Category Archives: News

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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Parent consultant uses Facebook to offer CRS families more convenient meeting options

Life, especially for parents, can become very hectic. For this reason, Jessica Havard, a parent consultant in the Children’s Rehabilitation Service office in Mobile, has explored new avenues through Facebook to make Parent Advisory Committee meetings more convenient. “I realized a lot of people my age are using technology, and often they are on their phone anyway,” she said. “I

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White Cane Day 2018 coming up in September

White Cane Day will be observed Saturday, Sept. 29, this year in Montgomery. Pictured are participants from the 2017 celebration as they march down the street with the use of their canes.

Alabama’s White Cane Day will be celebrated Saturday, Sept. 29, in Montgomery. The event, which is in its sixth year, will begin at 9 a.m. at the Alabama State Capitol building. Lenore Dillon, coordinator of vision rehabilitation therapists and orientation and mobility specialists for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, said the opening ceremonies will include the Star-Spangled Banner, the

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SAIL staff offer training on eligibility, referral process

A special training is giving Children’s Rehabilitation Service staff a greater understanding of the department’s State of Alabama Independent Living(SAIL) Service. The training program, presented by SAIL state office staff members Marilyn Long and Lillian Butler, outlines the avenues used to improve the lives of ADRS consumers, including eligibility requirements and the process for referrals. Long, a specialist for the

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Soliday a success story for Ready to Work program

Shonna Soliday and ADRS Rehabilitation Specialist Denise Holmes discuss discuss the success of the Ready To Work program.

With a strong support system, a lot of hard work, and a positive attitude, Shonna Soliday has paved the way for others to find success through the Ready To Work (RTW) program. Soliday, with assistance from Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Dena Dodd and E.H. Gentry, recently became the first student with vision loss to complete the program and secured a position

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Holloway brings experience, understanding to CRS medical consultant post

Sharon Henderson, a parent consultant in the Opelika CRS office, and new CRS Medical Consultant Dr. Albert Holloway listen during the recent statewide meeting of the Parent Advisory Committee.

Dr. Albert Holloway has joined the Rehab Family as a medical consultant for Children’s Rehabilitation Service. Holloway, who joined CRS through a contractual agreement with Medicaid, is available to respond to medical concerns generated from staff, families, and providers of CRS services. CRS Director Melinda Davis said she is delighted to have Holloway available to serve as medical consultant. “He

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VR sponsors summer transition programs around the state

Students participated in a drunken driving simulation during Deaf Services' College Prep session at Jacksonville State University

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and its partners have had a busy summer conducting transition programs at colleges throughout the state to help students prepare for life after high school. These programs have provided hands-on lessons designed to develop and improve independent living skills for people with disabilities. The agenda differed from school to school, with topics ranging from

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Rehab engineering workshop under construction in Anniston

Construction is currently under way on a new rehabilitation engineering work and storage space for the Anniston area. The 864-square-foot workshop, which is being built behind the ADRS facility on Coleman Road in Anniston, will include a 24′ x 24′ workshop with work benches and a wash-out sink as well as a storage loft. The outside will feature water access

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Students complete inaugural College Quest program at AU

The participants mixed water, glue, and other items together to make the solution come together.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services’ new College Quest program for students with vision loss conducted its initial session on the campus of Auburn University June 16-29. Twelve high school students from around Alabama worked with resident assistants to complete several intensive, hands-on workshops designed to develop and improve independent living skills. The two-week camp offered a full day of

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SAIL, Carpenters for Christ partner to provide ramps to consumers

The brutal Alabama heat and humidity could not erase the smiles on the faces of the Carpenters for Christ volunteers as they worked on one of their most recent projects. The group, which operates through First Baptist Church of Tallassee, has assisted Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Independent Living Specialist Sharon Weaver in providing wheelchair ramps for clients who would

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Deaf Services consumer ready to hit the road after earning CDL

Woodle poses with his support staff, which included Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Quentin Morris, far left

An exchange of smiles and a fist bump between newly certified truck driver Joey Woodle and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Quentin Morris allowed both to celebrate a huge milestone Wednesday, May 9. Woodle, who is deaf, realized a lifelong dream moments earlier by passing his driving test and earning a commercial driver’s license from the Central Alabama Community College’s Truck Driver

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CRS receives grant to advance care for children with medical complexity

Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks (CoIINs) are multidisciplinary teams of federal, state, and local leaders working together to tackle a common problem. Last year, CRS was one of 10 states awarded a CoIIN to advance care for children with medical complexity (CMC). The grant, managed by the Boston University School of Pubic Health and supported through the Health Resources and

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Pilot program eyes college success for students with vision loss

College Quest logo

A new ADRS College Prep program specifically for students who are blind or have low vision will debut this June at Auburn University. The two-week program – called College Quest – will host a dozen students from around Alabama, with at least one student from each of the seven workforce regions of the state, said Dana Barber, state coordinator for Blind

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Jefferson County businessman joins ADRS board

Charles Wilkinson is the newest ADRS board member, representing the 6th congressional district

A prominent member of the Birmingham business community has been appointed to represent Congressional District 6 on the Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services. Charles Wilkinson, the founder and chief executive officer of Human Resource Management Inc. (HRM), a consulting firm specializing in human resource management compliance, will represent business and industry on the seven-member board. He was appointed by Gov. Kay

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Together Success: Diyari Askew (featured story + video)

When CRS Social Work Administrator Melissa Alexander first heard from Cassie Laird that her 8-year-old daughter’s one true wish was to be able to feed herself independently, she said, “Let’s try to make it happen.” Diyari Askew is a very bright and precocious second grader in Ms. Jacob’s class at W.O. Lance Elementary in Lanett. She loves reading, learning, and

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Guide Dogs for the Blind staff offer glimpse of the ‘guide dog lifestyle’ (photo gallery)

Mark Gillard, certified O&M specialist with Guide Dogs for the Blind, explains the back-chaining and patterning methods to class participants

Staff from Guide Dogs for the Blind were in Alabama recently for a training and workshop for ADRS staff and consumers. The group’s stay began with a two-day training session for orientation and mobility specialists from ADRS and other entities, including the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, E.H. Gentry, and Birmingham-area school systems. Class topics included assessing a client’s

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Training helps first responders better understand mental illness, cognitive disabilities

ADRS Lakeshore Rehabilitation Specialist Samantha Wadsworth leads a training at Vestavia Hills PD

Officers and first responders with Vestavia Hills Police Department are currently participating in a unique training program specifically designed to help them identify typical behaviors seen in persons with a broad range of cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses. Persons with cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses often have different reactions to stressful situations than persons without those disabilities. Led by ADRS

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READI-Net offers medical aspects of disability training for employers (photo gallery)

More than 100 people, representing some 50 employers, recently attended the Medical and Psychological Aspects of Disability in the Workplace mini-conference at the Trussville Civic Center. The daylong workshop featured a number of expert panels discussing orthopedic disorders, internal disorders, deafness/hearing loss, reasonable accommodations, mental illness and cognitive disorders, and trauma disorders. Participating employers included the Alabama Department of Transportation,

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ADRS consumer recognized during Gov. Ivey’s State of the State address

Caryn McDade with Yolanda Spencer

An ADRS consumer who was hired after attending last fall’s Governor’s Disability Job Fair was recognized during Gov. Kay Ivey’s State of the State address Jan. 9. While attending the fair, Caryn McDade met and interviewed with Southern Hospitality Home Health Care of Fultondale. By the end of the week, she was employed and training on-the-job as a full-time home

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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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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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