This center covers Houston, Barbour, Henry, Dale, Coffee, Geneva and Covington Counties. Most of our services are free to residents of Alabama who have a diagnosed vision or hearing loss of at least 25%, and for children with a diagnosed developmental delay.
The earlier children learn, the better. Some experts estimate that up to 20% of the skills learned in a lifetime are learned in the first five years. That's why we place so much emphasis on helping families, and encourage families to come forward with their concerns as early as possible.
The most important issue is the acquisition of language. Without language skills, we are isolated, cut off from the rest of the world. Language is the key. And, just as for sighted and hearing children, the early acquisition of language skills typically means a higher level of comprehension.
Everyone around your child can be a teacher. Brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, caretakers. Infants and toddlers will soak up language and information from every source. Regional Center staff members can show you how to make this happen. It may take more time, more creativity to communicate with a child who is blind or deaf, but the rewards of making that effort are incalculable.
Parent Infant Preschool Program -- PIP
This program was established in 1980 to help families adjust to their child's needs without accepting limitations. We work closely with medical professionals to spot problems sooner, because the earlier we can offer support to the family, the easier it is to adapt.
Adjusting to family life with a child born deaf or with a visual impairment is the first step.Regional Center staff members will come to your house and explain which expectations are realistic and which are not. Home visits provide families with support and encouragement during these critical early days.
Our staff will also help train parents and family members to be effective teachers and advocates, and introduce you to community services offering specialized programs. For children under three, Regional Center services focus on the home and family.
It is our goal to stimulate the child's language development and enrich the world around them, so they are prepared to reach their full potential by the time they enroll in school full time. Some children may take advantage of residential programs at Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, while others may attend their local school systems, but all are ready to meet the challenges ahead.
AIDB staff work closely with other agencies, including the state Department of Rehabilitation Services, to comply with federal regulations. Federal law provides for special assistance for children from birth through age two (Part C) and children aged three to five (Part B).
For children and families, we offer the following services:
- Early intervention service coordination
- Referrals for services such as assistive technology, audiology, counseling, healthcare, nutrition, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, social work, special instruction, speech/language pathology, transportation and vision services
- Evaluation and ongoing assessment of child
- Parent Infant Preschool home training in skills and techniques appropriate to child's sensory needs
- Technical assistance for community agencies such as daycare centers and preschools.
- Parents of Visually Impaired support group and referrals to other support groups
- Interpreter services
- American Sign Language classes for families
- Participation in Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)/Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings for developing child and family goals
The Dothan Regional Center offers a variety of services for our clients. We serve as a primary source for referrals to all kinds of resources in the area for people who are deaf and blind. We can tell you everything from where to find a special piece of adaptive equipment to how to get special transportation to the store or the doctor.
Interpreter services for deaf people are an important part of our program. AIDB interpreters can be found in the business world, the healthcare field, in courts, churches, schools and clubs.
We offer braille services translating important documents into braille for our clients or providing area businesses with braille translations of their literature or restaurant menus. We also make presentations to students, businesses, educators, civic and community groups. This makes issues facing our clients easier to understand, and forges stronger ties to the rest of the world.
As we age, many of us experience a loss of vision or hearing; adjusting to these changes can be difficult unless we're aware of the many resources our community offers to help. Making connections between our older clients and these resources is an important part of our services.
Services we offer to deaf/hard of hearing adult and senior clients include:
- Personal and Family Counseling
- Adjustment counseling to hearing loss
- Employer/Job related counseling
- Referral to support groups
- Assess needs for assistive devices (Notification devices, Telecommunications equipment and Assistive Listening Devices)
- Sponsor local Deaf Awareness Day
- Education about hearing loss and prevention
- Telecommunication equipment training to various agencies and businesses
- Consultation with students, parents, and school personnel
- Information regarding funding for assistive devices
- Demonstration and training of assistive devices
- Product information and catalogs
- Referrals to agencies to assist with needs
- Advocacy for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the community
- Alabama Telecommunication Access Program (ATAP) distributor
- Referral to hearing aid project for low income clients
- In-services regarding hearing loss, deafness, assistive devices provided to teachers, schools, businesses, etc.
- Information on Americans with Disabilities Act
- Resource library on issues related to Deafness and Hearing Loss
- Information on different communication options
Services for blind/visually impaired clients include:
- Daily Living Skills training
- Personal counseling
- Advice on modification of home and workplace to reduce barriers
- Catalogs for equipment and independent living aids
- Sighted Guide training
- Coordinates services with local Rehabilitation Teacher and Counselor
- Consultation with students, parents, and school personnel
- In-service training regarding vision loss, assistive devices provided to teachers, schools, businesses, etc.
- Classroom presentations on Helen Keller and blindness
- "Introduction to Braille" classes for those involved with the blind, such as parents, relatives or friends
- Assistive Technology Lab at Dothan Regional Center for use by visually impaired clients
- Magnifiers and low vision aid assessments
- Demonstrations and training for a wide range of assistive technology, including computer programs for magnification and screen reading, CCTV's, magnifiers, personal aids (ex. talking scale), aids for independent living (ex. talking caller ID or talking clocks)
- Presentations to community groups and agencies
- Advocate for the blind and visually impaired in the community
- Assist visually impaired individuals in developing personal activities that meet their social and recreational needs
- Occasional recreational outing (such as trip to the beach)
- Provide information and referral for clients, individuals and community agencies and organizations
Become an Ambassador.
Over the years, we have reached out to literally hundreds of people. While our services are free, they often make an invaluable contribution to the quality of life. In appreciation, many families ask what they can do to help.
There is a place for you to make a contribution of your time and energy. Other families who may be in the same situation you were years ago can use your informal support and encouragement. If you have special skills in ASL or braille, you can help other clients. Or you can help us by talking to other people about sensory impairment and what we do at AIDB. We call these volunteers "Ambassadors," because they go out into the world as living proof of our focus on abilities. To become an Ambassador, call us. It's one way to return the gifts others have given you.
How can we help you? Click here to email us. Or contact us at:
Jenny Savage, Director
Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Dothan Regional Center
111 Medical Drive
Dothan, AL 36303
(334) 245-9331 (Video Phone)