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About HOPEhouse

At HOPEhouse each young adult we serve benefits from the opportunity to progress through experience while living in a group, working together and learning independent living skills with peers in a home-like supportive environment.  The shared expertise of our Special Education Teacher, Transition Specialist, Professional Staff, HOPEhouse Consultants and Families help enable young adults to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence while maintaining and developing ties within their home communities in preparation for a successful transition to life beyond high school.

We invite you to attend an information session, open to any parent or professional interested in learning more about HOPEhouse, or you can call us with any questions you have.

HOPEhouse is fully approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Childcare (EEC).

HOPEhouse at Cotting School accepts young adults between the ages of 17 and 21 who display a range of abilities and special needs. We welcome young adults with:

  • Mild to Moderate Learning Disabilities requiring assessment of learning style, remediation techniques and small group and/or individual instruction.
  • Multiple Physical Challenges requiring assistance from a specialized staff, with medical and therapeutic consulting supports available as needed
  • Moderate to Severe Communication Needs requiring experienced teachers and staff, adaptive equipment and alternative communication systems.

HOPE House at Cotting School is unable to meet the needs of young adults who present with complex medical needs that may require 24 hour nursing care or young adults who present with severe behavioral or emotional difficulties.

14 Hours of time on learning every day
12+ Trips with 'The Ride' each week
15 Loads of laundry each week
40+ Grocery shopping trips each year


Cotting School’s mission is to enable students with special needs to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence. Our campus in Lexington, Massachusetts, offers specialized education programs for students from ages 3 to 22 years old.

HOPE House at Cotting School offers a 5-day boarding, educational and transitional program for young adults from ages 17-22 with physical, communication and/or cognitive challenges to learning. Young adults benefit from intensive programming designed to teach them life, social, and vocational skills in increasingly more independent settings.

  • Special education instruction is focused on functional and applied skills designed to meet each young adult individualized goals and needs.
  • Vocational preparation and employment experiences can be suited to each individual with the goal of preparing them for competitive employment in their home community after HOPE House.
  • Post-secondary educational opportunities may be supported for young adults who are ready for higher education.

The level of independence is strengthened for each young adult by positive experience and integration into the community.

Admissions Process

Referrals, which are typically made by the public school district, may be made at any time. At HOPEhouse, admission is rolling: we consider candidates throughout the year, and a mid-year admission will be considered if openings are available.

HOPEhouse is a separate program at Cotting School.

Learn more
Smiling HOPEHouse students

Letter from Director of Admissions

Welcome and thank you for your interest in HOPEhouse at Cotting School! I am glad you are visiting our website and I’d love the opportunity to share information about our program and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to give me a call at 781-862-7323 ext. 114 or email me at erussell@cotting.org

I have been at Cotting School for over twenty years now and am very proud of Cotting’s tradition as a leader in the field of special education. Our teachers and professional staff have a high level of expertise and compassion and have a profound impact on our young adults progress and growth. I am happy to have you visit us so you can catch a glimpse of the amazing teaching and learning that goes on at HOPEhouse every day. Please feel free to give me a call and we can schedule a time for you to have an individual tour or attend one of our monthly information sessions.

Thank you and I look forward to meeting you!


Elizabeth Fay-Russel, M.A., CAGS

Director of Admissions

Letter from Director of HOPE house

Thank you for expressing interest in HOPE House at Cotting School. HOPE House is a transition program for young adults who are beginning to prepare for life after high school. The program offers an environment where young adults can thrive toward being as independent as possible while learning with others and having an opportunity to progress through experience.   It is our goal that young adults will transfer these skills to their family home or to an independent living setting when they are ready to leave the program.

I have been at Cotting School for over sixteen years and am very proud of the success I have seen of many young adults who have experienced this program. I hope you enjoy viewing our web page and I look forward to meeting you to share more details.

Please feel free to give me a call at 781-862-7323 X170 or email me at zthibodeau@cotting.org.


Thank you!

Zoe C. Thibodeau

HOPE House Program Director

Independent Living Skills Experience

  • Designed to provide young adults with Independent Living Skills Experience so that they can contribute to the fullest extent possible in their home environments.
  • Integrated across the HOPEhouse curriculum in order to allow young adults to develop practical and functional life skills throughout their day.
  • Skills addressed include dressing, personal care, maintaining clothing, physical fitness, medicating, cooking, cleaning, accessing community resources, laundry, time management, and money management.

Social and Recreational Opportunities

  • Support in the development of social and recreational activities is provided weekly through the Rec & Leisure program.
  • Social event planning and preparation occurs throughout the school year for events such as the Halloween Party, Thanksgiving family dinner, and Holiday Open House.
  • Young adults have opportunities to invite friends and family to HOPEhouse for social activities as well as go into the community.

Special Education Instruction

  • Focused on functional and applied skills and designed to meet each young adult’s individualized goals and needs.
  • Support is provided in the areas of English Language Arts, Functional Mathematics, Health & Safety, Self Determination & Self Advocacy Skills, and Citizenship/Government.
  • Career preparation and vocational exploration
  • Post-secondary education opportunities
  • Professional staff support young adults of all levels both in the classroom and in the community.

Community Inclusion

  • Provide meaningful, diverse opportunities for young adults to transfer and generalize skills that are introduced throughout the HOPEhouse curriculum.
  • Visits to a variety of commonly utilized community locations include stores, post offices, banks, pharmacies, restaurants.
  • Intended to support and extend the classroom and independent living skills curriculum, promote independence, and challenge young adults to use skills in unfamiliar, unpredictable settings.

Career Preparation and Vocational Exploration

  • Young adults at HOPEhouse have the option to participate in Career Preparation and Vocational Exploration to prepare for realistic and meaningful work opportunities upon completion of the program.
  • Includes discussion of service work, informational interviews, job shadows, day rehabilitation experiences, volunteer positions, internships, and competitive employment.
  • Exposes young adults to a variety of career/vocational areas to determine interest areas and skill levels for each individual.
  • Career preparation while enrolled in a post-secondary educational program.

Transition Planning and Services

  • IEP addresses post-secondary goals identified by each young adult such as living arrangements, career choices, continued post-secondary education, and working with adult agencies.
  • Family involvement is emphasized to maintain and increase young adults’ home/school/community connections.
  • Creation of an individualize “resource guide” for young adults to use as a reference for PCA, equipment, speech, PT programs, technology, caseworkers, etc.