• Abilities Expo Houston Event
    August 5 - 7, 2016
    NRG Center (Formerly Reliant Center), Hall E
    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 benefits of standing to how you can get the best accessible vehicle.

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, July 31, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

Wellness for People with Disabilities

Presented by Dr. Brandi Griffin, Chiropractor, Pearland Family Chiropractic

Location: Workshop Area

Chiropractic care is rooted in the belief that the human body naturally strives to maintain the highest level of health. When obstacles get in the way the result is disease. AT this workshop you'll discover what chiropractic treatment is, how it is used, and how it can work to improve your health. The present will also discuss other alternatives to the typical medical model including preventative health care, massage and rehabilitative exercise. Attendees will leave with ideas for how they can improve their health without drugs as well as home and recreational recommendations. Learn more at www.drbrandigriffin.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Bionics: Not Just for the Privileged Few Any More

Jennifer French, MBA, Executive Director, Neurotech Network

Bionics and medical technology has come a long way in the last few years and becoming more accessible too. These life changing technologies are not only for those with mobility impairments but a wide array of disabilities. Did you know the Retinal Prosthesis or Bionic Eye to restore vision for those with retinitis pigmentosa has been approved for Medicare beneficiaries? Did you know that sacral nerve stimulation for incontinence has also been approved for Medicare payment? In this session, learn about amazing technologies for a variety of disabilities all featured in the recent book, Bionic Pioneers. Also, learn how to access the technology and whether it applies to you. Go beyond the limits of standard care and embrace the technology that can change your life. Learn more at www.neurotechnetwork.org.

* Book Signing! This workshop is followed by a book signing with Jennifer French from 2:15pm to 3:15pm. Copies of Bionic Pioneers (newly published in 2014) and On My Feet Again will be available for purchase. Special show prices of $20 per book or both books for $30. All proceeds benefit the Neurotech Network.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008: History, Benefits, Development, Critiques

Presented by Jessica Cassidy, Staff Attorney for Health Law Program and Privacy Official, Texas Legal Services Center

Location: Workshop Area

Over 49 million older Americans and people with disabilities receive Medicare health insurance. In July 2008, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) changed existing law (see: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ275/pdf/PLAW-110publ275.pdf ). Those changes fund (1) the promotion of prevention and wellness benefits, (2) Part D counseling in rural areas, and (3) Medicare Part D Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) application assistance. Beneficiaries in fair/poor health without supplemental insurance incur average annual out-of-pocket costs of $4,500. Since 2009, MIPPA-funding has helped tamp down those costs for society's most vulnerable members, accessing more than $2.3 billion in benefits by grantees submitting more than 860,000 applications. This workshop will cover a history of MIPPA's development, including the recent Developments through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. It will review benefits available under MIPAA, discuss some success stories and best practices, and will outline additional room for improvement, should Congress be listening. Learn more at www.tlsc.org.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Accessibility Features of Smartphones and Tablets

Presented by Ben Lippincott, Project Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies; and Kendra Cox, Compliance & Outreach Manager, Corporate Accessibility Technology Office, AT&T

Location: Workshop Area

Medical Marijuana

The workshop explores the many accessibility features found on today's most current smartphones and tablets. Uncover features that are helpful for people who use hearing aids, use text and video services, have communication difficulties, have difficulty seeing, have dexterity or mobility impairments, or have attention, concentration or sensory difficulties. Caregivers and professionals will also benefit by understanding these features as they assist people with disabilities. This workshop will focus on the latest Apple (iOS8) and Android (5.0) Operating Systems, as well as previous systems. Attendees will also discover resources for services, devices and mobile applications. This workshop is part of the "Wireless Independence Now!" workshop series presented by AT&T and Wireless RERC. Learn more at www.wirelessrerc.org.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

11:45am – 12:45pm

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Presented by BraunAbility

Hearing Loss, Devices and other tools for Hearing

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 #103. Learn more at www.nmeda.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Presented by Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel

Location: Workshop Area

Tips for traveling with a disability

Would you like to travel the country or the world, but believe you cannot because of your disability? At this workshop you will learn that travel by air, sea and car is a real option for you. The presenter, a professional travel agent who has a disability and has travelled extensively, will share with you how to plan a trip, including what to expect form hotels, rental car companies, cruise lines and the airlines. Learn about the common challenges, methods for addressing them and what the law requires. Attendees will receive recommendations for disability-friendly destinations and accessible travel resources. Be sure to bring your pressing questions and a list of places you'd like to visit. Learn more at www.easyaccesstravel.com.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Medical Marijuana: Benefits and Legalization

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

Medical Marijuana

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.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Questions and Answers with Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Location: Workshop Area

The Autism epidemic continues to increase in size with the latest estimates showing that 1 in 58 American children will develop Autism. The search for the causes and solutions is complex. Dr. Andrew Wakefield will be available to take your questions, discuss the possible environmental causes for autism and share information about real help and support available for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. Dr. Wakefield is the co-founder of the Autism Media Channel, a TV and video production company that seeks to bring awareness and hope to those interested in childhood developmental disorders.

Announcement: We regret that due to an unexpected schedule conflict Dr. Wakefield is not available to present at Abilities Expo Houston this year. Fortunately, staff from Autism is Medical will present in his place and will be able to answer questions you planned to ask Dr. Wakefield. To learn more about AIM visit www.autismismedical.com.

Sunday, August 2, 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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