Weekly Update: December 1, 2023

Weekly Update

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Capstone students had a great time learning about rowing from the Belmont Hill crew team and trying out the ergs!

Information From Cotting School

Basketball Season is Here

We hope to see you tomorrow!

December 2, 2023

9:30 AM – JV Instructional Inter-Squad

10:30 AM – Varsity Gold

11:30 AM – Varsity Blue

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, December 4 and Tuesday, December 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.

Mark Your Calendar for Our Next PAC Meeting

Friday, December 15, 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
2023 Cotting PTO Student Art Cards Now on Sale!

Each year, the Cotting PTO chooses art created by Cotting students for greeting cards. The artworks below are just a few of the many images featured in these card packages. You can see more and order yours here.

Community Resources & Events

Making Sports and Recreation Programs Accessible to Neurodiverse students

Webinar, December 5, 2023 with the Mansfield, MA, SEPAC. All kids need opportunities for physical activity and recreation, but how can you make programs in and out of school accessible to neurodiverse students? Hear speakers who will share how their programs meet the needs of youth with various needs.

  • Nicole Maloney is an Adaptive PE teacher in the Bridgewater School District who will share information on what she does and how it benefits her students.
  • John Rainone is the Director of the King Phillip TOPSoccer program, which is affiliated with U.S. Youth Soccer. He will share about how his program provides a space for soccer players of all abilities to be part of the game.


Click here to RSVP or for more information or contact 508.261.7507 or sepac@mansfieldschools.com.

DDS Assistive Technology Fair

Marlborough, MA, December 5, 2023 with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS). 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 to any friends or family members you know who want to get started in advocacy, but don’t know where to begin.

Jewish Festival of Lights

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, December 7, 2023, 5-10 p.m.,organized by the Jewish Arts Collaborative in Boston–an evening of art, music and activities in celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Included with general admission. The MFA offers a wide range of accessibility to visitors, including wheelchair access, Aira, neckloops and more. Click here for more information on accessibility.

  • Be among community, watch performances of music and dance from around the world, see a pop-up photography installation exploring Sephardic traditions, dine on Hanukkah treats, and immerse yourself in the diversity of Jewish culture and identity by exploring the MFA’s new gallery for Judaica.
  • Presented in partnership with the Jewish Arts Collaborative and Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Click here for tickets or for more information or contact 617.267.9300.

Social Security Benefits and Work Incentives

Webinar, December 7, 2023, with Communitas of Wakefield, MA. Presented By Kathleen Kelly, MPA, CWIC, Student Benefits Counselor

Learn About:

  • Basic Information About Supplemental Security Income (SSI) & Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDi)
  • The Impact Work May Have On Benefits
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) Work Incentives Student Benefits Counseling

Click here to RSVP or for more information or contact Becky Feterowski, Communitas Transition Coordinator, at bfeterowski@CommunitasMA.org.

“The Extraordinary Nutcracker” for Mass Down Syndrome Congress Family and Friends

Cambridge Multicultural Center, East Cambridge, MA, Dec. 8-Dec. 10, 2023. Evening and matinee performances. Presented by United Dance Company, ages 13-22, families and friends. In order to ensure that classes are fully accessible and enjoyable for students with Down Syndrome, United Dance utilizes a specialized curriculum that addresses social, emotional, physical and artistic growth. The United Dance team consists of renowned professionals in their respective fields (professional ballet dancers, musicians and physiotherapists) who are trained in inclusive dance. Supported by a team of healthcare professionals, dance teachers and specialists in inclusive dance, United Dance strives to constantly improve classes and offer dance education of the highest caliber. In 2022, the United Dance Company was founded to provide an avenue for dancers of all abilities to share their artistic talents.

Click here to purchase tickets or for more information about the United Dance inclusive programs or contact uniteddance@mail.com.

Youth Wheelchair Basketball

Quincy, MA, December 10, 2023 – April 28, 2024. Join Adaptive Sports New England for weekly wheelchair basketball practice for youth ages 5- 21.

Adaptive Sports New England and Franciscan Children’s Wheelchair Basketball Program meets weekly to bring athletes together to learn and enjoy playing the sport of wheelchair basketball.

  • Within this program, youth and young adult athletes will be able to participate in both some drills and fun pick-up games.
  • In order to fully enjoy and participate in this sport, all athletes must have good use of their arms and upper bodies.

This program includes youth affected by Spina Bifida, spinal cord injuries, Cerebral Palsy, leg amputations and other impairments.

Sign up here or contact paward@franciscanchildrens.org617.779.3800 ext. 5475, or Joe Walsh, Adaptive Sports New England, 617.690.9103joe.walsh@adaptivesportsne.org.

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 and 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.

Assistive Technology Survey

Sophie Korpics, a local disability rights advocate and member of both the Newburyport Commission on Disabilities and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alliance is working on a research project on the lack of access to computer assistive technology in public schools as part of her Gopen Fellowship. She is hoping anyone who has insight or experience working with assistive computer technology in Massachusetts public schools would be willing to complete her survey.

Sophie in the news recently!

Remind Congress Why updates to SSI are so important!

This year, thanks to dedicated advocates like you, we have sent over 82,000 messages to Congress about the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. We have said over and over again that updates to SSI are needed NOW—and we’re asking you to remind your members of Congress one more time!

Send a message now!

SSI provides vital support for millions of people with disabilities to be able to afford necessities like food and rent. But SSI has asset and income rules that haven’t been updated in over 30 years.

In some cases, these rules prevent SSI recipients from taking a new job, getting married, or saving for their future—all of which can trigger cuts or loss of benefits entirely.

These outdated rules place an unfair burden on SSI recipients and force many people with disabilities to live in poverty. To strengthen this critically important program, outdated SSI rules must be changed!

Tell Congress to support the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act, which would:

  • Raise SSI asset limits to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for married couples.
  • Adjust asset limits based on inflation every year.
  • Reduce marriage penalties related to SSI asset limits.


“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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