Know someone with a disability in Birmingham? Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services is here to help.

Telling stories at Arc Stories from a wheelchair
My sister Karon telling her spooky story at Arc Stories last week. Photo by Joel Bullock

After a couple recent surgeries, my sister needs a wheelchair to get around. When she learned about Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, she was overjoyed.

This state-run organization helps set children and adults with disabilities up for success. Whether someone is born with a disability or develops one later in life, ADRS helps them thrive. Keep reading to find out more.

1. ADRS helped 50,000 Alabamians in 2018

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services working with a participant in a wheelchair at a job fair
Making connections: a participant in a wheelchair and a potential employer at an Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services job fair. Photo from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services via Facebook
  • ADRS was founded in 1994
  • 25 community offices reach people in all 67 Alabama counties
  • They provide valuable resources linking people with disabilities with much-needed supports and resources

What counts as a disability, you might be wondering?

  • Mobility challenges such as needing a wheelchair to get around
  • Developmental delays
  • Hemophilia
  • Blindness / low vision
  • Deafness / limited hearing
  • Other challenges to living a full, active and independent life

2. Alabama’s Early Intervention System

Children and dinosaurs
Kids and families enjoying some Halloween fun. Plus, dinosaurs make everything better. Photo from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services via Facebook

Alabama’s Early Intervention System: helps with babies through 3-year olds with developmental delays or disabilities. Call: 1-800-543-3098 (or TTY 800-499-1816). Spanish speakers call: 1-866-450-2838.


3. Children’s Rehabilitation Service

Children's Rehabilitation Service of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services includes therapy dogs
Therapy dogs make everything better. Photo from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services via Facebook

Children’s Rehabilitation Service helps babies through 21-year olds. They work with schools to help young people with disabilities participate fully in school. Their Hemophilia Program serves children and adults with hemophilia.

4. Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Vocational Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities navigate the job market
Strengthening social skills at AIDB Helen Keller School. Photo from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services via Facebook

Vocational Rehabilitation Services is the program that caused my sister—an amazing science teacher whose disability has kept her out of a classroom for the past few years—to cry tears of joy. They “help Alabamians with disabilities achieve independence through employment.”

If you haven’t been up close and personal with someone with a disability, you’d be shocked at all the things you need to be able to navigate seemingly simple things like getting out of the house, accessing public bathrooms, opening doors or getting from Point A to Point B safely.

This doesn’t even include renewing lapsed licenses, getting specific skills training, or finding opportunities that are a good fit. VRS helps with all of this.


5. State of Alabama Independent Living / Homebound Services

Helping people learn how to navigate independent living with disabilities at Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services
It’s hard to use the oven if you’re blind or low vision . . .until a vision rehabilitation specialist literally shows you what to do. Photo by Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services via Facebook

State of Alabama Independent Living / Homebound Service helps people with the significant disabilities thrive. Doesn’t matter if they’re at home, in the workplace or in the community.


If you or someone you know needs support for a disability, you need to know about Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Whether you need a ramp, job support or something else, they have a lot to offer.

You can find Alabama Department of Rehabilitation services at their website, on Facebook, or just give them a call at 1-800-441-7607.

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference