Choices for Adult Learning (CAL)
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 the CAL adults to develop microenterprises, make meaningful connections with people in their community, and pursue individual goals that may not be compatible with the rest of the group.
CAL is pilot program in the State, specifically designed to help transition individuals who have had a history of 1:1 support during their public school years and who need a bridge to the traditional 1:3 staff/adult support typically available at adult day programs for those who have behavioral needs. In addition to adults who are transition age, CAL also serves older adults who have been unable to make progress in a traditional day program setting. As the name implies, everything at CAL involves choices, from how one spends their day or week to what activities they will do in a particular setting.
The CAL program is data driven, and we know we are successful because our CAL adults are attaining individual goals, replacing problem behavior with functional behavior, making friends in their neighborhoods, starting businesses, and actively involved in a wide range of community resources (gym memberships; sports clubs; volunteerism; etc.). Our satisfaction surveys indicate that families are pleased with this program, particularly the in-home behavioral consultation and support they receive as part of the program design.
CAL is a special program that is funded through the Regional Center, and admission to the program requires a referral from a Regional Center casemanager and the consensus of an admissions team.
We are very interested in sharing this model program with other interested providers or individuals. We have found a program design that works for a very special segment of our population, and we would like to see this replicated.
CAL Program Director
Cassie Coppens first became interested in working with individuals with developmental disabilities during high school when her grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. In college, Cassie developed a strong relationship with her developmental psychology professor and started participating in her research group. Cassie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from California State University San Marcos. After graduating, Cassie began looking for a position in the field and started 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. Cassie enjoys the new program and new responsibilities. She 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.
Cassie is excited to be able to provide an innovative day program experience to higher behavioural clients, who may not otherwise have the opportunity. She believes that every consumer has the right to a valuable and rewarding program day filled with activities the individual chooses to participate in.