• New York Abilities Expo
    New York Metro
    May 5-7, 2017
    New Jersey Convention & Expo Center
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 10am-6pm | 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 legal rights to access. Broaden your knowledge of emerging treatment options including medical marijuana and hyperbaric oxygen. Learn how the new ABLE Act can help you finance assistive technology, education and health care. Plus discover the access features in the latest operating systems for Apple and Android devices.

Here's what we did in 2016. Stay tuned for 2017!

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: Certificates are available for all workshops. Please see the Access Help Desk in the main lobby at the end of your visit to pick up a certificate form.

Continuing Education: There are no workshops at this year's Expo that qualify for continuing education credits.

* Dates and times of workshops are subject to change without notice. The opinions presented at the workshops are those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Abilities Expo. Workshop content should not be considered as a replacement or substitute for the services of trained professionals in any field, including, but not limited to, financial, medical or legal matters. We encourage you to seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information presented in these workshops.


Friday, April 29, 2016

11:45am - 12:45pm

Wheelchair Travel: You Can Do It!

Wheelchair Travel

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

Location: Workshop #1

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.

11:45am – 12:45pm

Your Voting Rights as a Person with a Disability
Voting Rights for People with Disabilities

Presented by: Mary Ciccone, Managing Attorney, Disability Rights New Jersey

Location: Workshop #2

Voters with disabilities have the equal access to the fundamental right to vote. Federal and state laws mandate equal access to the voting process for individuals with disabilities. However, many individuals with disabilities still report difficulties in voting in terms of inaccessible polling places and voting machines that are not accessible for all voters. This presentation discusses the rights of voters with disabilities and what people can do when they feel their rights have been violated. Learn more at www.drnj.org.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Stronger Than Any Storm: Personal Preparedness Tips to Ensure Your Safety

Earthquake Preparedness

Facilitated by:
Kelly Rouba-Boyd, Access/Functional Needs Planner, Preparedness Bureau/Emergency Mgmt Section, NJ Office of Emergency Mgmt
Presenting Panelists:
Kathryn Dyjak, MSW, Disability and other Access and Functional Needs (DAFN) Advisor, New York City Emergency Management;
Luke Koppisch, Deputy Director, Alliance Center for Independence;
Jamie Arasz Prioli, RESNA ATP, Assistive Technology Specialist, Reused and Exchanged Equipment Partnership Coordinator (REEP), Institute on Disabilities at Temple University College of Education

Location: Workshop #1

Emergency management officials and disability advocates from the tri-state area are coming together to share vital personal preparedness strategies to help individuals with disabilities and their caregivers prepare for various emergency and disaster situations—from snow storms to active shooter events. The panel discussion will cover general preparedness; sheltering in place versus evacuation; how to create an emergency kit; establishing a support network; and available local resources. A brief exercise will be conducted to help participants begin to draft their own customized emergency plan.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Learn How to Change Policy By Sharing Your Story

Government Change

Presented by: Jenn Wolff, OTR/L, Manager, United Spinal Association's Advocacy Alliance

Location: Workshop #2

In this session, you will gain knowledge about what advocacy is and how to do it at a local, state and even national level. Discover how your story is the key to helping change policy. Right now, our government and other policy makers are very focused on finances and sometimes are not aware of how their decisions affect us. By gaining confidence in your storytelling ability and doing a little research, you can help teach our leaders how current policies (insurance, employment, etc.) impact you and/or your family and why change is needed. Remember, we voted them into office; we can vote them out of office – so when enough of us join together and raise our voices, we can truly make a difference. Learn more at www.unitedspinal.org/action-center/.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Update on Spinal Cord Injury Research in the United States and China

This workshop is made possible by Conquer Paralysis Now

Spinal Cord Injury Research

Presented by: Wise Young, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Founding Director, W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Richard H. Shindell Chair in Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Distinguished Visiting Professor, The University of Hong Kong

Location: Workshop #1

Report on treatments for people with spinal cord injuries via a twenty-five center clinical trial network in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong where human clinical trials are underway. In the initial results from the Phase II trial in Kunming, China, 75% of the participants (15 out of 20) recovered walking with a rolling walker. These promising outcomes resulted from a treatment using human umbilical cord blood cells and a program of intense walking training. This potential therapy is bringing hope to thousands of people who are paralyzed and their families. Clinical trial networks are also being established in the United States, Norway, and India. Phase IIB Trials started in 2015 and Phase III trials begin this year.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

How the New ABLE Act Can Help You Finance AT, Education, and Health Care

Assistive Technology

Presented by: Curtis D. Edmonds, Program Director, Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC) of Disability Rights New Jersey

Location: Workshop #2

In 2014, Congress passed a new law, the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act, which allows people with disabilities to establish savings accounts, similar to college saving accounts, to help cover the cost of assistive technology, education, health care, and other disability-related expenses. In 2015, the state of New Jersey passed enabling legislation, which will allow ABLE accounts to become a reality in New Jersey. This presentation discusses what ABLE accounts can do for people with disabilities, and the advantages and disadvantages of using these accounts.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

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

Regain that Feeling

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 #1

Despite cultural stereotypes, people with disabilities are sexual beings with a wide array of needs, desires, and concerns. In this interactive session we will 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.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

The ADA & Legal Right To Equal Access

Disability Access

Presented by: Bradley Weitz, Esq, Attorney & President, The Weitz Law Firm, P.A.

Location: Workshop #2

More than 25 years after the enactment of the ADA, unfortunately many public places are still inaccessible to the disabled community. You have the right to equal access, without the interference of architectural barriers, under the ADA and other similar state laws. Please join us to learn more about your rights to equal access. Learn more at www.weitzfirm.com.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

11:45am – 12:45pm

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Accessible Vehicles

Matt Swope, Director of Sales Eastern United States, BraunAbility

Location: Workshop #1

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

11:45am – 12:45pm

Living Well with Chronic Pain

Presented by: Casey Cashman, Executive Director, U.S. Pain Foundation

Location: Workshop #2

Pain Control

In America pain affects 100 million adults - more people than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. This presentation will offer tips for those living with chronic pain, including ways to work through pain on your own. Discover steps you can take on your own, today, to gain some of your life back from pain. From traditional approaches to alternative therapies, much is available with the potential to lower your pain. Visit www.uspainfoundation.org for resources, programs, publications and more.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Medical Marijuana: Benefits and Legalization

Medical Marijuana

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

Location: Workshop #1

Felicia and Andrew of California Cannabis Advocates will explain the current legislative progress surrounding medical cannabis access in New York and New Jersey and how this effects Abilities community members. The presentation will cover methods of administration and symptom management, as well as clinical research supporting the use of cannabis for a variety of conditions. CCA will also spend time explaining how cannabis works in the human body and the importance of the fight for self-directed healthcare. Learn more at www.californiacannabisadvocates.com and www.facebook.com/CACannAdvs.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Exoskeleton Technology: A Step For Healthy Living


Presented by: Colin Buchanan, Market Development Manager, ReWalk Robotics

Location: Workshop #2

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. Learn more at www.rewalk.com

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Travel the World

Presented by: Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel

Location: Workshop #1

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

Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy 101

Physical Therapy

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

Location: Workshop #2

Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy for children and young adults who have gross motor disorders is inspired by Eastern Europe’s methods and varies from traditional physical therapy. This workshop will present an overview of intensive therapy, its concepts and techniques, primary and secondary benefits, how it varies from traditional and school PT, and current research. Children who benefit from this type of therapy include those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, and other neuromuscular disorders. The primary goal and benefit of the therapy is to teach new and lasting functional physical skills. The presentation will include video footage of this model of therapy and how it creates better outcomes for children at several levels. Learn more at www.europeds.org.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy 101

Hyperbaric Therapy

Presented by: Shannon Kenitz, Executive Director, International Hyperbarics Association

Location: Workshop #1

At this session learn the basics of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, how it can help, and how you can access this treatment. HBOT has been shown to benefit numerous conditions including autism, cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, spinal cord injury, sports-related injuries and more. Attendees will find out how to obtain HBOT and what to expect from treatments. Shannon Kenitz will also share her own personal story of how HBOT saved her special needs daughter's life, and led to Shannon's own work starting an HBOT clinic and becoming a recognized advocate for HBOT on a global platform. Learn more at www.shannonandgrace.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Accessibility Features of Smartphones and Tablets

Accessibility and Smart Phone Features

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 #2

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 (iOS9) and Android (6.0) 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.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Caregiver 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

Caring Together: How to Make it Easier for Family and Friends to Help with Caregiving

Caring and Help with Caregivers

Presented by: Yosaif August ACC

Location: Workshop #1

This presentation will outline how caregivers can overcome common barriers like discussing task preference, getting past beliefs that hold them back and how to affirmatively ask for help with caregiving.

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Relax Your Mind and Body

Disability Yoga

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

Location: Workshop #1

The presenters will demonstrate several science-smart techniques around mindfulness and yoga that will help caregivers rejuvenate their mind and body.

* No special clothing or flexibility level is required for the yoga portion.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Care for the Caregiver: Take Charge of Your Health Through Self-Care

Care for the Caregiver

Presented by: Regina Rosenthal PT, MA

Location: Workshop #1

This presentation will outline acupressure techniques and other self-care practices as well as an action plan for these practices.

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