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ADRS provides student services to students

April B. Turner and Janet D. Bryan, M.Ed., were the guest speakers at the Aug. 29 Kiwanis Club meeting. Both are counselors with the Alabama Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

They serve all of the schools, both public and private, in Crenshaw and Butler counties.

Highland Home Principal and Kiwanis Club member Joseph Eiland said that he wanted to &#8220spotlight the importance of the services being offered to the students.”

&#8220They provide such an important service to people in and around our community,” Eiland said.

Turner, who is originally from Alexander City, said that in order for someone to receive services from ADRS, that person must have a physical or mental impairment that impedes him from being able to get a job.

&#8220There must be some form of documentation on the disability,” Turner said.

&#8220Of course, everything is confidential.”

Turner works with students from babies to age 18.

&#8220In the schools, I take care of just the vocational side,” she added. &#8220We have paraplegic or quadriplegic students who might work on a homebound basis.”

Turner said that she was the &#8220transition counselor,” the person who works with all of the special education teachers.

&#8220We also help these students to find employment after graduation,” she added.

One of the things they were always looking for were employers who would work with them in helping to find jobs for students with disabilities.

She and Bryan counsel students on work skills that they can incorporate into the working world after they get out of high school.

&#8220Our public school systems offer occupational diplomas for students with disabilities, where the kids have to work 270 hours in order to receive their diploma,” Turner said.

In addition to the work Turner and Bryan do in the schools, they also provide other services, such as purchasing limbs for amputees.

&#8220Every day is something different for us,” Turner said. &#8220One day, I might be teaching a child how to get out of bed by himself, or I might be trying to find reliable transportation for someone so he or she can get to work.”

Turner said that another topic of which many people might not be aware is that those who receive some form of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, benefits can still work and receive that money.

&#8220Many times, that person, or that person's family, will be afraid that if they go back to work, they will lose their SSI check,” she said. &#8220But, there are now incentives available to help those who can work to go back to work and not lose their benefits.”

For more information about ADRS, visit www.rehab.state.al.us , or for more information about understanding the impact of employment on Social Security benefits, call toll-free at 1-888-869-3290.