Category Archives: News Archives

Statewide AGCEPD awards ceremony honors businesses, exceptional people with disabilities (photo gallery + video)

  The Alabama Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities honored the success and contributions of individuals with disabilities in the workforce and recognized businesses that provide opportunities for successful employment for people with disabilities. The winners were recognized at a Dec. 7 ceremony/reception in the Old Archives Chamber of the Alabama State Capitol. Gov. Kay Ivey personally congratulated

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New clinic ‘one-stop shop’ for youngsters with craniofacial disorders (photo gallery)

A student takes a photograph of a patient's mouth

Homewood’s CRS office recently launched a clinic to specifically address the orthodontics needs of children with craniofacial disorders. The CRS Orthodontic Clinic for Craniofacial Disorders – first held this past summer – offers a one-stop shop for consumers with craniofacial anomalies. The new clinic is the only one of its kind in the state and is held quarterly onsite at

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Employers weigh in on value of VR services at business roundtable (photo gallery)

Steve Woodson, chief executive officer of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), explains the goal of the roundtable

  Representatives from 20 employers from around the state gathered recently for a business roundtable on disability in the workplace. Alabama was one of five states – California, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania being the others – to participate in the event as part of the Council for State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s strategic planning initiative, known as Vision 2020. The roundtables

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33rd annual early intervention preschool conference a success

More than 500 professionals and parents attended the 33rd annual statewide Early Intervention and Preschool Conference in Huntsville Oct. 23-25. The 2 1/2 day conference offered more than 40 sessions, recommending practices for various early intervention and preschool services from birth to 5 years of age. Penny Foster, the parent of a child with Down syndrome who received services through

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OASIS program marks 30th anniversary (photo gallery)

Photo of council meeting with OASIS graphic overlaid with text reading "Serving older Alabamians with vision loss for 30 years"

OASIS, the department’s program serving older Alabamians with vision loss, celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Oct. 17 meeting of the OASIS Advisory Council. The program began in 1987 with funding from a competitive grant and has served more than 30,000 people since its inception, 1,044 of them in FY16. The program is nationally recognized for its innovative approach to

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Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson’s retirement reception (photo gallery + video)

Peggy Anderson is presented the VIP award from Lamona Lucas

Members of the Rehab Family gathered Sept. 29 to honor Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson for her more than 35 years of loyal service to Alabamians with disabilities. Friends, family, community partners, and colleagues as well as founding ADRS Commissioner Lamona Lucas gathered to celebrate Anderson’s many contributions as a passionate advocate for the creation of the department and a

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Leslie Dawson readies for Business Relations administrator role

With the Oct. 1 retirement of Statewide Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson, Leslie Dawson is preparing to fill some very big shoes. In August, ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw named Dawson to succeed Anderson as the department’s business relations administrator and a member of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). “I’m honored and humbled,” Dawson said about her new role. “Peggy

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Together Success: Madelynn Pierce (featured story + video)

When you live in extreme rural Alabama, it can be difficult to find a true sense of community. But that’s exactly what Tony and Rhonda Pierce – who live in unincorporated Lawley in Chilton County – found at the CRS office in Selma. The couple’s granddaughter, Madelynn, has Warburg micro syndrome, a rare autosomal syndrome with characteristics of microcephaly, microphthalmia, optic

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CRS offices celebrate summer with events for families (photo gallery)

Children’s Rehabilitation Service offices throughout the state have hosted a number of family-focused events this summer. In Opelika, families from Chambers, Lee, Macon, Montgomery, Randolph, Russell, and Tallapoosa, counties celebrated the end of the school year at the School’s Out Bash. The annual event –  jointly sponsored by Opelika CRS, VRS, Computer Services, and the Lee County Achievement Center –

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EI partners with Alabama reading initiative to ‘prescribe’ books to kids

Reach Out and Read Alabama volunteers pose for a photo at the event in Selma

A new partnership between Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS) and Reach Out and Read Alabama is encouraging early learning through reading by offering books to children when visiting their pediatrician. The program – Rx for Summer Reading – works by identifying pediatric offices in Alabama’s counties of need. In turn, these doctor offices “prescribe” and distribute books to families to

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VRS summer programs teach students skills for college, work life (photo gallery)

Students participate in a team-building activity at the Shelby County career prep session

Dozens of transition students from throughout the state have gained exposure to work and college life through a number of programs sponsored and presented by Vocational Rehabilitation Service this summer. The programs, held at various locations around Alabama, are designed to prepare students to transition to work and/or post-secondary education.    

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2017 YLF delegates target leadership, success (photo gallery + video)

YLF group picture with Timothy Alexander

  The 31 graduates of the 19th annual Alabama Governor’s Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) left Troy University better equipped to take charge of their own lives following the five-day event that focused on self-esteem, self-advocacy, career exploration, independent living, and assistive technology. “YLF provides an opportunity to empower young people with disabilities to fully realize their potential to lead,” said Karen Jenkins,

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Board holds quarterly meeting at ADRS Lakeshore (photo gallery + video)

Board members Eddie Williams and Jimmie Varnado speak with members of the Adaptive Driving Program team following the board meeting

The Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services held its recent quarterly meeting at the ADRS Lakeshore office. Paige Hebson, field supervisor at ADRS Lakeshore, spoke to the group about the services provided through her office. Also addressing the group was Beth Curry, who works at the nearby Lakeshore Foundation. Following the meeting, the board as well as members of the ADRS

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JeffCo high schoolers begin Career Journey with stop at UAB (photo gallery)

Elizabeth Turnbull, an instructor in the UAB School of Business, speaks at her session

More than 120 high school students from 30 Jefferson County schools are participating this week in “Money Express” at the Collat School of Business on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Money Express” was developed by Stephanie Yates, an associate professor in the UAB School of Business and director of the Institute of Financial Literacy. Over four days,

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Project SEARCH programs statewide hold commencement ceremonies (photo gallery)

Project SEARCH graduates from the UAB site stand on stage

Project SEARCH, the Alabama program launched in 2012 to provide students with significant disabilities professional work experience, held 10 graduations at different program sites statewide throughout the month of May. In total, 85 students across 10 Project SEARCH locations graduated this year. Of those 85, 62 had already accepted job offers by graduation day. The program is a total immersion, business-led, school-to-work plan for

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EI Update draws professionals, families (photo gallery)

Mary Bryan, a speech-language pathologist at the University of Alabama, gestures during her session on abnormal and normal feeding in infants and toddlers

  The 16th Annual Early Intervention Update was May 23 at University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa. The daylong event was sponsored by Three Rivers Early Intervention District VII Coordinating Council, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (for Alabama’s Early Intervention System), and Auburn University Montgomery. The morning began with Lauren Wilson, the parent of a child with a disability, whose general

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Deaf Services celebrates 30th anniversary of annual training

Juniors and seniors from the Alabama School of the Deaf introduce themselves to staff and guests of the retreat

VRS-Deaf Services recently marked the 30th anniversary of their annual training retreat at Alabama’s 4-H Center in Columbiana. Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw joined the group for day two of the three-day training, where she provided an update to staff on departmental activities and led a mock interview session for 33 juniors and seniors from the Alabama School for the Deaf.

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ADRS, Easter Seals open new Tuscaloosa facility (photo gallery + video)

Easter Seals West Alabama (ESWA) and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration for their new state-of-the-art facility. The new building – located at 1400 James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway Drive East – features 56,000 square feet of office space and houses all four major ADRS programs – Alabama’s Early Intervention System, Children’s Rehabilitation Service,

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‘Early Intervention Week’ celebrates impact of services for children with disabilities

Children ride bikes at 'Family Day'

The seven districts of Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS) held several special events for the week of April 17-21 to celebrate the vital role early intervention plays in the success of children with disabilities or developmental delays. The celebrations were part of “Early Intervention Week” in the state of Alabama. Former Gov. Robert Bentley signed a proclamation in late March to

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Together Success: MacKenzie Reeves (featured story + video)

When Pamela Reeves was pregnant with her daughter MacKenzie, her obstetrician noticed that her legs were not forming as they should. “We didn’t fully understand the issue until after the delivery,” said Pamela. “I felt blindsided when I was told MacKenzie had PFFD.” PFFD – proximal femoral focal deficiency – is a rare, non-hereditary birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip

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Summit unites families, professionals as ‘partners in care’ (photo gallery + video)

More than 100 attendees came to Prattville’s Marriott Legends at Capitol Hill Conference Center for the seventh annual Family Voices Partners In Care Summit, April 20-21. The two-day family/professional development workshop aims to strengthen networks between families and care professionals and spotlights current challenges to developing quality systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs and

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