• New York Abilities Expo
    New York Metro
    May 1 - 3, 2015
    New Jersey Convention & Expo 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 getting the best accessible vehicle to knowing your rights in the workplace. Broaden your nutrition and wellness knowledge with Tiphany Adams from Push Girls. Interested in a service dog but not sure where to start? Check out Saturday's "Service Dogs 101" for all the basic information you need to know. Plus be sure to check out the workshops on new therapies and getting the wheelchair that's right for you.

Workshops are FREE and there’s no need to register. Just arrive early to get your seat!
Check out our FREE Events for more information and activities.


Certificates of participation are available for all workshops. Please see the Information Desk following each workshop for your certificate.

* 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, May 2, 2014

11:45am – 12:45pm

Care for the Caregiver

Care for the caregiver

Presented by Regina Rosenthal, PT, MA

Most individuals become caregivers at some point during their lives and experience caregiver stress, the physical, mental, and emotional strains that accompany caregiving. Although a majority of caregiving is provided by family and friends health-care professionals are also at risk due to rapidly changing health care and work demands. Although most caregivers are in good health, it is not uncommon for caregivers to have their own health problems as they struggle to balance caregiving, work, family, and finances. Caregivers need resources and education to enhance their ability to respond and maximize health and wellbeing. At this workshop discover body-mind self-care practices that will increase self-awareness, promote resilience and stress hardiness and help you reconnect with what has heart and meaning in your life. The presenter will also discuss how to use an awareness journal, breath and movement practices for increase mobility and ways to rediscover your joy. Learn more at reginarosenthal.com.

11:45am – 12:45pm

Wheelchair Standers: Stand for Function!

Navigating social media

Presented by Amy Morgan, PT, ATP, National Clinical Education Manager, Permobil Inc. with Tiphany Adams, Star, Sundance Channel's Push Girls

Standing is an intervention that has been gaining attention recently. In addition to the physiological benefits of weight bearing (standing), the increase in functional performance that standing provides makes it a desirable feature on a wheelchair base. This session will look at the research supporting standing wheelchairs and will discuss how to use this research to support a consumer's need for a standing wheelchair. Several successful case studies of people using standing wheelchairs (both manual and power) will also be shared.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Finding and Using Free Apps for iPad and iPhone

Navigating social media

Presented by Curtis Edmonds, Program Manager, Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC) at Disability Rights New Jersey

There are more free, useful applications for the iPad and the iPhone now than ever before. Your Apple device is capable of being your go-to piece of assistive technology, not only because the system is so versatile, but because there are so many free resources. This presentation showcases some of the best AT apps available, and provides resources for finding new apps as they come out. Learn how the basic features in iOS (the operating system for Apple devices) can be used as assistive technology. Discover how to find the free app that is right for you.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Laughter Yoga for All Abilities

Laughter Yoga

Presented by Beth Kaplan Bongar (aka Laughing Diva), Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher

Laughter Yoga is enhancing the lives of people with all types of disabilities, around the world, and is also a great solution for managing everyday stresses and challenges. Many people also experience a significant improvement in their physical and mental health. This workshop will include a presentation and a demonstration of Laughter Yoga and Yumm Meditation. For all ages and abilities. Discover more at www.laughingdiva.com.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Planning Accessible Travel

Navigating social media

Presented by Mary Peterson, CTC, Accessible Travel Consultant, ABLE to Travel, a program of United Spinal Association

Does the perceived challenge of planning accessible travel keep you from going places? It may not be easy, but it does not need to be that hard. ABLE to Travel, an agency that specializes in the types of issues a person with a disability may encounter, is here to help make your trip accessible from start to finish and alleviate the headache for you! In this workshop the presenter will discuss the Air Carrier Access, the 2010 ADA Standards that have mandated increased accessibility to hotels and other travel destinations, tips for travelers, maneuvering through airport security and the mandates from TSA, and cruises (one of the most accessible ways to travel). Learn more at www.abletotravel.org.

The world is your oyster! Traveling with disabilities.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Using Technology to Maximize Your Life!

Staying on top of technology.

Presented by Carmen Jones, Founder, Solutions Marketing Group (SMG)

We live in a world where technology changes very rapidly. It can be quite challenging to keep up! As a person with a disability, you want to access the latest Apps, websites and tools to maximize your life. At this workshop, discover new and innovative ways to improve your daily life using technology. Discuss the challenges of staying current with the ever-changing technology environment. Plus you'll learn about the newest lifestyle apps available that can increase your independence and support those around you as well. Learn more at www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/disability-resources/disability-resources.jsp.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Learning to be an Effective Leader: Advocating for What You Need and Want

Presented by Randall Loss; JR Harding, DEd, BSA National Accessibility Committee Members

As a college-bound high school senior (scholarship athlete and Eagle Scout), JR Harding walked away from a schoolyard fistfight in 1983 and his life changed forever. As he turned away from the fight he was struck from behind by a football teammate and was instantly paralyzed. As an Eagle Scout, JR was well-prepared for the unknown and he calmly instructed those who had just harmed him how to administer life saving measures such as treatment for shock and calling 911. The scouting motto, "be prepared for life," became very real for JR that day. Dr. JR Harding's story is one of tragedy, innocence, rehab, forgiveness and success. At this workshop, hear his story and learn how scouting played an important role in helping him become the leader that he is today. The presenters will discuss opportunities for gaining leadership skills particularly for youth as well as employment resources for people with disabilities. Learn more at jrharding.com.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

11:45pm – 12:45pm

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Presented by Chuck Pennington, BraunAbility

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 #901.

11:45am – 12:45pm

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

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

Intensive Physical Therapy for Children

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.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessing the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Presented by Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel

Navigating social media

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 easyaccesstravel.com.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

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

Bring a dog into your life!  Photo of boy with service dog.

Presented 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.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Young, Hip and Disabled: College, Work and More

Navigating social media

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

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.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Navigating Social Media

Presented by Jessica Keenan Smith, Writer and Founder, Living Well With Epilepsy

Join Jessica Keenan Smith, writer and founder of Living Well With Epilepsy, as she discusses how to make the best use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social networks to accomplish your specific goals. She will share her own experience as a person with epilepsy and the journey she has taken via social media to increase awareness and build a career around work she loves. You will learn tips to save time, protect your privacy and connect with the people and organizations that matter to you. Learn more at livingwellwithepilepsy.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

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

Karen and Lorrin Kain

Presented by Karen Kain, Author, Abilities Expo Parent Ambassador

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 her story of the ideas given to her by other parents, of what she and Lorrin discovered together, 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. Learn more about Karen at www.lorrinsworld.com and www.karenkain.com. Lorrin and Karen's story is the subject of a new book, A Unique Life Fully Lived: A Personal Journey of Love, Hope and Courage, available for purchase at the Expo. See the events schedule for times and location.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

10 Basic Financial Steps for Special Needs Caregivers

Donald T. Brown, CASL, LUTCF, Special Needs Planner, MetLife Solutions Group, Partners with MetLife Center for Special Needs Planning

10 Basic Financial Steps for Special Needs Caregivers

This workshop will discuss 10 basic steps to help caregivers get started in preparing for the financial future of their dependent with special needs. As a caregiver of a dependent with special needs the single most important issue on your mind, regardless of the age of the dependent, is "What will happen to my dependent after I'm gone?" There are some needs that will always be present and they must be carefully considered and planned for appropriately. The presenter will address such critical issues as applying for government benefits for Social Security and Medicaid, creating a Special Needs Trusts, the importance of a Will and considering a Letter of Intent. Taking these 10 basic steps now can help insure the type of care and quality of life for a loved one's well-being today and tomorrow. Learn more at metlife.com/specialneeds.

There are no workshops on Sunday, May 4.

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