When Hannah came to Cotting School at 10 years old, she was ready for a different school experience. She needed an environment in which she was challenged to reach beyond the familiar, and one where she could help others reach, too.
“You know,” Hannah’s father, Jonathan, emphasizes, “you just know when you walk in the door [that this is the right place]. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming.”
Today, Hannah is confident and functioning academically at a level she was never expected to. She is happy and has friends. She is not nearly as shy as she was when she began school. She plays soccer and basketball and shoots basket after basket with a big grin on her face.
“What I love about Cotting,” says her mother, Pat, “is that the Cotting staff won’t stop until they find the right tool to help meet your child where she is. The minute I say Hannah is frustrated, the next day a new thing comes home to help her."
In addition to her sports activities at Cotting, Hannah participates in gymnastics at the Special Olympics. She takes trips to the mall and other special activities with “Just Us Girls,” a Saturday program for girls with special needs. “And you haven’t lived until you've seen Hannah dance!” Pat says. — Pat and Jonathan
Cotting has been a blessing to Lucas and our whole family. Lucas has grown in so many ways since attending Cotting and becoming part of the Cotting Community. Thanks to Cotting, Lucas is able to participate in sports and be on a team (basketball, soccer, baseball) and feel proud of himself when he is cheered or makes a basket! He enjoys being in Chorus and he actually sang at the concert, to just about everyone's surprise!
He is talking and communicating more and more every day and is able to navigate the school on his own. He has made friends and goes to dances and outings! Lucas is learning how to read, trying hard to write his name, working on the computer, participating in "On The Job" and learning about money.
The staff at Cotting is top-notch, and the carryover from school to home is evident. Lucas is proud of his accomplishments and loves to share them with us. He is more on task at home these days and tries harder every day to communicate his needs. He is calmer, more articulate and more independent.
Cotting’s dental clinic has been so helpful. In the past, Lucas has been so afraid to go to the dentist, so his teacher scheduled him to go weekly to help de-sensitize him. It has worked beautifully! When we went to the dentist at Franciscan Hospital a few weeks ago, he did great and even had x-rays for the first time without having to be put to sleep!
If we have a question or concern for a teacher or someone on the Administrative team at Cotting, there is always someone to talk to. There are answers to be had, which leaves us feeling good, not frustrated. I know my son is in the best possible place he could be, with the best possible supports and staff.
— Moira Mahegan
Our son, Nico, was in a loving environment at school, but the school was not equipped to give him what he needs. He was struggling in third grade: he had a stack of uncompleted math papers, he was not reading well, and he was alone at recess wheeling around the schoolyard. The other students did not want to slow the pace of their games to include him. He withdrew emotionally. His self-esteem started to suffer. Nico couldn’t eat lunch in the ten minutes allocated for it. Each morning before school, he had tremendous anxiety.
We didn’t realize how much he was missing until he came to Cotting. It has been a transformative experience. At Cotting, everybody smiles; there is wonderful energy. The staff are amazing; there is none of that anxiety masked by over-politeness. Because they are experts, the staff exhibit a total natural confidence and a human-to-human response. Their attitude is, “Let’s get to know him as a person.”
Nico is getting the support he needs to learn math. He answers questions that help him sequence information from his reading so he can craft a paragraph. Nico is playing tag at recess; he has gone on playdates. He has even become a bit of a class clown because he feels comfortable and can be his true, extroverted self. What a relief! Nico eats lunch now. He participates in all the activities and plays all the sports. Most importantly, he is a successful student and a successful friend.
The team of therapists and teachers who work with him have suggestions for us on what to do at home to help Nico advance. School and life work together now. Children don’t grow alone; their families grow with them. Nico now has all the supports in place to learn the skills to live an independent life. How wonderful to be able to feel confident that he will do that!" — Billana Angelova and Daniel Bolton
“Before our son, Thomas, came to Cotting, he thirsted for friends and companionship. Like many thirteen year-olds, he cared more about friends than schoolwork, but his social interaction was limited. His peers didn’t really know how to be a friend to him. He became depressed, he wasn’t reading at grade level; his eighth grade was a failure.
After his first day at Cotting, it was as if a switch turned on. He came home and would not stop talking about how “awesome” it was. The next day he was up, showered, out the door, and ready for the bus on his own, even though it was quite early. Now he completes his homework unasked. He has a sense of belonging that gives him a level of comfort; he has been respected, accepted, and included.
Our most athletic child, he no longer runs the clock or sits in goal; he is out on the playing field and the basketball court. He has learned to ride a bike. This spring, he asked the coach if he could play both baseball and track. We are delighted!
What amazes us about Cotting is that the teachers want to be part of the success of their students. They are so involved in the student’s whole being, it is infectious. They give him the work he can do on his own to prepare him for life after Cotting, when no one will be there to do his math for him. The Cotting family is Thomas’ world and his life. It has been just the medicine the doctor needed to prescribe." — Kate and Tom Buckley