RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
OF THE BLIND
IN ALABAMA

AER

Published by the
Alabama Chapter of the Association for the
Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind
and Visually Impaired (AER).

As Authorized by the
CODE OF ALABAMA 1975
and Applicable State Administrative Code Rules.

INTRODUCTION
The Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Alabama Chapter) takes great pleasure and pride in presenting this, the fifth issue of the Rights and Privileges of the Blind in Alabama.

The first issue of this publication was the brain child of Ms. Vera McClain, a rehabilitation teacher in Birmingham, Alabama. Ms. McClain was very ably assisted in her project by Leslie B. Adams, Jr., former law student and editor of the Law Review at Cumberland School of Law, Samford University in Birmingham.

This booklet was very well written and served its purpose until 1977. At that time the second issue of Rights and Privileges was developed because the Code of Alabama had been revised and reorganized in 1976. The late Don Sims, who at that time was the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Blind in Tuscaloosa, worked with David Brannen, Law Librarian, University of Alabama School of Law, to revise and rewrite the booklet.

When the two principle organizations of professional workers in the field of blindness merged in June 1983, President Tom Elliott felt that one of the high priorities of the new organization should be to revise the Rights and Privileges of the Blind document. To complete this task he appointed a committee consisting of the late Don Sims, Chairman, the late Danny McDaniel, the late Vera McClain, Mary Jean Sanspree, and Mark Voorhies to rewrite the document. After Mr. Elliott left office in 1984 his successor, the late Charles J. "Chuck" Delong left the committee intact and urged it to continue its efforts which resulted in the third edition.

In 1992, the AER Board asked the late Mr. Don Sims and Mr. Jim Stovall to review the third edition, make any necessary updates, and publish a revised fourth edition. Both the University of Alabama School of Law and the Cumberland School of Law have been provided copies of the document and their comments were helpful in producing the fourth edition. A number of attorneys in private practice also examined the document and provided invaluable input. Both Mrs. Lamona H. Lucas, Director, Division of Rehabilitation Services, State Department of Education, and Dr. Joseph Busta, President, Alabama Institute of Deaf and Blind were extremely generous in providing time for staff to work on this project. The AIDB office of Health Evaluation and Outreach was especially helpful in rewriting the section on admissions to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. The Alabama Instructional Resource Center for the Blind produced the document and contributed both time and expertise in the technical production of the Braille and large print documents and the taping of the audio version. Specifically, Mrs. Sherry Presley and Mrs. Brenda Haynes are to be commended for their efforts in producing this document. The Alabama Public Library Service is also to be thanked for agreeing to provide copies of the book on tape to its patrons.

At the AER conference in 2010, the Vision Rehabilitation Therapists Division Report called for an updated version of the “Rights and Privileges” document to be distributed to consumers. The AER Secretary, Caitlin Simpson, and the ADRS legal team undertook the revision, which was completed and announced at the 2011 AER conference. A revised copy of the fifth edition was made available in early 2012. The AER board would like to state that the organization recognizes language that is respectful of persons with disabilities; however this document hereafter will cite the laws specifically as written.

It is very important for the user of this pamphlet to realize that it is not a list of federal laws nor does it deal with restrictions placed upon blind people by law. It is, however, a listing of the rights as guaranteed by a legal statute and the privileges as given by the statute and agency policy and mandate to blind and visually impaired citizens of Alabama. It is intended for the use of the layman and should be used as a general guideline only. AER recommends that when specific questions or problems arise readers should consult the appropriate state agency or a licensed attorney accredited by the Alabama Bar Association. To avoid inconvenience to the reader or their attorney the articles, sections, or chapters of the code revised 1976 to which each paragraph refers is listed in parentheses at the end of each paragraph. The Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Alabama Chapter) hopes this booklet will provide a means by which both professional and lay persons working with the blind and visually impaired to assist them in being certain that they are provided all rights and privileges due them under the law. It further hopes that blind and visually impaired citizens themselves will utilize this booklet in order to better understand, appreciate, and be aware of their rights and privileges as citizens of the state of Alabama.


ALABAMA'S LEGAL DEFINITION OF BLINDNESS
A "blind person" in the state of Alabama is a person who has no vision or whose vision is so impaired that the person cannot perform ordinary activities which require vision, even with the aid of glasses. This means that generally a person is considered blind if he has central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in his better eye with glasses. If, however, his central visual acuity is greater than 20/200 in his better eye, but his "peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees," he is also considered legally blind. Sec. 1-1-3(a). Either a duly licensed optometrist or a duly licensed ophthalmologist may certify blindness as defined above in order that a blind person may receive the rights and benefits to which he is entitled by law. Sec. 1-1-3(b).

The Department of Human Resources is not prevented by this section, however, from establishing a different definition of blindness in determining eligibility for its blind assistance program. Sec. 1-1-3(c).


RIGHTS OF THE BLIND
In order to encourage and enable the blind to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state (Sec. 21-7-1), the Code of Alabama specifically lists certain rights accorded the blind, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Blind persons have the same right as the able-bodied to use freely the public roadways, public buildings, and other public places. Sec. 21-7-2.
  2. Blind persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, as well as privileges of common carriers such as buses, motor vehicles, airplanes, etc. Sec. 21-7-3.
  3. Blind persons are entitled to full and equal access, as are other members of the general public, to housing accommodations offered for rent, lease or compensation, but an individual is not required by law "to modify his property" to aid the blind or "to provide a higher degree of care for a blind person". "Housing accommodations" means any real property or portion thereof which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as the home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings, but shall not include any accommodations included within subsection (a) of this section or any single-family residence, the occupants of which rent, lease or furnish for compensation not more than one room therein. Nothing in this section shall require any person renting, leasing or providing for compensation real property to modify his property in any way or provide a higher degree of care for a blind person, visually handicapped person or other physically disabled person than for a person who is not physically disabled. Sec. 21-7-9(a-c).
  4. Blind persons who have guide dogs are also entitled to full and equal access to housing accommodations, but these people will be "liable for any damage done to the premises by such guide dog". Sec. 21-7-9(d).
  5. Blind persons "have all the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons" regardless of whether or not they carry a white or metallic cane (with or without a red tip) or are accompanied by a guide dog. Sec. 21-7-6 to 7.
    1. Drivers of vehicles approaching a blind person who is carrying such a cane or is accompanied by a guide dog "shall take all necessary precautions to avoid injury to such blind pedestrian". Sec. 21-7-6.
    2. Any driver who fails to take these precautions "shall be liable in damages for any injury caused" to the blind pedestrian, and the failure of the blind pedestrian to carry a cane (as described above) or use a guide dog "shall not be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence". Sec. 21-7-6 to 7.

Any individual who interferes with the rights or privileges of a blind person is guilty of a misdemeanor. Sec. 21-7-5.


ALABAMA EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS FOR DEPENDENTS OF BLIND PARENTS ACT (Sec. 16-33-1 to 12)
"Tuition benefits received under the provisions of this chapter shall be called `Alabama scholarships for dependents of blind parents`." Sec. 16-33-12.

"In any family where the head of the household is blind, and the family income is not greater than 1.3 times the current poverty level, each child may attend an Alabama state institution of higher learning, college, or university for a period of four standard academic years of nine months each, not to exceed thirty-six months total, without paying any instructional fees or tuition whatsoever for such college or university attendance, or any such child may take a prescribed course in any Alabama state trade school, for the length of any prescribed course of study of his or her choosing, without the payment of any instructional fees or tuition whatsoever. Training under this section must be initiated within two years after high school graduation, but in no case after the child's twenty-third birthday, and must be completed within five years after its initiation, except for delays caused by military service during the period, and in no case may training be received under this Act beyond the thirtieth birthday of such child."

To qualify for these benefits, a child must apply to the Department of Rehabilitation Services, and produce the following:

  1. Proof of permanent residency in the state of Alabama for at least five years prior to application;
  2. Proof of eligibility under all terms of the statute;
  3. Proof of qualifications and ability to pursue the course of study for which application is made. (Sec. 16-33-5).

These provisions are not to be construed as lowering the admission standards of any state school or institution for applicants qualifying under this section. To receive the benefits mentioned, the applicant must meet the scholastic and other requirements of the school he or she hopes to attend. If any other state or federal legislation provides benefits equal to or greater than those provided by this Act, the applicant will be ineligible for the benefits listed above.

Only an immediate child of a blind person may receive these benefits.


EDUCATION


ALABAMA INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF AND BLIND
The Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind is a corporation located in Talladega, Alabama (Sec. 21-1-1). The Institute is the official state agency for conducting educational and training programs for the blind and visually handicapped. (Sec. 21-1-23). The Board of Trustees is authorized, (among other things):

  1. to provide residential training programs throughout the state without time or age limitations on the participants (Sec. 21-1-8a); and
  2. to employ teachers to provide home instruction to blind persons as long as they do not "undertake the permanent support or maintenance of any blind person". (Sec. 21-1-17). The Institute is required (among other things):
    1. to "maintain a register of blind persons living in Alabama which shall describe the condition, cause of blindness, capacity for education and industrial training for each blind person registered..." (Sec. 21-1-16); and
    2. to "maintain a bureau of information, to aid the blind, whose training is not otherwise provided for in finding employment, in developing home industries and in marketing their products" (Sec. 21-1-17); and
    3. may also provide for training at the junior college level at the discretion of the Board of Directors (Sec. 21-1-9). The Institute provides services for both children and adults.

ALABAMA INSTITUTE FOR DEAF AND BLIND
POLICY FOR SCHOOL ADMISSION CRITERIA

Alabama School for the Blind
Alabama School for the Deaf
Helen Keller School of Alabama

INTRODUCTION
The educational programs of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind at Talladega, Alabama (hereinafter referred to as "AIDB") are designed to provide educational programs and training for the hearing impaired, deaf, visually impaired, blind, and multiply disabled, sensory impaired students. Decisions regarding eligibility for a child to enroll at AIDB will be based on the total needs of the child as determined by a File Review Committee and/or Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee shall be appointed by the President. The Admissions Committee shall include professionals qualified to interpret evaluation data and determine if a child meets the admission criteria explained hereafter. The following criteria will be used as a guideline in determining whether a child should be enrolled in AIDB’s campus programs.

Residency

  1. Alabama applicants who meet admission criteria are qualified for enrollment or continued enrollment without the payment of tuition. Non-Alabama applicants who meet admission criteria other than residency may be enrolled on a tuition basis provided that such enrollment does not deny admission to any qualified applicant who is a resident of Alabama.
  2. In addition to meeting the criteria for admission, an applicant will be classified as an "Alabama student" or a "non-Alabama student". A non-Alabama student will be required to pay the tuition charges established by the Board of Trustees.
  3. In determining residence, the Institute may consider such matters as voter registration, driver’s license, automobile registration, location of bank accounts, rent receipts or any other relevant evidence that tends to show the intent to abide in a jurisdiction permanently or for an indefinite period of time.
  4. If the applicant is a minor:
    1. The applicant shall be presumed to have the same residence of the applicant’s parents or as the parent who has legal custody of the applicant, in the absence of contrary evidence.
    2. If the applicant has living parents who reside outside Alabama or if the parent who has legal custody or legal guardianship of the applicant resides outside Alabama, the applicant will be presumed to be a "non-Alabama student" in the absence of contrary evidence.
    3. If the applicant claims entitlement to be classified as an "Alabama student" because the court has appointed a guardian or legal custodian of the applicant, who is an Alabama resident, the child, guardian, or legal custodian must show proof of this to the Coordinator of Admissions.
    4. In special cases a decision may be made by the President of AIDB to allow a child to be deemed an "Alabama resident" by the act of Power of Attorney being granted to an adult who is a resident of Alabama.
  5. Any "non-Alabama students" enrolled in AIDB are required to pay tuition charges. If tuition is not paid, the student will be dismissed.
  6. If a currently enrolled student’s parents, custodial parent, or legal guardian moves out of state, the student will be required to withdraw. If the parent/guardian grants Power of Attorney to an adult who is a resident of Alabama and the President approves, the student may continue to be enrolled as long as the person granted Power of Attorney fulfills all obligations of the parent.

Age

The potential student must be in the following age range: Residential or Day Program—3 years to 21 years.

Exceptions can be made based on Alabama Code, Title 21-1-8 and Title 21-1-9 as follows:

The President of AIDB may approve the admission of a child under the age of three to ASB, ASD, and HKS upon request from the parent or guardian, and upon recommendation of the File Review Committee and/or Admissions Committee.

Upon request by the parent or guardian, a student may remain in ASB, ASD, or HKS beyond the age of 21 with approval of the President of AIDB in accordance with the AIDB Policies and Procedures Manual, Section JEA.

Sensory Impairment

The potential student must meet one of the following criteria related to the sensory disability:

  1. Alabama School for the Blind
    Visual Impairment means a functional visual impairment or etiological condition that, even with correction, adversely affects or has the potential to adversely affect a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

  2. Alabama School for the Deaf
    Hearing Impairment means a functional or etiological hearing impairment that adversely affects, or has the potential to adversely affect, a child’s educational performance. This term includes both deaf and hard-of-hearing. Children with a significant language delay will be considered on an individual basis. This could include, as examples, those children who have a past history of prolonged hearing loss secondary to chronic otitis media in the early years of life or a history of insufficient exposure to spoken language in the home environment. Other examples are children who have diagnoses of auditory neuropathy or severe auditory processing disorder.

  3. Helen Keller School of Alabama
    1. Multiple Disabilities means concomitant impairments. One of those impairments must meet the definition of a visual impairment or hearing impairment. The combination causes severe educational needs. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.
    2. Deaf-Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes severe communication and other developmental and educational needs.

All of the following criteria related to intellectual, adaptive behavior, self-help, behavioral functioning, and medical status is applicable to children seeking admission to ASB, ASD, and HKS. All areas will be considered and no single area will be used to determine whether a child meets criteria for enrollment. An extended evaluation may be needed to determine functioning levels in these areas:

Intellectual/Adaptive Behavior Functioning Level

  1. The potential student will test with an IQ of 30 or above obtained from standardized tests appropriately developed and/or modified to meet the specialized needs of children with a hearing impairment, language delay, visual impairment, physical impairment, and/or multiple disabilities.
  2. An evaluator may present appropriate developmental ages, developmental quotients, percentiles, ratio IQ’s, and/or other statistically acceptable extrapolated scores for consideration.
  3. A potential student may be considered for admission if IQ is below 30 using the above-stated techniques but the child scores 30 or higher on an adaptive behavior scale.
  4. A potential student may be considered for admission if IQ is below 30 and he/she demonstrates progress in academic, language, communication, or self-help skills during the extended evaluation period.
  5. In the event that it is not possible to determine a level of intellectual functioning due to a potential student’s inability to carry out tasks presented during intellectual and educational testing, acceptance on an extended evaluation basis may be considered.

Self Help

Self-help skills are developmental and therefore an increase of the skill will be expected as age increases. For example, a 14-year-old who has minimal self-help skills such as finger feeding may not meet overall criteria in terms of IQ or other self-help skills. The potential student must demonstrate the following self-help skills:

  1. A child must accept, chew, and swallow solid foods (ex: crackers, cooked vegetables, fruit, etc.) and be able to finger feed.

  2. Exceptions: A child will be considered for admission if there are medical reasons that the child cannot eat solid foods (i.e., cerebral palsy, structural abnormalities). A child requiring tube feeding may be considered for admission if it is required during waking hours only. A child requiring night-time tube feedings will not be admitted for dormitory placement.
    A child who otherwise meets criteria will not be excluded because of a physical inability to finger-feed.
  3. Toileting skills will not be considered as part of the criteria for young children. The youngest potential students AIDB evaluates are 30-36 months old. Children at that age with multiple disabilities should not be expected to be toilet trained.
    Children ages four and older must currently demonstrate potential for toilet scheduling by participating in the concepts being taught. (For example, a 4 year old could demonstrate toileting potential by sitting on the toilet at scheduled times. It would be expected that older children would have more advanced skills in toilet training).
  4. A child must allow a caregiver to bathe, dress, and groom him/her. The child must allow a caregiver to assist him/her in acquiring these daily living skills.

If there are physical/medical complications which may necessitate alternative methods of self-help interventions that can be incorporated into the educational/residential program, these children may be considered for admission.

Behavioral

Information relative to past and current behavior will be obtained from school records, other records, and through an interview with the parents or guardians.

  1. A potential student will not be considered for admission if the child currently exhibits seriously maladaptive behaviors which represent a danger to self and/or others and/or if the child has exhibited seriously maladaptive behaviors within the last calendar year.
  2. If undesirable or inappropriate behaviors show progress in being modified during an extended evaluation period as a result of planned intervention, particularly those disruptive behaviors that would interfere with the educational/residential endeavors of other students, a child may be considered for admission.
  3. Educational evaluations may include various formal and informal evaluations, such as standardized assessments, parent interviews, review of records, and observations.

Educational

  1. A child must currently demonstrate potential for academic learning and self-care. Potential is shown when a child participates in the concept being presented.
  2. A child must express his/her needs through communication involving natural gestures, signs, vocalizations, etc., during the evaluation period.

Medical

AIDB strives to provide routine health care for enrolled students. Emergency health care is available through AIDB's Health Center, or through the local hospital.

In order for children to be enrolled in the day or residential program, parents/guardians must give permission for AIDB to provide and/or arrange for medical intervention in emergency situations. Children will not be admitted to the AIDB campus programs (residential or day) if parents do not sign the permission for medical service form giving authority for AIDB to provide and/or arrange for emergency treatment for their child.

AIDB has an acuity scale for medical/psychological issues. Each child will be assigned an acuity after a careful file review. A child who has unmanageable medical/psychological issues will not meet admission criteria.

Due to the residential component of the program and the fact that special education law does not require an agency to provide medical care, children with significant medical problems cannot be considered for admission to the residential program. The Institute assumes a twenty-four (24) hour responsibility for its residential students, but students with significant medical problems would require attention which goes beyond the mission of the Institute and the requirements of IDEA. The File Review Committee and/or Admissions Committee, based on a comprehensive medical review, may determine that medically involved children may be admitted as day students only.

Placement

If it is determined that a child meets AIDB Policy for School Admission Criteria, the least restrictive environment (LRE) within the schools will be recommended by the File Review Committee and/or Admissions Committee, and determined by each child’s Individualized Education Plan.

The President shall be authorized to admit any child that the President determines can be beneficially served at AIDB. The President, after consultation with the appropriate staff, may waive the application of Admission Criteria if the services available at AIDB can be expected to be beneficial to the child. The terms and conditions of such an admission shall be left to the sole discretion of the President.

Change in Placement

The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will follow all state and federal laws and guidelines for recommending changes in placement. When there is a reason that a student may no longer meet admission criteria, or may no longer benefit from enrollment at AIDB, appropriate procedures will be followed and notifications will be made early in the process to AIDB’s President, Vice President, Special Education Coordinator, and the Admissions Coordinator. Possible reasons may include but not be limited to: behavior which could be dangerous to self or other students, and developing medical conditions which do not meet criteria.


(Reference: Minutes - Board of Trustees Meeting, September 17, 1999; Minutes - Board of Trustees Meeting, November 16, 2000; Minutes – Board of Trustees Meeting November 17, 2009.)


Referral to E. H. Gentry

Persons who are interested in the services provided at the E. H. Gentry Facility might make inquiries directly through the Office of the Executive Director or through any office of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). Prospective students who wish to tour the facility prior to referral may also contact the Executive Director at 1-888-774-2335. ADRS counselors and their clients may also contact the ADRS liaison counselor at E. H. Gentry to arrange for information on tours.

Referrals for admission may be made by individuals or agencies, but are most frequently made through ADRS counselors. These ADRS counselors, located throughout the State of Alabama will then determine whether the client is eligible for ADRS services. If eligible, the counselor and client would proceed with the referral. Clients referred and sponsored by the State of Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services are not required to pay tuition and fees. Clients referred by other agencies, by Vocational Rehabilitation Services from other states or by self-referral must arrange for payment of tuition and fees. A current list of tuition and fees can be obtained from the Office of the Executive Director.

Individuals referred to the E. H. Gentry Facility must submit background information for consideration by the admissions team. Assistance can be requested from ADRS or from the Gentry Facility staff if the client does not have, or has difficulty obtaining the required information.

The Referral Process

Candidates for admission to E. H. Gentry Facility must have certain informational materials submitted on their behalf. Materials required of all students for admission to the program are termed “General Required Information.” Materials that are required when available are termed “Special Required Information.” Lastly, “Preferred Information” is information that is not required but which may prove helpful in the provision of appropriate services.

General Required Information

  1. The E.H. Gentry Facility Referral Form summarizes background information.

  2. The Contract Service Request summarizes specific services requested.

  3. The DRS Medical Checklist summarizes medical status of prospective students and contains the following information:

    • General physical condition
    • Notation of any known physical problems or related limitations
    • Notation of any known emotional problems
    • List of medications and dosages
    • Record of hospitalizations
    • Notation of any prior history of problems related to alcohol or drug abuse

  4. ADRS Personal Information Form, Application, Individual Employment Plan and Case Notes, (if applicable)

Special Required Information

  1. The General Basic Medical Exam should be included in the referral materials when an existing medical condition has prompted ADRS to obtain the information.
  2. Specialist medical reports and/or psychological information are required when a client’s medical or psychological condition has dictated the gathering of additional specialist information. This information should be included in referral information sent to the admissions team. These materials include:

    • Diabetic information
    • Information related to high blood pressure
    • Information related to seizures
    • Audiological evaluations
    • Ophthalmologist reports and low vision assessments
    • Hospital notes, treatment notes and discharge summaries
    • Psychological, neurological and psychiatric evaluations

  3. A Mental Health Checklist is required in cases in which the candidate for admission is presently receiving mental health or psychological services.

  4. Adjudication Information summarizes reasons for any pending court orders, parole conditions or details regarding any felony convictions.

  5. Candidates for admission who are not sponsored by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services must document the arrangement of payment of fees for service.

Preferred Information

Preferred Information consists of information which is not required by the admissions team but which could prove beneficial in assisting staff working with admitted students in evaluation and program planning.

  1. Evaluation reports, progress reports, other school/college transcripts.

  2. Notation of special services needed such as physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological services, etc.

Admissions Criteria

Candidates for admission to E. H. Gentry Facility must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be at least 16 years of age.

  2. Must experience a sensory impairment or other handicapping condition that interferes with appropriate social or personal adjustment, education or vocational instruction or employment.

  3. Must be able to adjust socially and psychologically to the residential and/or instructional environment without exhibiting behaviors that present a threat to self or others.

  4. Must demonstrate the capacity to take care of normal bodily functions independently or must be accompanied by an aide who will assist the individual. Minimal supervision and support may be provided by the facility during a period of adjustment for recently handicapped persons.

  5. Must not present medical or psychiatric problems or needs of such a degree as to require continuous medical support and/or staff supervision that significantly impairs participation in and benefit from program services.

  6. Eligible candidates for admission:

    • Must be free from communicable diseases

    • Must have medical conditions stabilized prior to program admission (e.g., diabetes, seizures)

    • May be required to have a current therapy report of psychiatric evaluation and/or mental health evaluation if there is a history of mental illness.

  7. Must demonstrate potential to benefit from the program of services as ascertained from a variety of sources, including intelligence tests, physical examinations, adaptive behavior, personal interviews and observations.

Admissions Procedure

The admissions team of E. H. Gentry Facility meets weekly to consider candidates for admission. The admissions team includes (but is not limited to) departmental directors, case managers, nurse, student services coordinator, extended day supervisor and the OHEO psychologist. The ADRS liaison counselor presents cases to the admissions team once each week.

The admissions team will:

  1. Determine if the appropriate case materials have been received.

  2. Decide if a candidate meets admission criteria.

  3. Decide if the requested services appear appropriate and recommend if other services are needed.

  4. Determine the availability of services.

  5. Determine if E. H. Gentry Facility can best serve the needs of the candidate.

Candidates accepted for admission will be assigned an entry date by the admissions team. Every effort will be made to meet the request as presented.

The admissions team reserves the right to:

1. Request more information. 2. Request that the candidate receive other appropriate, preparatory services prior to admission. 3. Delay admission so case materials can be reviewed by E. H. Gentry’s medical consultant. 4. Request the candidate has a personal interview with staff or tour of the facility prior to admission. 5. Deny admission to candidates who do not meet admissions criteria 6. Deny admission due to felony convictions for violent or sexual crimes. Candidates admitted will be notified by letter of their entry date and other details about the program. ADRS counselors will be notified of admissions team decisions by the liaison counselor. If a candidate is refused admissions to the program, the admission team will correspond with the referring ADRS counselor explaining the rationale for the decision. Persons refused admission may request a review of and/or appeal the decision through the Executive Director of the Facility. The admissions team accepts students into one of five program components: vocational evaluation, rehabilitation and adjustment classes, employment services, assistive technology or BEP training. Students who enter vocational evaluation will be considered for placement into the other program components at a staffing held at the completion of the evaluation. The results/recommendations of the evaluation will determine eligibility. Program Termination Early termination, dismissal or discontinuation of a student’s program prior to completion may occur for the following reasons: 1. Medical problems as determined by Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Health Services personnel which interfere with program participation, or which requires medical supervision beyond the capacity of the Facility 2. Violation of Facility rules as defined in the Student Handbook. 3. Legal problems of unresolved adjudication which prevents program participation due to requirements of probation or parole, or which make student ineligible as per admissions criteria 4. Psychiatric problems which cannot be controlled through available behavior modification or medication and which interfere with program participation 5. Aggressive behavior which presents a danger to self or others 6. Failure to make progress as defined in the Individual Facility Plan and/or the ADRS Individual Plan for Employment 7. Self Termination Early termination will be reviewed in a termination staffing when circumstances warrant. Participants in the staffing may include any of the following staff members as appropriate: the executive director, departmental director, case manager, student service coordinator, liaison counselor, extended day supervisor, rehabilitation team members (instructors and/or evaluator), or Health Services personnel. The student may request a review of the early termination decision through the Executive Director. In the event of an early termination from the program, students wishing to be re-admitted to Facility programs must apply to the admissions team. In the event of medical terminations, students must provide a medical release from the treating physician prior to re-admission. Off Campus Support Services The E. H. Gentry Facility provides short-term, off campus support services in the areas of job coaching, job development, job retention, assistive technology and orientation and mobility. Because these types of services are sometimes needed quickly, the referral process has been streamlined to accommodate the needs of ADRS and the student. These referrals must be approved by the ADRS liaison counselor prior to the provision of services. The Contract Service Request, Personal Information, Individual Plan of Employment, (if applicable) must accompany all referrals for off-campus support services. Case materials for individuals who have been served by Gentry within the past three years need only include the Contract Service Request and Personal Information Form. (Revised 2-2-11) PLACEMENT If a student is determined eligible for admission to the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, educational placement within the schools of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will be recommended by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Admissions Committee, and determined by each child's Individualized Education Plan. ________________________________________ DEPARTMENT OF ADULT BLIND AND DEAF The Department of Adult Blind and Deaf of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (Sec. 21-1-15) in addition to its other powers, is authorized: 1. to maintain and develop workshops for training and employing blind and visually handicapped persons. 2. to aid the blind and visually handicapped in securing employment, in developing home industries, and in marketing their products. 3. to act as the agent or salesman of workshops or other non-profit agencies employing the blind or visually handicapped. 4. to issue a descriptive catalog of the products produced under its supervision to all state agencies, departments, etc. 5. to receive requisitions for goods and services and distribute such orders among workshops and other non-profit organizations under its supervision. ________________________________________ BLIND MADE PRODUCTS Only the Adult Blind Department of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind can certify a product or service as "blind made" (Sec. 21-1-61). And only if the manufacturer employs blind persons to an extent that constitutes no less than 75% of the direct labor, production or manufacture of such products or services (Sec. 21-1-60). The Director of Finance, the Attorney General, and the President of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind constitute the Board which will fix a fair market value for the articles produced and determine if the articles meet the reasonable requirements of state agencies, departments, etc. (Sec. 21-2-3). Those products or services which meet the reasonable requirements shall be given preference over other available products other than those produced by convicts employed by the Alabama Department of Corrections. (Sec. 21-2-2). When the blind-made products meet the requirements of any department, institute or agency supported in whole or in part by the state as to quantity or quality, state law directs that department, institution or agency purchase the blind-made product at the fair market value adopted by the board. (Sec. 21-2-2). Competitive bids are not required for purchases made by the blind when certified as blind-made. (Sec. 41-16-51(a)(6)). ________________________________________ PREFERENCE IN STATE VENDING OPERATIONS The Business Enterprise Program of the Department of Rehabilitation Services is the authorized agency for the issuance of licenses to blind persons to operate vending stands in the buildings and on the property of the state. The Adult Blind and Deaf Department of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will cooperate with the state agency in establishing vending stands which may sell newspapers, periodicals, confections, tobacco products and other articles approved by the agency. No such license will be issued for the operation of a vending stand in any building or on any property owned by any county or municipality without the approval of the county or municipality, which, if given, may be revoked at any time (Sec. 21-1-41). The licensing agency, in issuing each license for the operation of a vending stand, shall give preference to the blind residents of Alabama. Each license will be issued for an indefinite period but may be terminated by the licensing agency if it is satisfied that the stand is not being operated in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the agency (Sec. 21-1-41). ________________________________________ WORKER'S COMPENSATION FOR EYE INJURIES ________________________________________ COST OF MEDICAL SERVICES The employer is required to pay the "actual cost of attention, physical rehabilitation, medicine, medical and surgical supplies.as may be obtained by the injured employee..." (Sec. 25-5-77a). The employer may select the treating physician, but the employee may request another if he is not satisfied. If he is not satisfied with the second physician he may ask for a third. (Sec. 25-5-77a). The employee is not entitled to be treated by the physician of his choice unless he pays for the services. If the employee refuses medical or surgical treatment from the physician selected by the employer he will not be entitled to compensation. (Sec. 25-5-77b). If the employee does submit to treatment by the physician selected by the employer he must make himself available for examination at all reasonable times he is requested to do so by his employer. The employee has a right to have his own physician present during these examinations as long as he pays the cost of his physician. (Sec. 25-5-77b). Should the employee's insurance be liable for the part of the medical cost, the employer is only liable for the amount that the insurance does not cover. (Sec. 25-5-77a). ________________________________________ COST OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION The employer may require that the employee undergo vocational rehabilitation in a facility recommended by a vocational rehabilitation specialist. The employer must pay the cost of such rehabilitation. (Sec. 25-5-77c). Should the employee refuse to submit to rehabilitation as requested by his employer, he will lose compensation for each week he refuses. (Sec. 25-5-77d). If the employee is unable to return to his former employment he may request vocational rehabilitation at the employer's expense. To be entitled to such rehabilitation (in the absence of his employer's request) the employee must obtain the written opinion of his treating physician and vocational rehabilitation specialist (to be paid by the employer) that rehabilitation is in the best interests of the employee and can be "reasonably calculated to restore the employee to gainful employment". (Sec. 25-5-77c). If the employee is not able to live at his usual residence during such rehabilitation the employer shall be liable for "reasonable charges for the employee's necessary board, lodging and travel". (Sec. 25-5-77c). ________________________________________ PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY-LOSS OF SIGHT IN ONE EYE An employee is entitled to compensation amounting to 66-2/3 percent of the average weekly earnings for 124 weeks. (Sec. 25-5-57a2). The average weekly earning is determined by the director of industrial relations. (Sec. 25-5-68). Compensation may be withheld if the employee refuses to accept reasonable employment suitable to his capacity which he may be offered, unless a circuit court judge determines that his refusal is justified. Should the injured employee find employment with another employer he must notify his former employer of that fact by affidavit specifying: 1. the name of his new employer; and 2. the place of employment; and 3. the amount of wages being earned. Should he fail to provide the required information, compensation may be withheld until it is provided. The employer at the time of the injury may request the above information at any time, and if not provided may withhold compensation until it is provided. (Sec. 25-5-57a2b). ________________________________________ PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY-LOSS OF SIGHT IN BOTH EYES Loss of sight in both eyes is considered permanent total disability. Compensation for total disability is 66-2/3 percent of the average weekly earning at the time of injury. (Sec. 25-5-57a4d, Sec. 25-5-57a4a). Should the employee refuse to undergo physical or vocational rehabilitation he will not be considered totally disabled (and thus ineligible for compensation). (Sec. 25-5-57-a4d). Should the persons receiving compensation obtain employment with anyone other than the employer for whom he worked at the time of injury, he is required to furnish his former employer an affidavit to that effect specifying the same information required as if partially disabled (see above). (Sec. 25-5-57a4i). Should the person receiving permanent total disability compensation become an inmate in a public institution, compensation will cease unless: 1. he has persons "wholly dependent on him for support". (Sec. 25-5-57a4c); or, 2. he pays the cost of such institutionalization (or it is paid on his behalf). (Sec. 25-5-57a4c). Should the disabled person either recover or, through rehabilitation, be able to obtain gainful employment, benefits will cease. If his average weekly earning is less than it was at the time of injury, he will be entitled to 66-2/3 percent of the difference in earning. (Sec. 25-5-57a4h). ________________________________________ DISPUTES OVER COMPENSATION If a dispute arises between the employer and the employee with respect to the employee's entitlement to compensation or the amount of compensation to which he is entitled, the matter may be heard in the circuit court having jurisdiction. (Sec. 25-5-81a1). ________________________________________ CLAIMS AGAINST THIRD PARTIES If a third person is liable for the injury the employee may bring suit against the third person and also be compensated by workmen's compensation. For additional information see Sec. 25-5-11. An employment of the handicapped liaison group shall be established to consist of the chairman of the "Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped," the chairman of the Advising Council and the Executive Secretary in order to maintain coordination of the program. (Sec. 21-5-7). ________________________________________ TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR THE BLIND ________________________________________ PRIVILEGE LICENSE TAX EXEMPTION A blind person as defined in Sec. 40-1-1, is exempt from paying any state, county or municipal privilege license tax if: 1. he has been a continuous resident of the state for two years prior to applying for the exemption; and 2. he furnishes a vision certificate from a regularly licensed physician in the county in which he lives. The license exemption may not exceed the amount of $75.00 for state license and $75.00 for municipal license during any one year. (Sec. 40-12-330). Penalties are provided for misrepresenting eligibility. ________________________________________ SALES TAX EXEMPTION 1. "All blind vendors associated with the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) of the Department of Rehabilitation Services, are hereby exempted from paying any state, county or municipal sales or use taxes. 2. All vendors who are blind as defined by Section 1-1-3, and who are certified by the Department of Rehabilitation Services, are hereby exempted from paying any state, county or municipal sales or use taxes." (Sec. 40-23-5-(h)(i)). 3. Persons 65 years of age or older are exempt from paying sales tax on medicines prescribed by a physician and filled by a licensed pharmacist. Proof of age must be filed with the pharmacist. Such proof may be: a. The name and claim number as shown on a "Medicare" form issued by the Social Security Administration; or b. A certificate executed by any adult who has knowledge that the person is not less than 65; or c. An affidavit executed by any adult who has knowledge that the person is not less than 65. Penalties are provided for misrepresenting eligibility. (Sec. 40-23-4-(30)). ________________________________________ PROPERTY TAX A blind person is exempt from ad valorem property taxes up to a value of $12,000.00 (if the property is valued at over $12,000.00 the blind person will be liable for property tax on the value in excess of $12,000.00). (Sec. 40-9-1). Due to the passage of the Lid Bill this provision is interpreted differently in some locations. Persons seeking information should contact their local or county tax assessor. ________________________________________ DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES ________________________________________ WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICES? You may be eligible for services if you are making your home in Alabama. DHR provides assistance with Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services, Food Assistance, Child Support, Adoption, Foster Care, Family Assistance, Family Services and Child Care. DHR programs may use income as a basis to determine eligibility so one should check with their local county DHR office to determine if they are eligible. ________________________________________ WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS AN APPLICANT? 1. To make application for services. 2. To receive notice of disposition of application. 3. To have a fair hearing if application is denied or not acted on promptly. 4. To have your application acted on in compliance with applicable requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. ________________________________________ WHAT ARE MY OBLIGATIONS AS AN APPLICANT OR RECIPIENT? 1. To provide the Department of Human Resources with accurate information. 2. To cooperate in the verification of information. 3. To inform the agency when changes occur in: a. Income (of person in need of services and of the family); b. Family composition; c. Address ________________________________________ WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED BY ACTIONS OF THE COUNTY DEPARTMENT (OR ITS FAILURE TO ACT)? There are steps you can take if you are not satisfied because: your application was not acted on in 45 days; you were denied service; or your service was reduced or ended. The steps you can take include: (1) ask for a conference with someone in the County Department of Human Resources; (2) ask for an informal review of your case by the State Department; or (3) ask for a formal hearing. The State Department and County Department work under the same rules. If you want a formal hearing, your request must be in writing, must say why you are not satisfied, give the date on which the action you are not satisfied about happened, and be sent to the Department of Human Resources within 60 days after the date the action occurred. Specific information about procedures for hearings and appeal is provided when services are begun, reduced, denied or terminated, or upon request for that information. ________________________________________ RIGHT TO PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT It is the policy of the state of Alabama that the blind and the visually handicapped shall be employed in the state service (e.g. political subdivisions, schools, etc.) and all other employment supported by public funds on the same terms and conditions as the sighted, unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved. (Sec. 21-7-8). ________________________________________ NON-DRIVERS LICENSE The Department of Public Safety will provide blind residents of Alabama a non-driver identification card upon application. The non-driver card is similar to the driver's license, except the word "non-driver" appears on the face of the identification card. The identification card can be used as a credible source of identification and includes a photograph of the card holder. (Sec. 32-6-1). ________________________________________ SERVICES PROVIDED BY ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION SERVICES, CHILDREN’S REHABILITATION SERVICE PROGRAM Alabama accepts all the benefits and provisions of the act of the U.S. Congress entitled "an act to provide for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation of persons disabled in industry or otherwise and their return to civil employment" (29 U.S.C., Sections 31-41). Funds received, whether state or federal, are to be used by the Department to further the efforts of the National Social Security Act in strengthening its program of vocational rehabilitation of physically disabled persons, and to provide physical restoration when necessary. (Sec. 16-38-2). The purpose of the Children’s Rehabilitation Services program is to further the efforts of the Department for locating disabled children and for providing medical, surgical, corrective, and other services, care and treatment facilities for diagnosis, hospitalization and aftercare for children. ALABAMA PUBLIC LIBRARY SERVICE DIVISION FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED ________________________________________ POLICY STATEMENT The Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Alabama Public Library Service is a part of a national and international network of libraries serving eligible patrons. This network begins with the Library of Congress, National Library Service, and extends into each state through a system of regional and sub-regional libraries located throughout the designated service area. Eligible patrons are defined by the Library of Congress, National Library Service, as: 1. The following persons are eligible for loan service: a. Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees. b. Other physically handicapped persons as follows: i. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material. ii. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations. iii. Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner. 2. In cases of blindness, visual disability, or physical limitations, "competent authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress. 3. In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines. 4. Qualified readers must be residents of the United States, including the several states, territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia, or American citizens domiciled abroad. This Division reserves the right to deny service if: an applicant fails to qualify under Library of Congress, National Library Service regulations; a patron abuses the service available to him through intent or neglect; or there is dissatisfaction of the service rendered the patron which in irreconcilable. Any denial of service will be documented for use by the Library of Congress, National Library Service, in the event of appeal by the patron. This division is responsible for the administration of library service and policy for the blind and physically handicapped in Alabama, subject to the administration and policy of the Alabama Public Library Service and its Executive Board. This division will strive to meet the Standards for Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped as set forth by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Libraries Division of the American Library Association. An advisory body will interpret the positions of the users and the providers of the library services for the blind and physically handicapped to this division. The Consumer Advisory Committee for the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Alabama Public Library Service shall consist of providers of service to and representatives of organizations of the blind, visually handicapped, and physically handicapped. Meetings shall be held three times a year. Input from these two advisory bodies shall be considered by the division in planning for the development of library services under its jurisdiction. All talking book machines, accessories, talking books and Braille books are provided by the Library of Congress, National Library Service, to this division and are the property of the United States government. This division is accountable to the Library of Congress, National Library Service, for this property. Every effort will be made by this division to maintain written and/or computerized records of its disposition and maintenance. All machines, equipment and books purchased by the Alabama Public Library Service for use through this division will be accorded similar treatment. Talking book machines may be placed in libraries or state agencies for demonstration purposes only. These machines may not be distributed to patrons except at the direction of the division or the sub-regional libraries. Sub-regional libraries are subject to the rules and regulations of the Library of Congress, National Library Service, as administered by the division. Services rendered by the sub-regional libraries should be compatible with the division and under the jurisdiction of the division. The conference room of the division is for use by the state agency. It may be utilized by organizations of the blind and physically handicapped or those working with the blind and physically handicapped at the convenience of the agency during regular working hours. ________________________________________ RESOLUTIONS 78-B Whereas, on June 8, 1976 a group of appointed blind people and others designated as a "Committee on Library Development" met at the Regional Library for the Blind in Talladega, to study the feasibility of removing the responsibility of rendering library services from the Department of Adult Blind and Deaf, and making said responsibility a service of the Alabama Public Library Service; and Whereas, the group voted to make this change; and Whereas, the Alabama Public Library Service has now constructed a building, employed a staff of professional library personnel, and is rendering satisfactory services to the blind and physically handicapped of Alabama; Therefore, be it resolved by the Alumni and Workers Association Inc., of the Alabama School for the Blind, in convention at Talladega, on May 27, 1978, that Section 1-A of the Bob Mallas recommendations pertaining to library service for the blind shall be implemented. Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to Dr. Wayne Teague, Mr. Anthony Meile, and released to the news media. ________________________________________ REQUEST FOR THE TRANSFER OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR STATEWIDE LIBRARY SERVICE FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED FROM THE SPECIAL TECHNICAL FACILITY, DEPARTMENT OF THE ADULT BLIND AND DEAF TO THE ALABAMA PUBLIC LIBRARY SERVICE, September 30, 1976 By mutual agreement, the Special Technical Facility, Department of the Adult Blind and Deaf, and the Alabama Public Library Service respectfully request the Governor of the State of Alabama to transfer the responsibility of statewide library service for the blind and physically handicapped from the Special Technical Facility, Department of the Adult Blind and Deaf, to the Alabama Public Library Service effective October 1, 1977. Both state agencies believe that the Alabama Public Library Service, in carrying out its responsibility for total public library service for the citizens of the state, can best meet the reading needs of the blind and physically handicapped. The regional library will be a separate but equal department of the public library agency. Talladega will then become a sub-regional library serving the blind and physically handicapped of the special institutions in Talladega County. This transfer is contingent upon the Alabama Public Library Service being assured that funds will be available for a facility, special equipment and annual operating expenses. OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ________________________________________ USE OF GUIDE DOGS A guide dog who is leading a blind person must be wearing a harness, and the blind person must be able to present "credentials issued by an accredited school for training guide dogs." Any person who refuses a blind person with a dog guide admittance to a public building shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $50.00. (Sec. 3-1-7). 1. A blind person may be accompanied by an especially trained guide dog on airplanes, trains, buses or other public conveyances without having to pay additional fare for the dog. (Sec. 21-7-4). 2. A blind person may also be accompanied by an especially trained guide dog in any hotel, lodging place, "any places of public accommodation, amusement or resort and other places to which the general public is invited..." without paying any additional charge for the dog. (Sec. 21-7-4). 3. It is unlawful to refuse to permit a guide dog to accompany a blind person in any "place of public accommodation, amusement or resort..." if the dog is wearing a harness and the blind person presents "credentials issued by an accredited school for training dog guides." (Sec. 3-1-7). ________________________________________ BLIND PEDESTRIANS RIGHT OF WAY 1. Drivers shall yield the right of way to blind pedestrians carrying a "clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog." (Sec. 32-5A-220). 2. Drivers are required to "take all necessary precautions" to avoid injury to blind pedestrians they approach "carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or using a guide dog..." (Sec. 21-7-6). ________________________________________ WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY "Each year, the governor shall take suitable public notice of October 15 as White Cane Safety Day" to remind the general public of its responsibility to the blind and otherwise handicapped persons. (Sec. 21-7-10). ________________________________________ BUILDING ACCESSIBILITY The state fire marshal is required to prescribe standards for public buildings to make them accessible to blind persons. These specifications are to include audible warning devices to warn blind persons of danger. (Sec. 21-4-3). The specifications are to be adhered to in constructing buildings to be used by the public if the construction is financed in whole or part by state municipal funds. (Sec. 2-4-4). The state fire marshal is authorized to inspect buildings and to order compliance with the standards prescribed. (Sec. 21-4-7). ________________________________________ ASSISTANCE IN VOTING A person who is visually impaired may receive help in applying for an absentee ballot and/or in the actual process of voting either in person or by absentee ballot. A person needing assistance may ask any one of his or her choice, except the voter's employer or agent of the employer or an officer or agent of the voter's union. If a voter does not request a specific individual to aid him/her, an election official may assist the voter. To obtain assistance, the voter must sign on the poll list in the column requesting assistance. The person assisting the voter is also required to sign the poll list. ________________________________________ IF YOU ARE A REGISTERED VOTER, YOU MAY VOTE ABSENTEE IF: 1. you will be out of the county on elections day; 2. you are ill or have a physical disability which prevents you from going to the polls, or 3. you are a member of the armed forces, are employed outside the U.S., are away at college, or are the spouse or child of such person. ________________________________________ WHEN TO APPLY FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT The Absentee Election Managers of the 67 Alabama counties will begin accepting applications for absentee voting for the primary and general elections 60 days before each election, and will continue to accept applications until 5 days prior to that election. Since a voter is entitled to vote only in one political party's primary election, a voter must designate in which party's primary he chooses to vote when making an application to vote in primary elections. ________________________________________ HOW AND WHEN TO RETURN ABSENTEE BALLOTS Completed application for absentee ballots and voted ballots must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by the voter in person or by U.S. mail. Absentee ballots must be received by the Absentee Election Manager by noon on election day. ________________________________________ PROMOTING PUBLIC AWARENESS "The Governor shall take suitable public notice of October 15, as White Cane Safety Day..." He is also to issue a proclamation explaining the significance of the white cane, and explain the need for the public to be aware of the needs of the blind. (Sec. 21-7-10). The Governor shall also designate the first full week in October each year as "Employment of the Handicapped Week." (Sec. 21-5-2). ________________________________________ EXECUTION OF WILLS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS 1. 1. A blind person may execute his will by directing that his name be signed by another person. This person may also be one of the subscribing witnesses. (Sec. 43-9-131: Riley v. Riley, AL 496 (1860). 2. 2. In conveying land, a blind person's name may be signed at his direction and witnessed by two persons (Sec. 35-4-20) ________________________________________ DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE CHARGE EXEMPTION A blind person will not be charged for local directory assistance calls; however, proof of blindness is required. For further information contact your local telephone company. ________________________________________ ALABAMA STATE PARKS SERVICE The Alabama State Parks Service offers handicapped persons, including the blind, special discounts on all of its parks. For details about the discounts available in each park call toll free 1-800-ALA-PARK (1-800-252-7275). ________________________________________ SERVICES TO OLDER ALABAMIANS INCLUDING THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED The Alabama Department of Senior Services, a department of Alabama State Government, administers a statewide senior citizens services program which is conducted by local organizations. Alabama is divided into 13 aging, planning, and service areas known as Area Agencies on Aging. All citizens of Alabama are invited and encouraged to participate in the various opportunities afforded by the Area Agencies on Aging without regard to any personal impairments or limitations which might exist. The eligibility criteria for most programs is that the recipient be age 60 or older or be the spouse of an individual age 60 or older. There is currently no means test for most services provided through Area Agencies on Aging. The array of services available in each locality will vary considerably, but all Area Agencies on Aging serve as a focal point for advocacy and services to older Alabamians. To determine which services might be appropriate for blind and visually impaired older persons, please call the Area Agency on Aging listed in the local telephone directory. For specific directions call the Alabama Department of Senior Services Hotline, 1-800-AGELINE (243-5463). ________________________________________ SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES In Alabama special education services are provided to students, ages 3-21, based on 13 exceptionality areas. These areas of exceptionality are defined in the Alabama Administrative Code, Special Program I, Chapter 290-080-090. The definitions of Deaf-Blind and Visually Impaired are cited as follows: ________________________________________ DEAF-BLIND Deaf-Blind means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for deaf or blind children. ________________________________________ VISUALLY IMPAIRED Visually Impaired means a visual impairment which, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term includes both partially-seeing and blind. ________________________________________ SPECIAL SERVICES Services related to the instruction of the visually impaired including, but not limited to: orientation and mobility, braillist services and materials, typists and readers for the blind and other special materials and equipment are legally mandated. (Sec. 16-39-2). ________________________________________ TEXTBOOKS, EQUIPMENT, ETC., FOR VISION The state superintendent of education is authorized to purchase and arrange for distribution among school boards previously adopted textbooks, equipment and materials which are prepared in various resource and media centers for the use of vision impaired children enrolled in the public schools in Alabama or whose tuition and expenses at other schools are being paid by a school board under the provisions of this chapter. (Sec. 16-39-10). Further information on procedural and eligibility issues can be obtained from the Division of Special Education Services, 50 North Ripley Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36130-3901. ________________________________________

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Alabama Chapter