Weekly Update: January 5, 2024

Weekly Update

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Ms. Herlihy’s students had a great time making salt dough

winter ornaments with Ms. Laine!

Information From Cotting School

Upper School & Capstone Semi-Formal Winter Wonderland Dance

Friday, January, 12, 2024

Cotting School

3-5:50 p.m.

Sign up here!

No entry fee. There will be no food at the dance.

For those wondering–“semi-formal” on a school day means something fancier than typical school attire, but something comfortable enough to wear all day. That said, regular school wear is quite welcome!

Questions? Email Dave Largenton at dlargenton@cotting.org or Marcie Garron at mgaron@cotting.org.

Mark Your Calendars for our Next PAC Meeting

Our next PAC meeting is scheduled for:

Friday, January 19, 2024, 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 also mark your calendars for the remaining upcoming PAC meetings, all on Friday mornings from 9-10 a.m.:

  • February 9
  • March 15
  • April 26
  • May 24
Now Selling 2023 Cotting PTO Student Art Cards

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

DDS Self-Directed Adult Disability Services in Massachusetts

Webinar, January 9, 2024, with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. Hear how participants and their families can design individualized services to meet their needs through the Participant Directed Program or Agency with Choice.

  • Self-directed service delivery models allow the participant and family an opportunity to create individualized supports based on their vision and needs.
  • The individual and family have authority and responsibility over a budget and can decide who they would like to hire, when the supports will be provided, what the individual will do, where the supports will be provided and how services will be arranged.
  • The services are flexible and can be customized to meet the changing needs of the individual as they learn and grow.

Click here to register or for more information or contact amy.nazaire@mass.gov.

Housing Explained: Demystifying Residential Living Options

Webinar, January 9, 2024, 6:30-7:30 p.m. with Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. This workshop is part of their 2023–2024 Transition Talks Family Workshops. These workshops are designed to help you plan your blind or visually impaired young adult’s future.

  • Where will your adult child live after high school and what type of housing should you plan for?
  • This workshop will introduce families to various housing models for young adults and emphasize the importance of independent living planning.

Guest Speaker: Pam Blanton, Partners4Housing. Pam founded Partners4Housing to provide a better way for families of people with IDD to find roommates and set up shared housing solutions.

To register or for more info visit Click here to register or for more information or contact 617.924.3434 or info@perkins.org.

Discovery Museum Especially for Me

January-June 2024

Join us with free admission during special hours for families and groups that would benefit from a limited capacity, sensory friendly visit. During these events, we offer accommodations that increase access to exhibits and provide an opportunity for families to network with one another in an understanding, ADA-compliant environment. Extra steps are also taken for the comfort of our visitors including a designated Take-A-Break Space.

All events are free, but pre-registration is required since space is limited. Registration will open 4-6 weeks prior to the event date. Please check our website to register.

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons

Visit when we’re open to the public, but lower visitation is expected.

Tuesdays 1:30-4:30 p.m.

  • January 9 – Register Now
  • February 6
  • March 12
  • April 2
  • May 7
  • June 4

Special Evenings

Visit when the Museum is closed to the public. Dinner (including a gluten-free option) provided.

Saturdays 5-8 p.m.


All Access Evening

  • April 27

Autism-friendly Evening

Evening for Blind, Visually Impaired or DeafBlind

  • February 10


Evening for Deaf, Blind or DeafBlind

  • March 23


Sensory-friendly Evening for Visitors 18+

  • April 6

You can prepare for your visit by reviewing our Discovery Museum Social Story which is available in six languages on our Especially for Me page or at our Admissions Desk. You might also visit the Exhibits section of our website, review our Accessibility page, and download our Access for All flyer.

Click here for a printable schedule.

Benefits 101: Social Security Programs and Work Incentives

Webinar, January 10, 2024, 6:30-7:30 p.m. with the Minute Man Arc for Human Services in Concord, MA. Kathleen Kelly is a benefits counselor working with Project IMPACT. Do you have questions about how Social Security benefits and work programs impact your adult disabled dependent? How does one maximize benefits?

Attending this presentation will provide you with information about:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • The impact work may have on benefits
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) Work Incentives
  • Benefits Counseling

Please RSVP by Monday, January 8, 2024 to FamilyTraining@minutemanarc.org. Please include your phone number and e-mail when registering.

DDS 101


Webinar, January 11, 2024, 5:30 p.m. with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

The Massachusetts DDS will provide a live webinar on what you need to know for individuals of all ages and their families.

  • DDS provides supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, to enhance opportunities to become fully engaged members of their community.
  • Learn more about: Eligibility, Transition, Self-Direction and Autism Support.

Register here or contact Rebecca.Hogan@mass.gov.

Adult Family Care (AFC) Information Session

Webinar, January 11, 2024, with the Arc of Haverhill-Newburyport. Learn more about this potential opportunity for both you and your loved one. The AFC program is an Arc program funded by MassHealth that pays either family* or non-family members a monthly tax-free stipend to care for people age 16 and older in a home setting who cannot live safely on their own.

*Spouses and guardians may not become the AFC Member’s caregiver.

To qualify for AFC services, the member:

  • Must have MassHealth (Standard or Common Health)
  • Be 16 years or older
  • Have one or more medical diagnosis
  • Require at least supervision or physical assistance with one Activity of Daily Living (ADL)
  • Cannot be left alone in the home setting for more than 3 hours

Benefits of joining the AFC Program:

  • Nurses and Care Coordinators offer ongoing education, advocacy and healthcare oversight
  • Non-taxable monetary support according to the needs of the individual cared for
  • 24-hour emergency line
  • Assistance with accessing community supports
  • Bi-lingual (Spanish/English) Care Coordination and Nursing available

To register or to request more information please contact Heather.Hess@TheArcofGHN.org or978.373.0552, x222

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



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.

The Top 7 Essential Skills in Social Cognition, Social Skills & the Unwritten Rules of Engagement

Friday, January 19, 2024, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Children with Autism, ADHD and learning differences often have difficulty inferring the rules of socialization and reading nonverbal social cues. This can weigh heavily on friendships, behavior, school performance and self-confidence/esteem. Learn the Art of Friendship’s memorable core social lessons and the language you can use to keep these concepts in the front of your child’s mind. Help your child understand why these skills are necessary and what’s in it for them if they try.

Click Here for Virtual Zoom Registration Link

Wheelchair Fencing With the Boston Fencing Club

Winter 2024 in Brighton, MA

Wheelchair fencing (referred to as Parafencing) is a fast-moving game of tactics and techniques. Parafencing is enjoyed by athletes with upper and lower limb differences, cerebral palsy and/or other balance and mobility restrictions.

This program is designed for new and continuing fencers 12 years and older.

  • Classes will be focused on the tactics and skills required for parafencing.
  • Athletes will learn rules of right of way, technical rules of the game and the skills required for bouting.
  • Classes will focus on foil tactics and techniques.
  • Athletes may choose to attend some or all of the clinic sessions.
  • Winter class series takes place Sundays on 1/28, 2/11 and 2/25.
  • Spring class series takes place Sunday on 4/21, 5/5 and 5/19.

Fees apply, registration is required or contact 857.204.5191 or outreach@bostonfencingclub.org.

Helping Young Children Navigate Grief


Join APA and Sesame Workshop on January 31, 2024 to learn how to help young children navigate grief’s complexities and heal after loss.

Learn more here.

EPIC Community Service for Teens and Young Adults with Disabilities

Boston and Worcester, 2024-2025 Service Warrior Applications Now Available.

Final Deadline: Applications due January 31, 2024

  • EPIC is now recruiting young people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 23 who want to become leaders in their community for its Boston and Worcester Service Warrior Program.
  • EPIC Service Warriors is a service-learning and leadership development program for youth with disabilities between the ages of 16-23.
  • EPIC Service Warriors meet for one year to participate in community service projects in the cities of Boston and Worcester.

Learn more about Epic Boston here

Learn more about Epic in Worcester 

Click here to register or contact or 617.917.5181

Working Together: Disability Transition-to-Adulthood Training in English and Spanish


Part of the free webinar series provided in partnership by Massachusetts Advocates for Children, The ARC of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport and MassFamilies. In English on February 6, 2024, 6:30-8 p.m. In Spanish on February 8, 2024, 7-8:30 p.m.

  • This series is free, but you must register for each one.
  • February 6: Transition to Adult Training. This workshop will address the transition planning and services required for youth with disabilities ages 14-22 and will focus on the transition special education services needed to prepare youth for employment, independent living and further education.
  • This training will also address compensatory services still available, and how to ensure districts fully address students’ transition needs.
  • Using case examples, parents and professionals will learn strategies that can help ensure students receive important transition services required by special education law.
  • The workshop will also provide information about the transition to the adult human services system, including Chapter 688, the state law that helps plan for youth with disabilities after they leave school.

Spanish/Taller de TransiciĂłn [TRABAJANDO JUNTOS] February 8.

All webinars are free, but registration is required.

Todas las presentaciones son gratuitas, pero se requiere registraciĂłn.

Click here for more information or to register or contact hello@massfamilies.org or 774.855.6001.

Access to Arts (ATA) Program

Access to Arts is an award-winning inclusive arts program from Partners for Youth with Disabilities for teens and young adults. Its purpose is to develop communication, artistic and leadership skills, and lasting professional and personal friendships. Programming takes place after school, during school breaks and over the summer in various communities of Greater Boston.

The focus of the program is to explore and develop skills across various artistic mediums. Access to Arts participants will work with various teaching artists across different mediums including but not limited to drawing, painting, sculpture, theater, improv, dance, music, textiles and design. During the summer, participants from different communities will have the opportunity to come together to creatively collaborate on projects and showcase their work.

Program Requirements

  • Open to youth both with and without disabilities
  • Must be between 14 and 22 years old

Choose from a variety of programs and sites for Winter and Spring activities with peers:

  • Plugged In Band, Needham: Feb-June. Collaborate on rhythm, melody, songwriting on Tuesdays 4-6 pm
  • Theater Program at Riverside Family Support Center, Burlington: Feb–May. Participate in inclusive accessible theater activities and games Wednesdays 4-6 pm
  • Music Program at The Record Co. with Community Music Center of Boston, Dorchester: April 16-19, 10:30-2 pm. Spend the week of spring break writing a piece of music together and recording individual parts in a professional recording studio.

Click here to register or for more information.

Theater Adventure

Theatre Adventure is a non-profit organization in West Brattleboro, Vermont offering year-round inclusive theater arts programming. We provide a caring and creative community for artists with disabilities to claim the stage with distinction. Virtual options are available.

Learn more here.

A Guide to Personal Advocacy for IDD and Autism Services and Supports

The Arc of Massachusetts recognizes the continued delays many are experiencing in our community as individuals and families cope with limited or no services. For those of you who have no or limited day services, this guide can advise your personal advocacy. Most people reaching out to us are parents or siblings, and some individuals with disabilities who are assisted by non-related caregivers including staff. We recognize all of you in our audience!


We know that a significant number of individuals who are underserved require 1:1 assistance for a part of or throughout the day. The safety of some of these individuals may be at risk, particularly if they have behavior challenges including serious self-abuse or aggression toward others, perhaps even running into the street without caring for safety. This advocacy guide is created with you in mind, too.


Read and Download the Guide Here

Have a great weekend!


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

Helpful Links

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2023-2024 School Year Calendar
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