Center for the Arts & Adult Education
Student Spotlight: Dennis
Dennis has been a student at the Center for the Arts and Adult Education for 4 ½ years, first entering the program when he transitioned from high school. Dennis brought with him a great deal of exuberant but unfocussed energy and a large personality. What we learned was that he also had great dance moves, a love of basketball, and a passion for painting flags. We found out that through painting, Dennis was able to calm down and take time to focus. His work has appeared in art shows, on greeting cards, and hangs in the in the state capitol and local businesses. He takes great pride in his personal accomplishments. Dennis has proven to be an extremely caring person and now shares his energy by assisting others in his groups needing help or simply a hug.
About Center for the Arts & Adult Education
The Center for the Arts & Adult Education (CAAE) is a unique pre-vocational and adult education program designed to serve adults from the age of 18 through retirement. The curriculum is as individual as our students and includes both classroom and community training environments. Students experience continuing opportunities to explore and expand their interests through participation in fine arts and crafts, theater, music, and agricultural activities, as well as opportunities to integrate with community members through a volunteer program. Additional opportunities for CAAE students include working at our thrift and re-sale shop, Potpourri on the Coast, training at local restaurants, managing a booth at the Oceanside Farmers' Market that sells items hand-made by our students, and operating an in-house Recycling Center. There is also a focus on individual health and well-being. The Fitness and Recreation Center provides exercise and personal training. The Ronald Roher Outdoor Enrichment Center is a tranquil setting for groups or individuals to enjoy a variety of leisure and recreational activities.
- Through their involvement in CAAE, individuals can increase current abilities, explore new interests, and develop a repertoire of skills and hobbies that will enrich their lives.
- Students at CAAE have been able to improve their health and fitness through daily involvement in exercise and TERI’s emphasis on healthy eating.
- CAAE students have the opportunity to share their skills with the world through community art exhibitions, craft sales, and music/theater outreach programs.
Director of Adult Services
Teresa Martin, the Director of Adult Services, has been with TERI since 1982. She oversees TERI’s residential program and the Center for the Arts and Adult Education. Teresa Martin earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Oregon State University and her Elementary Teaching Credential from the University of Southern California. Beginning her career as a teacher in the Los Angeles school system, Teresa moved on to hold the Executive Directorship of the Fallbrook Child Development Center. She transitioned to the TERI team in 1982 as part of the residential program. In 2004 she became the Director of Adult Services and administers the agency’s most diverse programs. Teresa’s great creativity has been the inspiration of many new programs at TERI. Teresa enjoys travel and has enjoyed trips to England, South Africa, Germany, and Italy. Closer to home, she enjoys sampling the arts and music available in San Diego.
Choices for Adult Learning
Student Spotlight: Elliott
Elliott has been a part of the Choices for Adult Learning family for 3 years. When the referral first came to TERI, he was observed at his previous program wearing a full jumpsuit, transportation harness, and was being escorted to and from the bus by 3-4 large male staff because of his severe and violent problem behavior. Now, 3 years later, Elliott is able to interact in the community full time. Instead of the restrictive gear, he now wears typical Southern California attire of shorts and a t-shirt. He is able to ride in personal vehicles with 1 staff or in his group that provides 2 staff for 3 adults. He is enjoying his life and greater independence accessing the community YMCA to go swimming, frequenting hiking trails around North County, and is now making money through his car washing micro-enterprise business.
About Choices for Adult Learning
Choices for Adult Learning (CAL) is the only adult day program of its kind in California. Designed to meet the unique needs of adults with significant behavioral and intellectual disabilities, this community-based program provides 2 staff for every 3 adults, offering 1:1 support for each individual for at least a third of their program day. This staffing flexibility has allowed CAL adults to develop micro-enterprises, make meaningful connections with people in their community, and pursue individual goals. CAL’s unique design helps individuals who either have a history of 1:1 support during their public school years; who have been unable to make progress in a traditional day program setting; or whose behavior needs preclude their placement in other adult day programs. CAL is a data-based program, and our students have attained great success in attaining new skills; replacing problem behavior with functional behavior, making friends in their neighborhoods, starting businesses, and being actively engaged of community experiences (gym memberships; sports clubs; volunteerism; etc). A special benefit the families receive as part of the program design is in-home behavioral consultation and support. Regional Center funded, admission to the program requires a referral from a case manager and the consensus of an admissions team. Those who use San Diego Regional Center services must live within 25 miles of the CAL program (Oceanside area); those who work with other Regional Centers may live outside this radius. We are proud of this innovative program and its ability to successfully support a very special segment of our population.
- Allows adults the support of 2 staff for a group of three
- Novel activities chosen by students based in the community
- Ability for student to develop a micro-enterprise by transforming their interests into a money making opportunity
- Educating our community through positive, structured interactions and giving back
Director of Choices for Adult Learning
Cassie Coppens became interested in working with individuals with developmental disabilities during high school when her grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s and later in college while studying developmental psychology and participating in a research group. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from California State University San Marcos, Cassie found a position working at TERI in 2006 as a one-on-one aide at the Learning Academy. When the CAL pilot program opened in 2008, Cassie made the move to director. She is excited to be able to provide an innovative day program experience to higher behavioral clients, who may not otherwise have the opportunity. She believes every individual has the right to a valuable and rewarding program day filled with activities the individual chooses to participate in. Cassie values the importance of listening and making team decisions with the individual, their families, and the people who work closest with them to determine the best quality schedule of activities to fill each day. Please contact Cassie if you would like more information about CAL.
Enrichment Programs & Services
TERI leads the industry with model special education programs in the San Diego, California area serving and educating children and adults of all ages. TERI’s extensive array of life span services are recognized by and replicated across the State of California and internationally. TERI’s curriculum is designed so every student reaches his or her maximum potential. Transition and adult services are individualized to best serve each student and his or her family. At TERI, students’ achievements shine and amaze because they are provided the opportunities to thrive.
Student Spotlight: Patrick
During his childhood, many professional’s doubted that Patrick would ever be able to enjoy a meaningful life because of his multiple diagnoses of autism, intermittent explosive disorder, and a severe form of epilepsy. As Patrick approached adulthood, his parent’s concerns deepened as they worried about his future. But after the last decade as a TERI resident, fully embracing the culture of well-being and positive solutions, Patrick has thrived. His seizures and explosive behaviors now occur only on occasion, and following those instances he is able to quickly recover. He has made many friends, enjoys playing and watching sports, has become more independent in taking care of his own needs, found spiritual growth through a local church, and dramatically improved his health through diet and exercise! After discovering Patrick’s love for animals, TERI’s Choices for Adult Learning program was able to assist him in creating his own dog walking micro-enterprise. Patrick is actively engaged in living his life-- a life full of meaning and purpose that may have not been possible had his family given up hope. The dedicated TERI team has supported Patrick and enabled him to become a responsible adult who is setting and achieving his life’s goals.
The path to well-being and fulfillment may be different for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, but the hopes and dreams to live a meaningful life with a sense of purpose are the same. Finding the right residential home is critical to the success and development of an adult with special needs, and helps ease the worry or burden that parents and family members may feel. Since 1980, TERI has been providing superior residential services. Through enrichment programs, healthy living, sustainability, and a phenomenal home environment that offers safety, security, training, care and love. Many organizations have tried to replicate TERI’s model, but have not been able to achieve the standards that TERI has set. TERI has been nationally recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a renowned residential program. TERI currently owns and operates 12 residential homes throughout Northern San Diego County. Our homes are licensed as Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled, Habilitative (ICF/DD-H), by the California Department of Public Health.
- Each resident has a team of experts to help guide and support their individual needs. TERI residents benefit from highly trained staff, expertly created menus, organic and home grown fruits/vegetables, and an abundance of recreational, social and enrichment opportunities.
- An individualized service plan, that is continuously monitored and updated, outlines the supports and training needed for the individual to adapt and conquer all challenges that the individual may face throughout their lifetime.
- Three of our homes are specifically designed to meet the ever-growing and changing needs of young men with autism.
- Our newest home opened in July 2013 to accommodate individuals that require greater accommodations due to increasing health and physical challenges.
- Our caring and dedicated staff unites with our parents, families and community members to provide a unique avenue to ignite and cultivate the passion that lies within each resident.
- Our services are driven to achieve positive outcomes emphasizing the individual’s dignity, self-determination, self-esteem and personal development to secure their contributing role in the community.
Director of Residential
Donna Cheeseman found her passion when she began to work with children and adults with special needs in 1987. She has devoted her career to advocating and creating opportunities for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to build productive, meaningful lives in a warm, welcoming, caring environment. Donna’s 24 years of management experience, and her outstanding reputation as a competent, knowledgeable and supportive professional made her an ideal candidate to assume the Director of Residential Services role at TERI in January 2008. As a native San Diegan, Donna holds a BA in Psychology from San Diego State University, a MA in Human Behavior from National University and is currently working on requirements to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.