• Chicago Abilities Expo
    June 24 - 26, 2016
    Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Free Workshops

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today

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

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.

Friday, June 12, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

ADA: A Civil Rights Legacy

Presented by Peter Berg, Project Coordinator of Technical Assistance, Great Lakes ADA Center

Location: Workshop Area

ADA Legacy Bus

The ADA National Network in collaboration with the ADA Legacy Project invites you to join this session as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the passage of the ADA. Use this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the history of the ADA and civil rights for people with disabilities. This session will provide a discussion of the events that led up to the ADA's passage and will provide an overview of how the ADA is structured, including how it is enforced and where technical assistance is available. Learn more about the various initiatives that support the ADA's legacy and history and what the future challenges and opportunities are under the ADA and its promise of equal access and opportunity for citizens with disabilities. Learn more at www.adalegacy.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

5 Common Solutions to Improve Your Home Access

Presented by Stephen Crandall, Owner, Extended Home Living Services and Jim Whittington, Business Development Manager, Extended Home Living Services

Location: Workshop Area

Accessible Home Solutions

In this presentation that speaks to both home mobility and aging in place/independent living, you will learn five of the most common solutions to improving home accessibility. Whether you're facing difficulty with getting in and out of the house, getting up and down the stairs, or bathroom independence you will discover a variety of accessible solutions. Topics to be covered include: wheelchair lifts, stair lifts, ramps, ceiling mounted lifts, and bathroom modifications. Learn more at www.ehls.com.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Fashion! Discover and Adapt Your Unique Style

Presented by ElleJay Volpe, Frill-Ability.com

Location: Workshop Area

Unique Disability Fashion

A few frills in life are essential. That little extra something that says, "This is me!" gets you through your day. Why wouldn't this be a choice when we face a different set of abilities? You can be fabulous, help yourself, and not have to worry about your needs, with the right perspective and a little modification. At this workshop discover how you can identify the fashion styles you like best and gain the confidence to wear them. Plus we'll uncover ways to make fashion as adaptive as possible, including wearable tech with health benefits and bringing fun to your assistive devices. Things on the outside are not the most important, but it is how they make us feel that count. Whatever you wear, it should make your light shine from the inside out for the world to see just how infinitely able we are. Learn more at www.frill-ability.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Exercise for Every Body: Maximize Your Potential

Presented by Kristin McNealus, PT, DPT, ATP, Owner, SCI Total Fitness

Location: Workshop Area

At a time when obesity and diabetes is on the rise, it is important to take control of your health! The good news is that exercise really is the best medicine. Kristin McNealus has her Doctorate in Physical Therapy and has been practicing for over 10 years. She started SCI Total Fitness to promote exercise and wellness for people with mobility limitations. She'll share with you the benefits of exercise, and give you all the reasons to start or continue your workout routine. You'll learn the many different types of exercise available to you and how to exercise safely. She will connect you to local resources and help you get started on a path to a healthier, stronger you! Learn more at www.scitotalfitness.com.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

See the World: Opening Doors for Travelers with Disabilities

Presented by Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

Location: Workshop Area

Unique Disability Fashion

Would you like to see the world but are concerned about how your disability could negatively impact your travel? With knowledge of both your rights and realistic service expectations you can have a pleasant and enjoyable experience when you venture forth for vacation and/or business trips. This workshop will share helpful travel tips, information on accessible destinations, and recommendations for planning your air and ground transportation, as well as lodging. Visit www.opendoorsnfp.org for more information including easy access guides, resources, and travel tips.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

6 Reasons to Consider Intensive PT for Children and Young Adults

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

Location: Workshop Area

Exercise for people with disabilities.

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.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Creating Future Care Planning Unique to Your Journey

Presented by Andrew Daly, Advocate, Protected Tomorrows

Location: Workshop Area

Future Care

As family members of a person with a disability, we so often tend to view life in light of the challenges presented to us. This workshop offers a way to look at our lives in a whole new light as Mary Anne Ehlert provides a passionate glimpse of her life with her sister, Marcia. This presentation will uplift and entertain … as well as provide a good basic understanding of some important future care planning facts. Participants will develop the foundation for their family's own personal Eight Step Future Care Plan. Some topics of discussion included in creating a care plan for your loved one with a disbaility: how to create a map of the future; how to prepare legally and financially; how to incorporate and maximize government benefits; how to prepare for transition; and how to communicate your Future Care Plan to your family. Learn more at www.protectedtomorrows.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Medical Cannabis: Research, Benefits and More

Cristi Bundukamara, EdD, NP, Medical and Research Director, Realm of Caring Foundation

Location: Workshop Area

Find out the latest research regarding Cannabinoid products and how they are improving quality of life for those with a vast array of disabilities and illnesses. Learn more about this emerging field of treatment including the research behind it, therapeutic implications and its mechanism of action (how it works!). The reported benefits of cannabinoid supplements are broad, including anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressant, anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, antipsychotic, antioxidant, anti-tumoral, neuroprotectant, and anti-degenerative. Realm of Caring Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides support, education and advocacy for those who with to use cannabinoid products. Learn more at www.theroc.us.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Caregiver Day at Abilities Expo

Evermind LogoThe 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

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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