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In the early 1990's, interested people around the state began a concerted effort to improve services for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In 1994, AAWA began operations as the Tuscaloosa Mental Retardation Authority, a public not for profit organizations authorized under Act 310 of the Alabama Legislature. The agency was established in response to the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation's efforts to improve community based services to individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Tuscaloosa area. Responsibilities included planning, coordination and monitoring of community based services. In 2003, the agency assumed responsibility for these services for Bibb and Pickens County. In 2004, the agency changed its name to Ability Alliance of West Alabama. This name changed occurred as a result of the request by individuals served to remove the offensive term mental retardation from our name.