Improving quality of life for children & adults with intellectual/ developmental disabilities

Applied Research at TERI

TERI has a longstanding history of applied research designed to improve quality of life for children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. Our research spans decades, and includes studies done in partnership with universities and private institutions as well as independent research conducted by TERI staff. TERI has also developed several first-of-their-kind pilot programs to explore best practices, new interventions, and to conduct long-term research. Regardless of the topic of the research, our goal at TERI is always to improve the daily and long-term lives of those who have autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities as well as the lives of those who love and support them.

The subjects of our research include:

  • behavior intervention & support

  • paraprofessional staff training

  • health & fitness

  • therapeutic interventions

  • severe-profound disability

  • autism & adulthood

  • family quality of life

Pilot Programs

TERI has developed several first-of-their-kind pilot programs to explore best practices, new interventions,  and to conduct long-term research.

These pilot programs include:

Choices for Adult Learning (CAL) enhanced ratio, community-based day program

TERI Diagnostic Services in partnership with public school special education

TERI Special Needs Life Quality Coach training and coaching services

Family Life Quality Planning


Studies at TERI are often conducted with students and staff in our programs and services. Our research has been presented nationally and internationally and has had a global impact within the field.

See summaries of recent research studies at TERI here: TERI Research Summary


Dr. Krysti DeZonia, Ed.D

Director of Education & Research

Krysti DeZonia, Co-Founder of TERI, currently directs the Learning Academy and Country School as well as the Research, and Life Planning Departments. A graduate of Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Special Education with an Autism focus, Krysti continued her educational pursuits by obtaining her Doctoral degree from UC San Diego. She provides consultation to families and school districts and has served people in this industry since 1979. Dr. Krysti has presented on various topics internationally in the field of special education and quality of life,  and her writing has been published and featured prolifically. Dr. Krysti conceived of Life Planning and Special Needs Life Quality Coach training, our holistic method for planning and ensuring life quality for persons with autism and other developmental disabilities across the lifespan.

Krysti is also the parent of a son with profound and multiple disabilities. She has been married to husband Rob since 1983, and has two children, Jarred and Russel.

Research Advisors

These Research Advisors provide professional advice and council on studies related to their field. Click on the Advisor’s name to see more about their credentials and work in the field.

Dr. Temple Grandin

Dr. Kenneth L. Jones

Dr. Aubyn Stahmer

Dr. Doris Tauner

Dr. Martin Stein

Betsy Slavick, OT-R

Dr. Paul Dores