Weekly Update: November 17, 2023

Weekly Update

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What an amazing“Treat Extravaganza”! Thank you to our

wonderful PTO–we definitely feel appreciated!

Information From Cotting School

Register for Basketball, Cheerleading and Boosters!

Register on the Cotting website at Resources > Families > Register for Sports!

Looking for this year’s basketball game schedule?

Click here!

Holiday Marketplace

The Cotting School PTO presents the 2023 Holiday Marketplace where students can shop for all their holiday gift-giving needs.

Where: Cotting School Auditorium

When: Monday 12/4 & Tuesday 12/5 during school hours

Gifts include:

  • Local sports team merchandise, spa items, winter accessories, family games, toddler toys, kitchen and home accessories, gadgets, dog and cat items (back this year due to customer demand!) and much more!
  • Students may purchase up to six gifts.
  • All gifts are $5.00. Cash and checks accepted and change from cash will be returned. Please make checks payable to Cotting PTO.
  • If financial assistance would be helpful for your student’s shopping, please do not hesitate to contact Pam Varrin at pvarrin@cotting.org.
  • Students will have the opportunity to shop during a scheduled time with their classmates on either December 4 or 5.
  • All gifts will be wrapped and come home with students the same day.
  • If you would like your student to shop, please complete the attached shopping list and return it to Cotting by Wednesday, November 29, 2023.
  • If you would prefer your student NOT shop, please check that box at the top of the attached form and return it to Cotting so we can honor your preference and minimize confusion on shopping days.
  • This is a GREAT volunteer opportunity for parents and caregivers–be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius in your e-mail soon!

The shopping list can be found here.

Community Resources & Events

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

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 21


The rock climbing gym at Arsenal Yards in Watertown


Links to register and more information can be found here:

Housing Models for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Webinar, November 27th, 2023 with Autism Housing Pathways in Massachusetts. Autism Housing Pathways’ Family Action Meetups (FAMS) are monthly opportunities for families to get together, learn about two housing models per month and chat in depth.

Each monthly meeting comprises:

  • A 15 minute overview of housing for people with developmental disabilities in Massachusetts.
  • A brief video description of a housing model, followed by 20-25 minutes of breakout groups.
  • Repeat with a second housing model.
  • Participants have the option of joining a private email group to discuss housing models and share information.
  • Let’s get to know one another.

Tickets are $5. Please note: Zoom link will be sent to registrants by email and will not be posted on Eventbrite.

Register here!

Deciphering the Medical Insurance Maze

Free Parent/Guardian Training

Please join us and bring your questions.

Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Webinar

(We will send you the Zoom link following registration)

Do you have questions about how Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance work for your adult disabled dependent?


What happens when you retire? What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

Attend this FREE workshop to learn about navigating this often tangled web as you pursue assisting your loved one.

Our speaker, Terri Farrell, is a Senior Project Director at the Insurance Resource Center for Autism and Behavioral Health. She came to this work through her son, who was diagnosed with autism at age three. Terri is the event chair of AFAM’s (Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts) annual Autism Awareness and Advocacy Day held at the State House, as well as the chair of AFAM’s Government Affairs Committee. In 2017, Terri joined the MBHP (Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership) Family Advisory Council and was appointed to the Massachusetts State Autism Commission 22+ employment sub-committee that same year.

To register for this workshop, please RSVP by Monday, November 27, 2023 to

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

Visit our website for more information.

DDS Assistive Technology Fair

Marlborough, MA, December 5th, 2023 with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. FREE and open to the public. Whether you are a provider, family member or user of assistive technology (AT), this event offers options for AT, demonstrations and access to the region’s vendors, all in one place. See a variety of AT devices through exhibits, demonstrations and presentations—all at no cost.

Products and services showcased include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Smart Home Technology
  • Health/Medical
  • Employment Tools
  • Recreation/Leisure
  • Social/Emotional
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Transportation
  • Executive Functioning/Organizational
  • Remote Supports and Monitoring
  • Accessible Sexual Devices and more

Click here to register or for more information.

Calling All Newbies and Beginners to Legislative Advocacy!

Have you been thinking about getting involved in advocacy on a state and federal level in order to make an impact on our system of services and supports? It can feel overwhelming for all beginners, with the many priority bills, policy issues and the complex budget process.

On Thursday, December 7, 2023, Maura Sullivan, the ARC’s Senior Director of Government Affairs and Health Policy, will walk you through the basics to get you started as we prepare to advocate for the FY25 budget and strive to pass priority legislation. Register here.

This session is not for experienced advocates. Please spread the word with any friends or family members you know who want to get started in advocacy, but don’t know where to begin.

Webinar: 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.

  • Dec 20

Registration is 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



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.

Accessible Ice Skating Across Massachusetts

Brockton, East Boston, Fall River, Gardner, Holyoke, North Adams, Worcester,

December 2023 – March 2024, with the State of Massachusetts DCR Universal Access Program and All Out Adventures.  Free. Lace up a pair of conventional skates or slide around the ice on your manual or power wheelchair.


  • Ice sleds are also available to glide around—propel yourself with small hockey sticks or be pushed around the rink by a friend.
  • Depending on location, activities on the ice include obstacle courses, a tower of blocks for building up and crashing down, races, colorful balls and pucks to shoot around, power chair games and gently competitive hockey matches.

Click here for more information.

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.

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.

Questions? Email us at c2cRespite@fcsn.org.

Sunschein Photography

I am a Metrowest Boston area portrait photographer who captures fun, playful images of you and the most important people in your life.

My specialty is photographing individuals with disabilities and special needs.

My son is medically complex and I know full well how difficult he is to photograph. Special Needs Portraiture is what I do. I know what it takes to finally get the beautiful images that have been missing from your gallery.

With preparation, patience, understanding and flexibility, I will create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and relaxed, and, most importantly, has fun.

We all deserve to have beautiful portraits of our people. My goal is to make sure you have yours.

Learn more here.

“Navigating the Holidays for Parents of Autistic Individuals”


Read the full article by Cornelia Elwood, MA Parent Support Specialist, MGH Aspire here.


The holiday season arrives with a flurry of flashing decorations, gifts, social gatherings, songs and enticing aromas wafting from the kitchen. While this time of year is synonymous with joy and celebration, many parents of children on the autism spectrum often face unique challenges. The sensory overload, social demands, transitions and unstructured times that accompany holidays can be overwhelming for autistic individuals.

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
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: Reaching New Heights!
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