• New York Abilities Expo
    New York Metro
    May 4-6, 2018
    New Jersey Convention & Expo Center
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Free Workshops

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today

Here's what we did in 2017. Stay tuned for 2018!

Please check back three months
before the Expo for the new schedule.

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.

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.


Using Your PT and OT to Create Your Accessible Home

Living Well with Chronic Pain

Presented by: Dr. Stephen Kanter, Licensed Physical Therapist; Director, AthCare Consulting and Education; Supervisor of Rehabilitation Services, International MS Management Practice; and Adjunct Professor, Seton Hall University, School of Health and Medical Sciences

For people with mobility limitations, making one's home accessible can be the difference between safe, independent mobility and being at risk of recurring falls and needing help for basic tasks. This workshop will highlight the integrated role of a physical therapist (PT) and occupational therapist (OT) in helping people to maximize safe and independent function in one's home environment. Key strategies to consider when working with contractors, architects, and designers will be discussed to prepare people to make smart decisions when planning a home remodeling or expansion project. Important considerations for design features that are necessary for people who use wheelchairs will be presented.

How Research Can Improve Quality of Life in Persons with SCI

How Research Can Improve Quality of Life in Persons with SCI

Presented by: Tiffany Santiago, BS, Health Science Technician and Clinical Research Coordinator, James J Peters VA Medical Center; and Steve Knezevic, MS, Health Science Technician and Clinical Research Coordinator, James J Peters VA Medical Center

Discover how the Spinal Cord Damage Research Center is working to improve quality of life and increase longevity for persons with spinal cord injury. The presenters will share how the center focuses on identifying, preventing, and treating the secondary medical complications of paralysis. Learn about some of their investigations, including utilizing paired magnetic and electrical stimulation for the improvement of hand dexterity, powered exoskeletons for ambulation, and medications such as Denosomab for bone density. Their work is helping people with SCI nationwide through initiatives such as the powered exoskeleton programs at VA Medical Centers. They will also discuss how their strong affiliations with other institutions, including Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, Kessler Foundation, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and West Point, Columbia University Medical Center, help them accomplish their mission. Learn more at www.scirc.org.

Dollars and Cents: Practical Money Skills for Life

Presented by: Maria C. McGinley, JD, MST, Partner, Mayerson & Associates

Everyone needs financial skills to make wise decisions about money and budgeting. This workshop will analyze many money-management topics. We will begin by discussing how money management should be addressed during a student's transition planning process and what areas must be considered during the development of a student's IEP. We will then identify and discuss: how to analyze a young adult's current money habits, how to develop a workable budget that includes a plan for both spending and saving, how to avoid losing government benefits, and how to determine whether money should be put in a bank account, special needs trust, or elsewhere. Throughout the presentation, we will discuss the importance of identifying the individual wants and needs and how those wants and needs should drive effective money management. We will also identify supports and services that are available to support individuals in creating and maintaining a workable budget. The presentation will conclude with identifying specific and practical strategies and there will be some time for questions at the conclusion of the workshop.

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Presented by: Regional Emergency Management and Disability Preparedness Experts

Join emergency management officials and disability advocates at a vital workshop for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers on personal and community preparedness strategies for hazards like severe storms, fire, flooding, and more. Regional experts will provide information and resources on drafting your own emergency plan that incorporates your disability needs, establishing personal support teams, personalizing disaster supply kits, evacuation/shelter-in-place considerations, and community stakeholder engagement opportunities. Join us and become more resilient in the face of disaster! For national resources visit www.disability.gov  (click on Emergency Preparedness).

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

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.

Assistive Technology Resources in NJ

Wheelchair Travel

Presented by: Mike Marotta, ATP, RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional; Director, Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC), Disability Rights New Jersey

This session will highlight the Assistive Technology resources available throughout New Jersey to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. Participants will learn about the services provided through the Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center at Disability Rights New Jersey as well as other providers that can provide AT services. Resources will be provided. Learn more at www.drnj.org/atac.

Accessible Home Design: The Basics

We regret this workshop is cancelled due to an emergency for the presenter. Please visit the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Booth #535) to talk with staff about home access questions.

Michael F. Tamara, AIA, Project Architect, Paralyzed Veterans of America

Accessible Home Design

Can I retrofit my master bathroom to include a spacious roll-in shower? What must I do to install an elevator in my two-story home? How can my flower garden be made more accessible? Who should I hire to make sure my home renovation project will fit my needs? Accessible Home Design: The Basics will address improving the accessibility in each specific area of a home, as well as what you need to know before taking on a renovation project. Whether it's a new accessible residence or retrofitting your existing home, information will be presented with real examples and case studies. Subject matter will include entering your home; residential elevators and lifts, kitchen design, bathrooms and plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, outdoor areas and gardens, and much more. Learn more at www.pva.org.

The Intensive Model of Therapy: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Napa Center: Intensive Model of Therapy

Presented by: Lynette LaScala, Founder and CEO, NAPA Center; and Emily Norlock PT, DPT, CKTP, Doctor of Physical Therapy, NAPA Center

Location: Junior Ballroom

With a focus on global development, NAPA Center will utilize case examples of real patients to demonstrate how occupational, physical and speech therapists work together within the intensive model to provide comprehensive treatment and help children maximize their progress towards goals. Presenters will discuss how therapists collaborate and educate one another to implement specific discipline strategies and goals in a child's therapy sessions to provide repetition and facilitate learning across contexts.

Learn more at www.napacenter.org.

How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You

Accessible Vehicles

Presented by: Matt Swope, Director of Sales Eastern U.S., 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 #1001. Learn more at www.nmeda.com.

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Accessible Vehicles

Presented by: Steve Kerper, Easy Access Travel

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.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy 101

Hyperbaric Oxygen

Presented by: Shannon Kenitz, Executive Director, International Hyperbarics Association and Dr. Giuseppina Benincasa-Feingold, MD

At this session attendees will learn basic information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, what it is, how it can help, and how to access this treatment. Extensive research supports that HBOT can benefit numerous conditions including: cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, spinal cord injury, sports-related injuries, Autism and more. While this therapy is a standard of care in some developed nations, its use in the United States is sporadic and faces controversy challenges. Hear from Shannon Kenitz who will share her own personal story about how HBOT saved her special needs daughter's life (Grace has a rare mitochondrial condition). A physician co-presenter will detail key research findings, what individuals can expect from treatments, and will answer questions from the audience. Find resources, research links, and learn more at www.ihausa.org and www.shannonandgrace.com.  

Exoskeleton Technology: A Step For Healthy Living

Rewalk Robotics

Presented by: Scott Reeves, PT, Business Development Manager, ReWalk Robotics

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.

Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy 101

Pediatric Therapy

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

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.

Universal Designed Smart Clothing for People with Disabilities

Universal Designed Smart Clothing

Presented by: Grace Jun, MFA, BFA, Executive Director, Open Style Lab and Adjunct Faculty, Parsons School of Design

Discover the work of Open Style Lab – a non-profit public service project started by MIT in 2014. They create functional yet stylish clothing that is inclusive and accessible. The project teams groups of designers, engineers, and therapists with one person who has a disability to examine challenges and find solutions! Find out what this means for you as individuals purchasing clothing "off-the-rack" as well as from accessible fashion clothing lines. Two solutions will be presented: a durable shirt with ultra-sonic wielded seams designed for a young girl with Autism to resist ripping and a transformable rain jacket that was inspired by a young man who is a wheelchair user with SCI. The presenter will share their process and insights, and some of the creative challenges they and the clothing industry as a whole face. She'll also facilitate discussion about creating clothing aimed at accessing independence while enabling personal expression, and the importance of inclusive education and research that will shift the fashion industry to be more inclusive of people with diverse abilities. Learn more at www.openstylelab.com.

This workshop is made possible in part by the students from The New School, Parsons School of Design.

Apps for Independence

Apps for Independence

Presented by: Mike Marotta, ATP, RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional; Director, Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center (ATAC), Disability Rights New Jersey

Smartphones and tablets have provided incredible power to meet the needs of people with disabilities. This session will explore apps, extensions and web based tools that can be used to increase independence. We will look at tools for reading, writing, organization, task completion, time management and more. Resources will be provided. Learn more at www.drnj.org/atac

How Horses Benefit People with Disabilities

Apps for Independence

Presented by: Loree Mahalchick, Founder and Head Instructor, HorseSense Therapeutic Riding Center; President, HorseSense Therapeutic Center 501c3

There are a many ways that horses can be used in therapeutic and recreational environments to support people with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities. Join us for an overview of the types of equine assisted activities and therapies that are available, including traditional Adaptive Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Hippotherapy, horsemanship for all, Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy, Horse Boy Method and summer camps for children of ALL abilities. Learn how to identify which therapy may be appropriate to your specific needs as well as how to located a program. Common questions will also be addressed such as safety, certification, and the many benefits of interacting with horses. Learn more at www.horsesensenj.com

Caregiver Day at Abilities Expo

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation LogoThe following workshops are presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and are geared for the loved ones who give so much.

Acupressure for Stress Relief: The Seva Stress Release Program

Acupressure Workshop

Presented by: Regina Rosenthal PT, MA, RYT-200

"Acupressure for Stress Relief: The Seva Stress Release Program" is a presentation where you will learn and experience how to use a simple, easy to perform acupressure program, which will help you to: manage and relieve stress; reduce anxiety, pain, and tension.

Putting Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues to Sleep

Wheelchair Travel

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

"Putting Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues to Sleep" is a unique seminar that brings the best wisdom of the west and the east to help you enjoy a deeply restorative sleep. The presenters will help you to recognize the causes and complications of sleep issues, learn more about the important cautions for prescription sleep medications, OTCs and herbal remedies and be empowered to use tested strategies and practices to bring your body to a stage of deep rest.

Protected Tomorrows: Future Care Plans

Presented by: Mary Anne Ehlert, Expert in Special Needs Planning and Services

"Protected Tomorrows: Future Care Plans" is a presentation that will be uplifting, educational and provide important facts families need to know. Participants will walk away with a foundation for their family's personal future care plan. Topics of discussion include: preparing legally and financially, maximizing government benefits, healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid), employment, housing, and social outreach.

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