• Boston Abilities Expo
    September 16 - 18, 2016
    The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall C
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

FREE workshops!

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today!

Take advantage of Free Workshops that focus on everything from tips for traveling with a disability and the accessible homes to how you can get the best accessible vehicle. Discover how both dogs and monkeys help people be more independent. Parents – take a break and enjoy two great sessions for parents of kids with special needs – both filled with laughs and ideas for thriving, not just surviving, as the parent of a child with special needs. Plus there’s information about assistive devices, clinical trials, and emergency preparedness.

Workshops are FREE! All attendees are welcome – you don’t need to register or sign up in advance. Just arrive early to the workshop to make sure you can get a seat!

There is so much more happening at Abilities Expo! Be sure to check out the FREE Events for demonstrations of adaptive sports, dancing, assistance dogs, horse therapy – and more. Most events include time for attendees to participate!


  • Certificates of participation are available for all workshops. Please see the Accessibility Help Desk following each workshop for your certificate. (Please note there are no CEU approved courses at this year’s Abilities Expo).

* Please note dates and times of workshops are subject to change without notice. Abilities Expo is not responsible for the materials or opinions of the speakers.

Here's what we did in 2015. Stay tuned for more information on 2016.

Friday, September 18, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

Adaptive Recreation and Sports: Feeding Your Mind, Body and Soul

Presented by: Kathleen Comfort Salas, PT, MHA, Coordinator, Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers, North Shore

Location: Workshop Area


For nearly fifteen years, Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers has enabled individuals of all abilities to lead active, healthy lifestyles through participation in adaptive sports and recreation. In this session you will learn about the physical and emotional benefits of being actively engaged in recreation, sport and the community that develops around them. Whether it is wheelchair tennis, hand cycling, adaptive rowing, or windsurfing, those living with disabilities after illness or injury can rebuild their strength and sense of independence while they increase body awareness, build self-confidence, learn new life skills, and even make new friends. Learn more at www.spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/adaptive-sports.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Exoskeleton Technology: A Step For Healthy Living

Andy Dolan, Senior Global Product Manager, ReWalk Robotics

Location: Workshop Area


Whether we were born with a mobility impairment condition or face one later in life, the diagnosis is often the same: You will live your life with impaired mobility and/or rely on a wheelchair full time. Exoskeleton technology has come a long way to assist in altering this diagnosis to allow individuals to live a life upright, more mobile, and gain health benefits all in one! Join us to learn about the past, present, and future of exoskeleton technology, and most importantly, the profound effect it has had on the lives of individuals with spinal cord injury. See the ReWalk in action, and hear about how this technology.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Presented by: Jay Gupta, RPh, Sleep Expert, Medication Management Specialist and Yoga Therapist

Location: Workshop Area

Getting Sleep

This session will explore sleep, its significance for our health, and some steps you can take to improve it. Learn the fundamental reasons of why we sleep, and exactly what happens during sleep. And of course – what about when we cannot sleep. The presenter will examine these key facets of sleep with special emphasis on the relationship between stress, sleep and memory. The presenter will discuss sleep medications and herbal remedies – do they work, which ones are best and how long can you take them? Plus you'll gain helpful tips and techniques for sleeping better naturally. Learn more at www.YogaCaps.org and www.RxRelax.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Let's Get Real! People with Disabilities are Sexual Beings!

Presented by: Melissa Keyes DiGioia,CSE Cofounder & Director of Education of Finding Your Individuality & Tracy A. Higgins, MA, LPC; Co-Founder & Director of Counseling

Location: Workshop Area

Regain that Feeling

Despite cultural stereotypes, people with disabilities are sexual beings with a wide array of needs, desires, and concerns. Join us in this interactive session as we feature the Circles of Sexuality, a holistic model to understanding sexuality. Utilizing the model, we will discuss facets of sexuality that can often be overlooked such as dating, going for a sexual health visit, masturbation, practicing safer sex, and sexual orientation. We will also communicate about the importance of access to sexuality education for one's sexual health.  Learn more about our services by visiting www.findingyourindividuality.org

* Please note this workshop is for attendees 18 and older, and contains material that is appropriate for adults only.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Presented by: Brian Harper, BraunAbility

Family with adaptive van

Does the process of purchasing adaptive equipment for a vehicle leave you feeling challenged and frustrated? Consumers and related healthcare professionals alike are invited to join us to learn the tips to successfully navigating the purchase of vans and accessible modifications. This workshop will cover such topics as what solutions are available and where to find them, key terminology, the shopping and evaluation process, funding options and much more. Following the session attendees are invited for a hands-on van demo at BraunAbility's Booth #401. Learn more at www.nmeda.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Medical Marijuana: Benefits and Legalization

Presented by: Felicia Carbajal and Andrew Kuebbing, Co-Founders, California Cannabis Advocates

Location: Workshop Area

Marijuana legalization

The last decade has brought incredible progress to the science of cannabis medicine. There are now a myriad of options besides inhalation for almost any condition, including dosed liquid extracts, edible oils, medicated foodstuffs, patches, tablets, lozenges, and more!  Discover what research is telling us about the positive medicinal impacts of therapeutic cannabis for people on the Autism spectrum and with other types of disabilities, including spinal cord injury (SCI), multiple sclerosis (MS) and more. With the advent of inexpensive potency testing for cannabis, you can now be confident of your dosing, as well as titrating the amounts of THC and CBD and changing your ratio (for pain vs inflammation).  Also learn how to use cannabis topically with salves, balms, and creams. Learn more at www.californiacannabisadvocates.com and www.facebook.com/CACannAdvs.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Six Reasons to Consider Intensive PT for Children and Young Adults

Presented by: Melissa McGinnis, PT, MPT, Senior Pediatric Intensive PT, Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT

Location: Workshop Area

Intensive PT

Intensive Pediatric PT has transformed the way we look at therapy for children and young adults with gross motor disorders (i.e., Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Down Syndrome, and other non-progressive neuromuscular disorders). In this presentation, consideration is given to the top 6 situations in which a child will most benefit from this emerging therapy, such as before or after certain surgeries, spasticity procedures, or when the child is on the verge of learning a new life skill that will lead to more independence and self-esteem. This presentation will also provide definitions and video of European-inspired Intensive Pediatric PT, and highlight benefits beyond physical that are based on increased activity levels. The speaker is a licensed PT who has specialized in this progressive pediatric therapy for over ten years. Learn more at www.europeds.org.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Wheelchair Travel: You Can Do It!

Presented by: Kristy Lacroix, Owner/Agent, ACC, MCC, ECC, CTA, DS LS SNG Certified, Certified Accessible Travel Specialist, Wheelchair Escapes

Location: Workshop Area

Travel with a Wheelchair

Discover many of the secrets you need to travel well as a wheelchair user! The presenter will teach you how to arrange the key logistical items needed for a comfortable trip including: traveling safely with your wheelchair, how to board a plane when you cannot walk, arranging accessible transportation for all parts of your trip, and how to ensure your special needs equipment is ready and waiting for you at your destination. She'll also share the "in's" and "out's" of accessible cruising and provide tips for choosing the best cruise for you. There are many great vacations out there that are wonderful for the wheelchair user and family members/caregivers. You'll leave this session full of ideas for planning an incredible trip for you and those who travel with you! Learn more at www.wheelchairescapes.com.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Evermind LogoCaregiver Day at Abilities Expo

The following workshops are presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and are geared for the loved ones who give so much.

11:45am – 12:45pm

Coaching for Caregivers: How to Reach Out Before You Burn Out

Presented by: Yosaif August ACC

Location: Workshop Area

Caregiver Day

This presentation will outline the concepts around reaching in, reaching out and provide practical tools and resources for caregivers.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Meditation and Yoga Capsules Seminar

Presented by: Jay Gupta RPh, MScIM, MTM, RxYT and Terry Gupta MSW, RxYT, RMT

Location: Workshop Area

This workshop will demonstrate several key concepts around meditation and yoga that will help caregivers rejuvenate their mind and body. No special clothing or flexibility level is required for this workshop.

2:30pm – 3:45pm

Care for the Caregiver: When You Can't Stop the Waves Learn How to Sail

Presented by: Regina Rosenthal PT, MA

Location: Workshop Area

Care for the Caregiver

Discover several concepts that will teach caregivers self-care practices around remaining healthy and resilient themselves as they assist a loved one with their caregiving needs.

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