Category Archives: News

Fussell fuels Faulkner students’ desire to achieve their goals

For years, Faulkner University Director for the Center of Disability Services Nichole Fussell faced an uphill academic battle. Now, she is able to promote the services that helped her earn college degrees and open doors for others facing similar challenges. Unlike some students with learning disabilities, Fussell was able to push through high school and enter college before she realized

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Readers relay news articles to blind and low-vision listeners

Keeping up with the latest news and events in the River Region can sometimes be a challenge for blind or low-vision residents. Fortunately, a partnership between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Troy University’s WTSU public radio ensures that listeners can stay informed of what is happening in the Montgomery area. The Radio Readers, a group of volunteers who

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Nothing can slow the success of Stephens

Don’t let her size and sometimes quiet nature fool you. Dothan resident and Rehobeth High School senior Whitney Stephens is a fighter. Stephens has never let any obstacles hold her back, including 27 surgeries and 50 overall procedures. Through it all, she pushed forward and remained an honor student. In December of 2018, Stephens was recognized as the Alabama Department

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Construction begins on new Muscle Shoals VRS office

Dignitaries pose with hard hats and shovels following the groundbreaking.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held May 8 for a new office space for Muscle Shoals VRS. The 20,000-square-foot facility is being built by Easter Seals Northwest Alabama. VRS will occupy approximately half of the new building, which will feature a multi-purpose room, dedicated testing space, and updated technology. Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2020.  

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Partners in Care Summit an eye-opening experience for participants

Family Voices of Alabama and the Family to Family Health Information Center, along with Children’s Rehabilitation Service, opened the annual Partners In Care Summit at the Marriot Legends Conference Center in Prattville earlier this month. Day 1 of the two-day event was dedicated to youth and family members, while the second day offered those in attendance an opportunity to visit

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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 staff, families join in Child Advocacy Day at the Capitol

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Alabama State Capitol in early April to celebrate Child Advocacy Day. The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services was well-represented, with staff, supporters, and families lending their voices to those advocating for a number of programs for Alabama’s children. After the ceremony, ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw, EI State Coordinator Betsy Prince, and several

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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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Mobile VR participates in Mardi Gras Festivities

The ADRS Mobile Vocational Rehabilitation Services office had a chance to combine revelry and raising awareness for their programs Thursday, Feb. 28, by participating in The Mobile Arc Association of Reveling Cavaliers Mardi Gras Parade. Several staffers manned the float, while others provided support and spread the word about their mission by visiting spectators. Everyone left with a smile on

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Active-shooter training opens eyes to the importance of planning

When it comes to active-shooter situations, preparation is the key. During a Tuesday training session, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services employees received valuable information on how to deal with emergency situations from Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Bureau Commander for Special Investigations and Operations and SWAT team leader Randy Pollard. Pollard outlined a plan that encouraged participants to run, hide, or

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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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Lions partner with ADRS to construct wheelchair ramps

Everyone involved in the project did his part to make sure all the pieces were in place at the proper angles.

The missions of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and Lions Club focus on improving the lives of Alabamians with disabilities, so it is only fitting that the two recently established a partnership. A presentation to the Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services by board member Dr. Stephen Kayes highlighted success stories that allowed club members and ADRS Rehabilitation Engineering and

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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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