Todd was born to John and Lynda Ingersoll in Arcadia, California in 1972. After a normal pregnancy and delivery, Todd developed a large hematoma on his head due to what the doctors described as pressure of the cervix during delivery. During the first two years of his life, Todd developed normally and was a generally happy baby with the only exception being that he would often fight having to go to sleep.
At two to three years old, John and Lynda realized that Todd was no longer developing at the expected pace; Todd was not yet talking and he would amuse himself for extended periods playing with toys, blocks and flipping rapidly through books, magazines and telephone books. At time when mothers were often dismissed as “hysterical”, Lynda was told time and time again that Todd was just fine. After John had to take time off of work to accompany Lynda to a doctor’s visit, they were finally referred to the Regional center and at four years old Todd was diagnosed with Autism.
In the 1970’s while convincing doctors your child was different was difficult enough, receiving a diagnosis did not mean the necessary programs and services were readily available as so little was known about causes or treatments. With the support of his Mom, Dad and older sister, Shannon, Todd overcame a number of challenges due to his Autism. Todd originally attended daycare with a woman who specialized in children with Down syndrome. He later attended a number of academies around Los Angeles with a variety of children ranging in diagnosis’ and abilities.
The family moved to San Diego in 1978 and found the City of Poway to be a safe haven for their needs. Two of the most important things that happened in the early years of their time in San Diego were Todd joining the swim team for the Special Olympics and meeting Ms. Sylvia Kellerhouse, who not only became Todd’s teacher and mentor but a family friend and advocate.
Throughout middle school and high school, Todd began to thrive as an active member of his Poway Community. Todd participated in over 15 swim meets, holds multiple olympic medals and participated in a work experience program holding jobs at Pizza Hut, Miller’s Outpost and Sav-on Pharmacy.
Once Todd reached 21 years old he was ready to find a program that focused just as strongly on his personal development as his previous education had. John and Lynda did extensive research on the number of service providers throughout San Diego, and with high hopes chose Employment & Community Options.
Time sure does fly by, Todd has now been with E&CO for over 20 years. He was hired by TGI Fridays restaurant in Carmel Mountain to work with his wonderful E&CO Job Coach, John Alummoottil, and his long-time buddy, Michael Alhadeff. Todd loved his job where he cleaned and prepped the restaurant before they would open. He was given a TGIF uniform shirt and was very proud to work and earn his own paycheck. Todd even worked closely with his parents to plan his weekly expenses, write checks and use his check register.
Currently, Todd fills his days at E&CO with volunteer work at local sites including the Ed Brown Center, Poway Senior Center, Sunshine Care Homes, Poway Elks Lodge. He collects recycling at several City of Poway offices and parks. The skills Todd practices are light janitorial, calling bingo numbers for residents at Sunshine Care Homes, counting quarters for donations at the Elks Club being active in the place he calls home. He also studies keyboarding at the Library and practices yoga in the park.
Todd enjoys spending time with his favorite person, sister Shannon and her husband Matt and nephews Lucas and Jack. His favorite activities are swimming, body surfing at the beach, walking and hiking, and eating out.
He also enjoys the weekly Saturday night dinner dances with Susie and Carlos DAgostino at the Sabre Springs Recreational Center. He sees many of his friends from E&CO and from his former days with the Poway Unified School District’s Special Ed classes.
Here at E&CO, a story like Todd’s is that of an individual in pursuit of a fulfilling and accomplished life with parents who have the highest hopes for their son. Just like us, Todd deserves to be challenged, taught, supported, and to have the opportunity to become a contributing member of his community.
We are very proud of the 20+ years Todd has spent as a bright light in our E&CO Poway Program. It is because of the support of donors like you that we are able to continue providing safe and nurturing programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Todd’s parents, John & Lynda have generously donated a lead gift toward this year’s campaign goal of raising $10,000.
Will you help? Please join John & Lynda with your gift by June 30th!
Your generous gift will help empower Todd and over 1,200 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain independence in the community with dignity and respect.