The Talladega Regional Center serves residents of Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Etowah, Randolph, Talladega and St. Clair counties. Most of our services are free to those with a diagnosed loss of vision or hearing. The center was re-opened April 2003. We are located in a newly renovated Victorian house which dates back to the turn of the last century, at 412 Cherry Street in Talladega.
The loss of hearing and/or vision can occur at any age, from birth right through the senior years. At the Talladega Regional Center, we can help families adjust, and show people how it's possible to make sure hearing or vision loss doesn't reduce the enjoyment of a rich, full life. From little things like reading the mail to bigger issues like learning language skills, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind can help.
Eastern Alabama has many resources useful to people who are deaf or blind, including a number of facilities on the five AIDB campuses in Talladega.& nbsp; At the Talladega Regional Center, we primarily serve as a referral service to help our clients find the resources they need. Soon we will be adding an assistive technology lab, where clients can come and try out different devices which help them adapt to a loss of vision or hearing. We will also be adding additional case managers, so check back with us often to see what's new.
Serving Children in Eastern Alabama.
Early recognition of vision and/or hearing problems is crucial to normal development for children. Up to 80% of what we learn in the first few years of life is usually gained through vision; the acquisition of language skills must begin in the first months after birth or neural pathways in the brain disappear. There are ways to compensate for vision or hearing loss so that children don't miss any of this critical early input.
AIDB began providing services for infants born with sensory loss and their families in the 1980s. Now, a program created by the State of Alabama called "Child Find" helps doctors, nurses and family members identify children at risk statewide because of blindness, deafness or other issues
Infants and toddlers will soak up language and information from every source. Everyone around your child can be a teacher -- brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, caretakers. 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.
The goal of our Regional Centers is 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 vision loss is the first step. Regional Center staff members will come to your home and explain which expectations are realistic and which are not. Home visits provide families with support and encouragement during the early days after a diagnosis is made.
Our staff will also help train parents and family members to be effective teachers and advocates, and introduce you to community resources offering specialized programs. For children under three, Regional Center services focus on the home and family.
Children three to five years old benefit from our specialized preschool programs at Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf and Helen Keller School. In these classes, low student:teacher ratios and a uniquely qualified staff stimulate the children's language development and enrich the world around them, so they are all prepared to reach their full potential by the time they enroll in school full time. Some children may take advantage of the residential programs at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, while others may attend their local school systems, but all are ready to meet the challenges ahead.
The staff at the Talladega Regional Center works 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
- Parent Infant Preschool home training in skills appropriate to child's sensory needs
- Evaluation and ongoing assessment of blind and/or deaf children
- Participation in Individual Family Service Plan(IFSP)/Individual Education Plan (IEP)meetings for developing child and family goals
- Information about disabilities
- Information about general child development and management
- Technical assistance for community agencies such as daycare centers and preschools
- Referral or transition to other services or programs
- Resource lending library
- Resource for projects, reports and papers from elementary through high school students
- American Sign Language classes for families as needed
Adult and Senior Services
Because we have been serving people who are deaf or blind in this area since 1858, we are thoroughly familiar with the resources available to our clients. Resources in our area include programs offered at the E.H. Gentry Technical Facility for adults who have recently lost their sight or hearing and need to relearn basic skills for use at home or at work. The Elderaction program offered through AIDB's Department of Health and Clinical Services provides older people with access to screenings and other services.
The Talladega Regional Center also provides a meeting place for local clubs and associations which serve the needs and interests of people who are blind or deaf.
Services we offer to adults and seniors include:
- Information and referral services
- Technical assistance to community agencies and schools
- Community education/public speakers
- Adaptive technology information and referrals
- Sign language classes
- ASL interpreters
- Home visits
- Alabama Telecommunication Access Program(ATAP)
- Referrals to agencies to assist with needs
- Non-clinical counseling
- Consumer advocacy
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. You can make a gift of your time and energy. You have already been through the issues and stages many families we serve are now facing. They 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 loss 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:
Patrick Robinson, Director
AIDB Talladega Regional Center
412 Cherry Street
Talladega, AL 35160
(256) 761-3693 (fax)
(256) 761-3370 (voice/TTY)