Weekly Update: March 15, 2024

Weekly Update

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Ms. Nagle’s students celebrated Pi Day by making

a blueberry pie with a crumble topping!

Information From Cotting School

Star Employee of the Week
Our Vocational Department is happy to announce this week’s star employee is TJ! He has been doing an amazing job with Dinners2Go, choosing meals with his group, packing coolers and creating beautiful thank you cards for recipients. TJ’s work with our marketing department helping to update staff pictures on our website has been outstanding, and he has done an excellent job taking care of the horses and stables at his off-campus job at Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program. Congratulations!
*New* Webinar Added: Exploring Housing Options Together

Friday, April 3, 2024

10:30-11:30 a.m.

A Zoom link for this webinar will be sent out closer to the meeting date.

Because of the many questions about housing at our other workshops in the series, we have added an extra webinar to this year’s schedule of Family Learning Opportunities for Transition.

Cotting parent Andy Richardt will join us for an opportunity to think creatively about this area of planning. Andy joined Minute Man Arc in July 2022 as Housing Development Manager, where he has been working on the micro unit model as a creative and flexible path to living more independently. He will talk with us about this model, as well as about traditional housing models.

Mark Your Calendars for the Next PTO and PAC Meetings

Our next PTO meeting is scheduled for:

Friday, April 5, 2024

8:30-10 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 PTO meetings, all on Friday mornings from 8:30-10 a.m.:

  • April 5
  • May 3

Our next PAC meeting is scheduled for:

Friday, April 26, 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.:

  • April 26
  • May 24

Love Cotting? Let Boston Parents Readers’ Choice Awards Know!

Boston Parents Family Favorites nominations are open! Voting happens in two-rounds, with the first round taking place now through April 6, 2024 at

2 a.m. We hope you will consider nominating us by writing “Cotting School” in the “Special Needs Services & Resources” categories: Special Needs Preschools, Special Needs Elementary Schools, Special Needs Middle Schools and Special Needs High Schools.


The second round opens in mid-April, with voters being able to select from the top nominees in each category. Thank you for your support!


Vote here: bit.ly/BPPFamilyFavorites

Play It Forward

Thursday, April 11, 2024 6-9 p.m.

Join fellow Cotting families, friends and community supporters for a adults only (21+) night of fun and games featuring competitive trivia and an exciting silent auction! All funds raised from Play It Forward help support Cotting School’s athletics and after school programs. These programs fall outside of Cotting’s tuition and we must raise funds to support and sustain these activities each year. Proceeds also provide financial aid for families who otherwise would not be able to have their students participate in these important athletic and social opportunities. Play It Forward is a fantastic opportunity to introduce new friends, family, colleagues and neighbors to the school and show them the incredible strides your students achieve each and every day.

Buy Tickets Now

Save the Dates

  • Play it Forward fundraiser: April 11, 6-9 p.m., Campus Center
  • Project Bridges Employer Appreciation Breakfast: April 24, 9-10:30 a.m., Campus Center
  • Parent Guardian Social/Prom Party: May 17, 7-9 p.m., Courtyard
  • Prom: May 17, 7-9:30 p.m., Cotting School
  • Alumni Reunion: May 19, 12-2 p.m., Campus Center
  • Grandparents’ Day: May 22, 5-6 p.m., Cotting School
  • Art Show: May 22, 6-7:30 p.m., Campus Center
  • Graduation: June 1, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Campus Center

Community Resources & Events

Sensory and Disability Friendly Performances of The Wizard of Oz!

Acton, MA, March 15– 17, 2024, with Open Door Theater. Follow the yellow brick road over the rainbow in this stage adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved tale, featuring the iconic musical score from the MGM film.

  • Young Dorothy Gale travels from Kansas over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz, makes friends, has adventure, heartbreak and realizes that she has the power to create her own future and continues to thrill audiences worldwide.
  • Discounted tickets for EBT, WIC and ConnectorCare Cardholders.

All shows will be:

  • Relaxed/sensory friendly
  • Interpreted into American Sign Language and open captioned
  • Second weekend (March 22–24) all shows will also be audio described
  • Accessible and companion seating available
  • Assisted listening devices available for all performances and include over the ear headsets, earbuds and a telecoil-enabled loop system.

Click here for more information and to order tickets, or contact 978.264.8150

Advocacy for MA DDS Self-Directed Services as Envisioned by the 2014 Real Lives Law

Attend one or more of four bi-monthly sessions! The first one is March 18, 2024, at 1:30 p.m.

Join the Online Conversation About the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) advocacy for changes to MA DDS Self-Directed Services to comply with the 2014 Real Lives Law. Help improve regulations and waivers at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to increase transparency, flexibility and self-determination.  Register here.

“Housing 101” Disability Workshop

Webinar, March 18, 2024, with the Charles River Center of Needham, MA. “Housing 101” is for any parent even “thinking about housing.” This presentation introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services (including for those without DDS supports).

  • Some examples are given of how these can be combined with private funds to create housing.
  • Target audience: Parents of transition-aged youth (14-22+).
  • This presentation introduces families to the range of public funds available to pay for housing and supportive services (including for those without DDS supports).
  • Some examples are given of how these can be combined with private funds to create housing.
  • Presented by: Cathy Boyle, Autism Housing Pathways.

RSVPs required to: familysupport@charlesrivercenter.org.

RespectAbility Presents: Disney’s Wish – The Making of Dahlia

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 4 p.m.

Duration: 60 minutes

Join RespectAbility in conversation with the talent behind the making of Dahlia, a disabled character from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most recent film, Wish. In Wish, a young girl named Asha wishes on a star and gets a more direct answer than she bargained for when a trouble-making star comes down from the sky to join her. Asha is joined by an ensemble led by her best friend, Dahlia, the best baker in town who also happens to use a crutch.

Moderated by RespectAbility’s Lauren Appelbaum, this panel will include several key individuals involved with the production of Wish, including story artist Tom Caulfield, producer Juan Pablo Reyes, consultants Erica Mones and Maddy Ullman, and the voice of Dahlia herself, Jennifer Kumiyama. They will discuss the making and development of Dahlia’s character, ensuring authenticity in disability representation and why intersectional representation matters.

Learn more.


DDS Upcoming Listening Sessions on Employment

The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is working to enhance employment supports and services that lead to jobs within local businesses where people are earning minimum wage or higher, receiving typical benefits and are working alongside people who do not have disabilities.


DDS is a member of the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), a national project. The SELN helps states develop, implement and support activities to improve employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The SELN has been discussing the current system with DDS and reviewing state policies and practices that support employment outcomes. Successful employment focuses on not only working, but other factors leading to fulfilling employment: skill building, community life engagement and a meaningful social life.


Listening Session for Family Members

Thursday, March 21, 12-1:15 p.m.


Jobs are important. A job can raise people out of poverty, improve quality of life and increase community belonging. Your experience as family members will help us create a plan of action to increase competitive integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.


Register Here

Download Flyer

Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress 2024 Conference

Worcester, MA, March 23, 2024. Celebrate MDSC’s 40th Anniversary UnstoppABLE Conference, where the MDSC will mark the organization’s and community’s four decades of Building Brighter Tomorrows.

  • For self-advocates with Down syndrome, as well as parents and caretakers, grandparents and siblings, health care professionals, educators and others.
  • Hear the latest research findings and timely information from regional and national experts on the full range of topics as it relates to Down syndrome.
  • This 40th Anniversary Conference will put a particular focus on the state of research in Down syndrome, including innovative clinical trials, studies and initiatives across the country which promise to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.
  • Throughout the day, you will have access to dozens of expert-led sessions, each providing invaluable information and resources for all attendees — families with young children through adulthood, educators, medical professionals, siblings, and, of course, self-advocates. information from national and local experts on a range of topics related to Down syndrome.

Fees apply, registration is required or contact 781.221.0024.

Apply for the Waypoint Adventures “Leaders-In-Training” Program!

Applications due March 25, 2024.

Are you a young adult (age 16-28) with a disability looking to further develop your leadership skills? Do you love adventure, community and the outdoors? We are accepting applications for our next group of Waypoint Leaders-In-Training! From May through November, join us for an adventure each month alongside an awesome and supportive community, growing as leaders along the way.

The application process includes filling out an application and participating in a short interview, as well as a program fee (scholarships available if needed).


We are looking for applicants who are able to do the following:

  • Have a formal interview with a Waypoint staff member
  • Be reasonably familiar and comfortable with social settings
  • Can participate in group discussions around a theme or goal
  • Can answer open ended questions
  • Can generally follow multi-step instructions or stick to a task independently (or with few prompts)
  • Commit to attending and participating in all LIT programs

Click here to learn more or apply today!

Junior Wheelchair Tennis Clinic

Hanover, MA, March 25, 2024. Free. Clinics focus on beginners ages 18 and under. Learn fun games, drills, skills and mobility. Coaches and volunteers are always welcome.

This organization helps to grow wheelchair tennis among youths with disabilities and increase play opportunities for all players.

Registration is required.

Mental Health Crisis Planning: How to Develop a Proactive Strategy

Webinar, March 27, 2024, with Families for Depression Awareness of Waltham, MA. For caregivers to be effective, they need to have the right resources and support. This is when having a crisis plan – which may include a Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD) – becomes crucial.

  • Hear firsthand experiences of people with mental health challenges who used a Psychiatric Advance Directive to support their journey in recovery.
  • Learn about the key components of a crisis plan and practical strategies for caregiver involvement.


Register here or contact 781.890.0220 or ari@familyaware.org.

Self-Directed Adult Services in MA

Webinar, March 28, 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 the opportunity to create individualized supports based on their vision and needs.

To register or for more information click here or contact amy.nazaire@mass.gov.

Planning for Two Generations

Free Parent/Guardian Training

Planning for Two Generations centers on the Special Needs Planning Timeline™, from the Special Needs Planning guide co-authored by John Nadworny and Cynthia Haddad. This timeline highlights the various planning pressure points where parents should be aware of changes relating to their child’s benefits, legal and financial issues.

The primary focus is to help parents avoid common mistakes and pitfalls in their own planning. We will also discuss the ABLE accounts and strategies on when and how to establish one.

Alexandria Nadworny, CFP®, CTFA, Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Sequoia Financial Group, is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional working with individuals and families to help them plan and invest for their future. She assists in prioritizing the diverse goals that require thoughtful consideration when planning for a loved one with special needs.


Alex is the sister and future guardian of James, her brother with Down Syndrome. She has a deep understanding of all the roles and responsibilities that will need to be filled one day. Alex designed a program called A Team to Carry On, a framework for parents to use when planning for the time when they can no longer do all that is required for their child. She is dedicated to educational outreach, frequently presenting workshops for families and is a sought-after speaker for professional conferences.


Please join us and bring your questions.

Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2024

Time: 6:30-7:45 p.m.

via Webinar

(We will send you the Zoom link following registration)

To register for this workshop, R.S.V.P. by

Monday, March 25, 2024

(Please include your phone number and town when registering.)


Wheelchair Basketball Social

Sunday April 7, 2-4 p.m. at the Andover/North Andover YMCA

Fun games, contests and scrimmages. Players of all ages and abilities are welcome to this free event at the Andover/North Andover YMCA.

To register and for more information, contact Kelley at to kohara@mvymca.org.

Save the Date! Disability Connections: A Massachusetts Office on Disability Networking Event

Join the Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) for Disability Connections, a networking event for the Massachusetts disability community. Hear about MOD’s latest work promoting accessibility across the Commonwealth, and connect with leaders from local and state government, nonprofit disability services, advocacy groups and all who make up the vibrant Massachusetts disability community.

Disability Connections: A Massachusetts Office on Disability Networking Event

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Mass General Brigham Assembly Row

399 Revolution Drive, Somerville, MA

This event will be live streamed on Zoom. It is free and open to the public. Registration will open in February. ASL interpretation and CART services will be provided.

Disability Pride Celebration at Fenway Park

Join the Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays, May 13 at 7:10 p.m. for their annual Disability Pride Celebration at Fenway Park!

Ticket holders who purchase through this special offer will receive an exclusive Red Sox hat with the Disability Pride flag as well as braille lettering spelling Fenway Park on the brim. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Red Sox are committed to making baseball and Fenway Park accessible. Ballpark and program accommodations can be found on the Fenway Park Access Guide. If you have additional questions about accessibility, please call 617.226.6000 to speak with a Fenway Park ambassador.

Miracle League Baseball for Youth & Teens and Miracle League Baseball for Adults

Acton, May – June. The Adult Miracle League program is for athletes 22 and older. The Miracle League of Massachusetts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for those with disabilities to play baseball as part of a team in an organized, non-competitive league.

Learn more about the Miracle League Baseball for Youth & Teens here.

Learn more about the Miracle League Baseball for Adults here.

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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