Manager, sam.bernstein@adaptivesportsne.org, 339.440.2245

Especially for Me Free Events

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.

Bounce Out the Stigma

This camp is geared for children with autism, ADHD, epilepsy and emotional needs. Kids with learning disabilities and slow motor skill development along with social interaction issues will do well in our nurturing camp environment.

Three-Hour Basketball Clinic

Ages: 8-21 coed

Date: November 19, 2023

Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Location: Winchester High School Gym

80 Skillings Road, Winchester, MA

Camp Fee: $75.00 per attendee. Each attendee receives a camp basketball and tee shirt.

Pre Registration is Required

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.

SourceAmerica Employment Resource

SourceAmerica believes every person with a disability should have the opportunity to obtain employment. We work toward that goal every day when we team with the nonprofits in our network who employ people with disabilities.

SourceAmerica is an online resource for connecting disabled individuals with jobs. They see themselves as a connector between people with disabilities and employers looking to hire neurodivergent people. They have some great resources which some of our transition-aged students and their families may benefit from.

Caregiver to Caregiver Respite Network

Families of children with disabilities and specialized support needs are warmly invited to join the Caregiver to Caregiver Respite Network (C2C) to give and receive respite.

  • “Caregivers” are anyone with primary responsibility for supporting and raising children. This could be parents, foster parents or other family members.
  • “Respite” is the opportunity to take a break from caregiving. Time away creates space for taking care of yourself and other members of the family.
  • Our goal is for you to find someone you trust with your child because their child has similar needs, too. And, for them to find you!

Learn more here https://fcsn.org/c2c/

Questions? Email us at c2cRespite@fcsn.org.

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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