• Boston Abilities Expo
    September 21 - 23, 2018
    The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Hall A
    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 accessible homes to how you can get the best accessible vehicle. Discover how both dogs and monkeys help people be more independent. Parents – take a break and enjoy two great sessions for parents of kids with special needs – both filled with laughs and ideas for thriving, not just surviving, as the parent of a child with special needs. Plus there’s information about assistive devices, clinical trials, and emergency preparedness.

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).

* 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, September 21, 2018

11:45am – 12:45pm

Adaptive Sports: Benefits, Trends and Options

Presented by: Kathleen Comfort Salas, PT, MHA, North Shore Coordinator of Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers (SASC); and Stephen Katzenback, DPT, South Shore/Cape Cod Coordinator of Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers (SASC)

Location: Workshop

Adaptive sports are sports and outdoor recreation activities modified to promote success for anyone regardless of their physical, behavioral, intellectual or other special needs. Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers (SASC) have been offering programs for over 15 years, now at 4 centers in Eastern Massachusetts, with services provided by Spaulding clinicians and adaptive sport professionals. Come hear about how we encourage and empower individuals of all abilities to lead active, healthy lives through different challenges in recreation.  Find out about the history of inclusion and adaptive sports, and current trends across the country.  Learn about the many lifelong benefits of inclusion with peers and family, and intangible benefits of competition- that all carry over into other areas of daily life.  Discover adaptive resources in New England, and brainstorm adaptations to make sport possible for you, your loved one, and your clients.
Learn about programs and register: https://sasc.spauldingrehab.org

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Accessible Home Design: The Basics

Presented by: Mark R. Thompson, AIA, Associate Director of Architecture Services, Paralyzed Veterans of America

Location: Workshop

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: www.pva.org

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Wheelchair Travel: You Can Do It!

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

Location: Workshop

Wheelchair Travel

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: www.wheelchairescapes.com

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Adapting Intimacy

Presented by: Christine Selinger, Director of Education and Events, Abilities Expo

Location: Workshop

Adapting Intimacy

We all experience intimacy differently, and find pleasure in diverse ways. In this workshop I will talk about ways to adapt the intimacy experience so that is fun and exciting for everyone in every body.  We will talk accommodations, toys, and discuss some key considerations for overcoming challenges in your intimate life. We will also talk about how to address intimacy education with your children and/or clients.
Learn more: www.creativebychristine.com

* The content at this session is designed for adults 18 years and older. It is not appropriate for children.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

11:45am – 12:45pm

Therapeutic Cannabis: Use as a Pharmaceutical Agent and Appropriate Therapeutic Delivery Systems

Presented by: Canna Care Docs

Location: Workshop

Use of Cannabis as a Pharmaceutical Agent

For more than 2,500 years the plant marijuana has been known and used for a wide spectrum of therapeutic indications. Indeed, prior to 1932 more than 40% of all drugs sold in the United States were based on the use of hemp. Our Founding Fathers both grew and used marijuana. It is now known that 80+ cannabinoid compounds and 1,000+ unique strains exist. This workshop will discuss how these agents work in the human body, specifically with the brain, spinal column, solid organs, and peripheral tissues. Attendees will learn how these drugs can provide unique therapeutic benefitsfor those with disabilities. For example, the THC cannabinoid is able to bridge the gaps in the myelin sheaths of patients with multiple sclerosis, thus promoting nerve transmission. For patients with spinal cord injury it can completely eliminate shoulder pain. This clinical presentation will provide the audience with a comprehensive knowledge of indications, usage, and benefits.
Learn more: www.cannacaredocs.com

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Dealing With Practical Issues Due to Paralysis or Spinal Cord Injury

Presented by: Nurse Linda PhD, CRRN (Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN)

The following workshop is presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and is geared toward anyone who lives with paralysis from disease, injury or birth condition and their loved ones. Learn more at www.christopherreeve.org
Location: Workshop

Spinal Pain

Immobility due to paralysis or limited function can affect every aspect of living. Discussing practical adaptations to daily living and personal care can help reduce restrictions and complications as well as to improve overall health. The session will open with specific activities to avoid the complications of immobility from paralysis. The emphasis of the session is about ways to improve health and deal with common problems using readily available resources and how to request additional support. A professional rehabilitation registered nurse will discuss your individual questions about mobility, bowel and bladder function, skin care, wellness and other healthcare issues. This will include ways to improve complications of aging with paralysis. Nurse Linda writes a weekly blog for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Her discussions are based on current research evidence and guidelines that are translated into easy to understand language. Questions from the audience are welcome.
Learn more: www.christopherreeve.org

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Attainable®: The ABLE Savings Plan offered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity

Presented by: John Boroff, Product Manager, Attainable® Savings Plan, Fidelity Investments and Julie Shields-Rutyna, Director of College Planning, MEFA

Location: Workshop

Financial Planning

This program will feature an overview of the Attainable® Savings Plan along with key ABLE account basics. An ABLE account provides an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to save for the future by saving money for disability-related expenses in a tax advantaged account without losing eligibility for certain public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid. 
Learn more and enroll online: www.fidelity.com/attainable  

3:45pm – 4:45pm

The Intensive Model of Therapy: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Presented by: Lynette LaScala, Founder and CEO, NAPA Center; and Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Director of Rehabilitation, NAPA Center

Location: Workshop

Intensive Therapy

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: www.napacenter.org

Sunday, September 23, 2018

11:45am – 12:45pm

Living Well with Chronic Pain

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

Location: Workshop

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.
For resources, programs and publications: www.uspainfoundation.org

1:00pm – 2:00pm

Service Dog Workshop

Presented by: Katy Harrison Ostroff, Manager of Client Relations, NEADS

Location: Workshop

This presentation will address how NEADS clients and their Service Dogs become highly trained, certified Service Dog Teams. The workshop will address: the extensive training of NEADS Service Dogs; the highly personalized application, evaluation and matching processes; and the thorough, detailed client training and follow-up services. There will also be a service dog demonstration so attendees can see how dogs assist by picking up dropped items, retrieving cell phones, and "speaking"! NEADS World Class Service Dogs have been changing lives for more than 42 years. The organization provides services dogs for adults and children with physical disabilities, young adults and adults with hearing loss, and children with autism or other developmental disabilities. Their Service Dog Program for Veterans assists veterans with physical disabilities, hearing loss, and PTSD. Specific task work performed by NEADS Service Dogs has helped 1,800 clients increase their independence and connection to the world. 
Learn more: www.neads.org

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Measuring Chemicals in My Body

Presented: Dr. Marc A. Nascarella, MS, PhD, CPH, Director, Environmental Toxicology Program, Mass Dept of Public Health; Meg Blanchet, MS, REHS, Assistant Director, Environmental Toxicology Program, Mass Dept of Public Health; Rachel Wilson, MPH, RRT, Senior Environmental Analyst, Mass Dept of Public Health; Nicole Daniels, MS, Environmental Analyst, Mass Dept of Public Health

Location: Workshop

Individuals may be exposed to chemicals in the environment from a variety of different sources (e.g., buildings, food, air, consumer products, etc.). Biological monitoring (or bio-monitoring) is the process of measuring these chemicals (or their metabolites) in a person's body fluids or tissues, such as blood or urine. These measurements provide valuable information on levels of exposure to chemicals from all sources combined (e.g. air, soil, water, dust, consumer products, food, etc.). The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is conducting a statewide study to better understand exposure to selected environmental chemicals in the state. This workshop will include a general overview of bio-monitoring as well as best practices for identifying and reducing exposure to environmental chemicals. The workshop will describe DPH's study and how an individual can learn more about participating in the study to receive free bio-monitoring services.
Learn more: www.mass.gov/dph/biomonitoring

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