• Chicago Abilities Expo
    June 12 - 14, 2015
    Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Free Workshops

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today

CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services will be available at all of the workshops.

Take advantage of Free Workshops that focus on everything from tips for traveling with a disability and home modifications to the steps to getting the best accessible vehicle. See a sneak peek of an upcoming episode from Season 2 of “Push Girls.” Find out how standing is benefitting people with spinal cord injuries. Pick up some tips for dating and intimacy at the “Creating Healthy Relationships” workshop. Newly disabled? Be sure to check out the discussion session “Life After A Serious Injury.”

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!

Did you know there’s more than the Workshops 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 2014. Stay tuned for 2015!

Friday, June 27, 2014

11:45am – 12:45pm

Great Expectations: The Journey of Modifying A Home for Accessibility – A Client's Perspective

Presented by Christin Falco, Director of Marketing, Access

Modifying a Home for Accessibility

This workshop will focus on the unique personal stories of several individuals who have had different types of modifications to their homes for accessibility purposes. The presenter will discuss why they needed their home modification and the type of equipment utilized including these accessibility solutions: ramps, stairway chairlifts, vertical lifts, ceiling mounted lifts, track systems, bathroom modifications, residential elevators, vehicle lifts, and more. The presenter will also address the scope of the particular modifications from small scale for a single piece of equipment to large scale for room additions or multiple modifications and different types, as well as the utilization of funding resources, if applicable. Finally, learn how the individuals selected their accessibility construction expert and the overall individual experience of the actual user of the modification and the peaks and valleys of their journey! This workshop includes first-person perspective from several individuals about their home modification experiences. Learn more at allaboutaccess.net.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessibility Features of Smartphones Uncovered

Presented by Ben Lippincott, Project Director, Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center

Accessible feature of Smart Phones

Uncover the wide range of accessibility features found in your mobile device! Learn how you can use your wireless device more effectively. The presenter will share with you the powerful accessibility features already built into three popular smartphone operating systems (iOS – Apple, Androis and Windows Phone 8). Discover how to tailor these features to your specific needs. The presenters will address access for all types of disabilities. This workshop includes question and answer period to trouble-shoot specific issues you may have with your device. Each attendee will receive a list of accessibility smartphone apps as well as information to improve you searches for these apps.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Enjoy the Journey: Travel Tips & Tricks

Presented by Julie-Anne Braun, Award-winning Author, Speaker and Owner of Inspired by Change, LLC

Whether it's a weekend trip, or the vacation of a lifetime, don’t miss out on the fun! With the right resources and preparation, you can see the family, or see the world. This session, will cover the three stages of any trip - the journey itself, accommodations, and sightseeing. We will talk about the challenges of each component, and offer tips for overcoming these challenges. Know that travel is possible despite disabilities. Understand the components of a trip and the importance of each one. And finally, gain the resources to research and book travel for yourself or family members. The workshops includes tips on destination selection, some of the presenters personal experiences, and handouts with resource websites. Learn more at inspiredbychange.net and at Facebook.com/Inspiredbychange1.

A one-hour book signing with Julie-Anne follows there workshop (3:45pm to 4:45pm). For more details click here.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Service Dogs 101: The Basics on Bringing a Dog into Your Life

Service Dogs 101.

Prented by Kristin Hartness, Executive Director, Canines for Disabled Kids

Have you considered getting a service dog for you or a loved one? Not sure of the process or if a service dog can assist you? Did the ADA Amendments Act change the definition of a legal service dog? At this session you'll find the answers to those questions and more. Learn the legal definition of a service dog, the wide range of skills they can be trained to provide to people with disabilities, where you can obtain a dog, how to select a training program, along with a solid understanding of what to expect from a service dog team working in public places. Limitations of service dogs will also be discussed along with other consideration to be aware of, especially related to schools. The session is presented by an organization focused on public awareness and education about service dogs. A brief demonstration of skills will be shared if time allows. Learn more at caninesforkids.org.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

11:45am – 12:45pm

Doing Home Modifications the Right Way: A Functional Based Approach

Presented by Rob Horkheimer, MPT, CEAC, CAPS, ECHM, Physical Therapist, Accessibility Consultant, Bridgeway Independent Living Designs (BILD)

Doing Home Modifications the Right Way

This workshop is an introduction to individualized modifications to make your home more accessible, safe, functional and beautiful. In this workshop the presenter will explore the difference between commercial ADA codes and modifying your home to meet your individualized needs. He will help you formulate a proper decision making method for determining what will be the best and most effective strategies for home adaptations. Finally this workshop will explore specific options for modifications that address: accessible home entry, safe stair management, bathroom accessibility, and transfer management. Those who have already made modifications know that there are many options and the small details can make a big difference. Learn about the best approach and the many options before starting your accessibility project. Discover more at bildnow.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6 Reasons to Consider Intensive Physical Therapy (PT) for Children and Young Adults with Gross Motor Disorders

Physicial Therapy for Children

Presented by Michelle Saunders Haney, PT, MSPT, Director, Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric 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 europeds.org.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Young, Hip and Disabled: College, Work and More

Presented by Stevie Hopkins, Co-Founder/Annie's Brother, Director of Awesome, 3E Love

Disabilities at college.

Now that you've finished high school, you're ready to venture out on your own. There's a lot of excitement about these changes but also a lot of challenges too. Hiring and firing PA's, living on your own, dating and relationships, and getting a job. Stevie Hopkins, co-founder of 3E Love, will share his thoughts on making the jump to life after school. Stevie is a serial entrepreneur. After many ventures he found his life's work in 3E Love, his sister Annie's dream. Calling on his experiences in the financial industry, music business, and web startups, Stevie was able to turned the dream into a reality. The experiences he has had traveling thousands of miles, meeting people all over the country and speaking to groups telling his story, has changed his life forever. Learn more at 3elove.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

The Parent's Journey: Ideas for Celebrating Life with Your Child

Presented by Karen Kain, Author, Abilities Expo Parent Ambassador

Karen Kain on Celebrating Life with your Child

Karen Kain's daughter Lorrin was medically fragile with significant disabilities from the age of 2 months until her death at 15. Without the Internet or parent connections that exist today, Karen made her own way and created a lifetime of loving memories for herself and her daughter. Lorrin lived a full life surrounded by friendships, travel and typical childhood activities. Karen will share the story of what she and Lorrin discovered together, the ideas she gained from other parents, and how she found a way past societal assumptions to get creative and enjoy her daughter no matter her perceived abilities. This is a must-attend workshop if you are a parent of a unique child and whether you are new to this journey or more experienced. Caregivers, healthcare providers and all others are welcome also. Lorrin and Karen's story is the subject of a new book, A Unique Life Fully Lived, available for purchase at the Expo. See the events schedule for times and location. Learn more at lorrinsworld.com and karenkain.com.

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