Gadsden and Anniston CRS offices participate in Special Olympics

Six staff members from the Children’s Rehabilitation Service offices in Gadsden and Anniston were excited to again participate in the Etowah County Special Olympics at the Gadsden City Football Field along with hundreds of athletes. The group has been a part of the Etowah County Special Olympics for more than 10 years. The crew manned four activities at their tent

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Focus groups help ADRS Lakeshore plan for the future

Staff from the ADRS Lakeshore office recently spent a week traveling the state to conduct a series of focus groups. The groups, made up of Vocational Rehabilitation Service staff, provided input that will be used in a restructuring effort to address the growing demand for the office’s programs. Program Evaluation and Development Specialist Samantha Wadsworth said Lakeshore has grown beyond

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Blind and Deaf Services conference draws big numbers to the beach

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services held its Blind and Deaf Services staff training conference at Gulf State Park in mid-April with plenty of enthusiasm and excitement. This was the first time a combined training of this format had been conducted, which led to the theme “Hand in Hand, We Can Make a Difference.”

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Davis reflects back on ADRS career

For Melinda Davis, the success she has achieved with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has been based not only on the knowledge she gained on the job but also on a strong family and spiritual support system. Davis, who was honored with a retirement coffee Monday, April 29, has dedicated decades of her life to helping children with special

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ADRS Lakeshore staff provide training to Vestavia Hills first responders

Brandon Adamson, a certified driving instructor with ADRS Lakeshore, goes over the adaptive devices available to drivers with disabilities

A successful 2018 training session for the Vestavia Hills Police Department through the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continued Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, with a new topic concerning suicide prevention and mental health. Last year, ADRS Rehabilitation Specialist Samantha Wadsworth worked with officers and first responders at the VHPD to help them identify and understand typical behaviors

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James family is a true EI success story

Despite her tiny frame, Kinsley Grace James is an unstoppable force. After being born at 28 weeks and weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces, the now 2-year-old has made consistent strides through services from Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS). The road to progress has certainly run into its fair share of obstacles, but Kinsley’s mother, Ashly James, said her daughter does

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STEM-finity Wars launches 2019 campaign in Mobile

Students from the Mobile area gathered at Bishop State Community College in late March to participate in STEM-finity Wars. The Marvel Universe-themed event, which was sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, is an interactive transition program that provides valuable information, resources, and experiences to eighth- through 12th-grade students who are

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New training offers VR staff insight into military culture

\Sawyer discusses guard life

More than 30 Vocational Rehabilitation Service direct-service staff recently attended a training on military culture and best practices for serving Alabama National Guard members through the ADRS RAVE (retaining a valued employee) Program. The new training, which focused on the Army and National Guard, was developed by Business Relations Specialist Anna Taylor and Staff Training and Development staffer Nancy Adams.

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Heroes Hub helps vets sharpen employment skills

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services partnered with Southern Union State Community College and others to host a Veterans Employment Workshop in Opelika earlier this month. The purpose of the program was to prepare veterans to receive an offer of hire at the upcoming Veterans Hiring Fair in the spring. The program focused on the current and future landscapes of

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ADRS, EASE, and Athens State host Transition Mentoring Day

Admissions Advisor Bethany Campbell is excited to give a history of the school and tour of its facilities.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Erica Allen Supported Employment (EASE), and Athens State University recently partnered to host Transition Mentoring Day for high school students with disabilities on the campus of Athens State. Some 200 juniors and seniors from Athens High School, Limestone County Schools, Brewer and Priceville high schools, and Decatur City Schools rotated in 50-minute sessions to

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Facebook Live series to spotlight ADRS programs

An exciting new opportunity for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services to spread its message took flight Wednesday, Jan. 23. Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw discussed some of the department’s services and programs during a live online broadcast with Alex Bimes of Alabama Care to outline some of the avenues that help people with disabilities achieve their maximum potential. The broadcast

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Early intervention ‘boot camp’ teaches routines-based interviewing techniques

Dr. Robin McWilliam discusses interview techniques during the January session

This week, more than 25 representatives from early intervention (EI) programs around the state are gathering in Tuscaloosa for a “boot camp” on routines-based interviewing (RBI). The multi-day workshop – the first of three for 2019 – is being led by Robin McWilliam, a professor at the University of Alabama who developed the Routines-Based Model for serving young children with

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Floyd excited for the opportunity to lead ADRS IT department

A new face has stepped in to fill the shoes of recently retired Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services IT Director Dave Rainey. While her title is new, Beverly Floyd, who was previously a software development manager, is no stranger to ADRS. Floyd has been associated with the department since 1983 when her twin sisters began receiving services from Children’s Rehabilitation

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Awards ceremony celebrates Governor’s Committee success stories

The Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services conducted a statewide awards ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Alabama State Capitol. Governor Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the award recipients.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was on hand to congratulate the honorees at the recent statewide awards ceremony at the Alabama State Capitol. T he annual event is sponsored by the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Ivey said state leaders are always looking for ways to provide more opportunities

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ADRS job seeker now helping others realize their work goals

Renika Baggage discusses job opportunities available at the Anniston Army Depot with an attendee during this year's Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in Huntsville.

There are many success stories highlighting the impact that the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its programs can have on an individual. Renika Baggage, however, provides a look at how the recipient of these services can share his or her experiences to change the lives of others. Baggage attended the annual Governor’s Job Fair for People with Disabilities in

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ADRS board elects Williams new chairman

  The Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services will be under new direction in the coming year. During the Dec. 7 quarterly meeting in Montgomery, the board unanimously voted District 5 representative Eddie C. Williams as chairman and District 3 representative Penny Piland Foster as vice chairman. Williams said he has always taken his role on the board very seriously because

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Ceremony celebrates opening of rehab engineering workshop

Exterior shot of the new rehab engineering workshop

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house were held recently to celebrate the completion of a state-of-the-art rehab engineering workshop in Anniston. The 864-square-foot building, which sits behind the ADRS facility on Coleman Road in Anniston, includes a 24′ x 24′ workshop with work benches and a wash-out sink as well as a storage loft. The outside also features water access

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BEP partner Misty Dawn honored for performance during storm surge

From left, Business Enterprise Program Business Specialist Darryl McCaul; Sodexo District Manager, Lexis/Nexis General Manager James H. Winkler; ADRS Business Enterprise Program Director Lori Brady; and Misty Dawn Enterprises owner David Talley pose for a photo after the awards ceremony. Misty Dawn earned the national “Spirit of Sodexo Award” and the Center for Domestic Preparedness 2018 “Government Services Segment Unit of the Year Award.”

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Business Enterprise Program (BEP) has a long history of successful business operations and superior customer service.  Licensed blind vendors have been operating small businesses across the state since 1946 and achieving independence through self-employment. For almost 15 years, ADRS has partnered with Sodexo USA to provide dining hall services to the FEMA Center for

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Deaf Services strategic planning sessions shape plans for future

Members of the audience listen as Adams listen to Adams explain the next part of the process

  A series of ADRS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services strategic planning sessions has provided leadership with useful feedback for determining the direction of the program. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator Bedarius Bell said the meetings take place throughout the state every three years to allow leaders to receive input as they prepare their plans to move

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Early Intervention conference opens 34th year with record crowd

Glenn Harger, president and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of Mobile, greets conference attendees

A standing-room-only crowd gathered Monday, Oct. 15, for the opening keynote of the 34th Annual Early Intervention and Preschool Conference. Phuong Palafox, a speech language pathologist with Bilingual Speech and Language Services in Austin, Texas, delivered the opening remarks, “How a House Is Built: Family First.” More than 700 early intervention professionals and families pre-registered for the three-day convention, which is

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Two new transition programs now available through ADRS Lakeshore

This program will engage, educate, and equip high school and community college students with the skills they need for future employment.

The ADRS Lakeshore office is offering two new transition programs this fall. The E3 and SET programs are intended as supplements to the college prep and job readiness workshops offered each summer. E3 – which stands for engage, educate, and equip – launches Friday, Sept. 28, and provides high school and community college students with the skills necessary for employment, said

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Gadsden CRS office helps teen secure standing chair

From left, transition social worker Holly Edwards, Jason Simpson, Grayson, Lisa Ellis and Mike Oliver gathered for a quick photo after a successful test run and fitting.

Grayson Huffman could not contain her excitement recently when she arrived at the Gadsden Children’s Rehabilitation Service office to receive a new motorized standing wheelchair. Grayson, 17, a junior at Cherokee High School, has cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. Thursday’s presentation of the new chair ended more than six months of paperwork, research, and second effort from the Gadsden

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ADRS helps Roberts give back with community garden

Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Brittney Urquhart and Bill Roberts share a laugh during one of their recent meetings.

It is no surprise when Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services staffers make a difference in the life of a consumer. However, through their efforts, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Brittney Urquhart and Rehab Engineer Tim Driskell have literally helped plant the seeds for success in the lives of many in Sylacauga. The process began when consumer Bill Roberts, a former firefighter, fire

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ADRS launches 2018 United Way campaign with special event

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and United Way combined campaign kicked off Friday, Sept. 14, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. with a few new incentives. The special event, held in the State Office, featured food, fun, fellowship, and door prizes, along with presenters to explain how contributions to the United Way make a difference in the community. ADRS staffer

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