Updated: Nov 3
Part 1 of a Series on the TERI Program and the Future Expansion
Written by TR Robertson and published by The Vista Press on October 19, 2023
The dreams of founder and CEO of TERI, Cheryl Kilmer, began during her college years in the 1970’s when she witnessed firsthand the inadequacy of the programs available to fit the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Cheryl saw the need for new approaches to assist people that needed specialized approaches to providing adequate learning, socialization and wellness programs. This would eventually lead her, in 1980, to establish the Oceanside TERI Campus at 251 Airport Road, designing a program to fit the needs of people with autism and special needs. Her unique approach included innovative services, education and enrichment programs that now service 900 individuals throughout San Diego and South Orange County with a staff of 400 employees.
TERI currently uses 12 residential homes in North County for some of the individuals with special needs and a staff to assist them. Each of these homes averages a residency of 6-7 individuals. The majority of other individuals TERI services live in homes with 24/7 services including transportation needs throughout San Diego County and Orange County. Plans are underway to open a 13th residential home that will house only special needs women.
Listed in the TERI brochure, describing the need for this innovative program, is the following information:
“Currently, 1 in 6 children – or 17% aged 3-17 years – have been diagnosed with a developmental disability. (Reported by the CDC and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Over half of young adults with autism have no access to vocational or life skills training.
Families desperately need specialized education and support.
Aging parents are urgently looking for life span programs for their children.”