Abilities Expo brings you thousands of game-changing tech, products and services. Regardless of the type and level of your disability, we strive to provide the resources you need.
Up Your Game at Abilities Expo!
he Chicago Abilities Expo brings you life-changing opportunities. It could be the products and tech. It could be the chance to play quad rugby or meet a mini horse. It could be the workshops or connections you make with others in the disability community. It's free so join us and register today.
Attend free, info-packed workshops on issues that matter to you. Get tips on getting healthy, making your home accessible and disability employment. There's more, check it out!
Try such inclusive activities as adaptive sports, dance, and so much more for the kids of all ages! If something sparks your interest, you can find out how to engage year-round.
Must-See and Can't-Miss Expo Experiences
There is just so much to see and do at Abilities Expo. Here are a few opportunities you don't want to let pass you by.
Let your kids' imaginations run wild as they create their own fridge-worthy masterpieces using adaptive art tools.
They aren't just adorable, miniature horses can also perform a variety of tasks as service and therapy animals.
The equipment you want can be pricy. Attend the Help Hope Live workshop to unlock your fundraising potential.
Plan Your Visit to Abilities Expo
Don’t miss our life-enhancing exhibits, dynamic workshops and fun events for kids of all ages!
All Day, Every Day
Friday, June 23, 2023
Saturday, June 24, 2023
Sunday, June 25, 2023
Disability Services for Expo-goers
In our efforts to ensure a positive show experience, Abilities Expo endeavors to accommodate the disability community with a host of special show services including loaner scooters, sign language interpretation, free wheelchair, captioning services for the workshop and so much more!
Free loaner scooters are available during show hours on a first come, first served basis. Is your wheelchair in need of a tune-up? Swing by the Free Wheelchair Repair Pavilion for minor maintenance.
American Sign Language interpretation services will be available for those who need translation. All workshops are captioned through CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services.
Large print versions of the exhibitor list and the events/workshops schedule will be available by request at the registration counters.
Assistance Animals Play Critical Role in Disability Community
Animals have become an intrinsic part of the disability community. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent.
All About Service Dogs
Presented by: Kristin Hartness, Executive Director, Canines for Disabled Kids
Friday, June 23: 12:00 - 12:45 pm
Saturday, June 24: 12:00 - 12:45 pm
Discover how service dogs are meeting the needs of people with many different disabilities. Find out the many ways service dogs can help achieve independence in people's lives—from picking up a cell phone to providing physical stability, even counting money! Service dogs are available for many different types of disability, including vision and hearing loss, mobility, autism and seizure/allergy alert. Learn about funding support, the process to acquire a dog and what to expect from your service dog provider organization.
Equine Therapy for All
Presented by: Presented by: Carla Johnson, EdD and The Legacy Ranch
Saturday, June 24: 4:00 – 4:30pm
Horses can provide support to people in many different ways. Therapies and programs exist that assist people with all types of disabilities through occupational and physical therapy, mental health care, therapeutic riding, and competitive opportunities. Come learn about the many options available! Including hippotherapy, equine-assisted therapy, life skills, and more! Plus, you'll discover the unique ways that just being around horses can boost self esteem. Horses will be available for attendees to meet and learn about.
Miniature Therapy Horses
Presented by: Jodie Diegel, RN, MBA, SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program
Saturday, June 24: 1:00 - 1:30 pm
Sunday, June 25: 1:00 - 1:30 pm
Did you know horses can help people with disabilities?! It's true! Horses help in many ways and miniature horses have been gaining attention for their strength as therapy animals. Come meet some "mini's"! Learn why they are "horses" (not ponies) as well as the types of tasks they can perform as service and therapy animals. Time is included to meet the equine staff who will be visiting with their human counterparts.
Learn the Latest Adaptive Dance Moves
Dancing is great for the body, and even better for spirit!
Presented by: Trish Strong and Jill Waller, Dance Instructors, Dance Center Evanston
Friday, June 23: 2:00 - 2:30 pm
Experience the joy of movement in a safe and fun environment! Engage in dance exercises and also explore building emotional expression through movement. The instructors will lead you through a warm-up, stretching, improvisation and creative movement, simple ballet-based movements, an obstacle course, and a cool down. Attendees will learn how dance improves social integration, spacial awareness, and proprioception.
Presented by: Momentum Dance Studio
Sunday, June 25: 2:00 - 2:30 pm
Join us for an adaptive dance performance by dancers from Momentum Dance Studio! Then it's your turn to try a mini dance class, focusing on stretching, building inner core strength, and enjoying the movement and music of dance! The studio has been teaching adaptive dance for 14 years and they offer adaptive classes and performance opportunities designed specifically by children and young adults with disabilities.
Get in the Game with Adaptive Sports
The sidelines are no place for you so take your pick from a variety of interactive, adaptive sports. You'll get the blood pumping, improve fitness and build confidence…
and the fun factor is off the charts!
Adaptive Standing Tennis
Presented by: Jeff Bourns, American Amputee Tennis Player, JeffBourns.com, and Babolat
Saturday, June 24: 3:00 - 3:30 pm
Adaptive Standing Tennis is a form of tennis for individuals with physical disability who play the sport of tennis standing, or ambulatory. This newly emerged form of tennis allows individuals with physical challenges such as amputations, cerebral palsy, or hemiparesis to play tennis. Come discover this new sport, try it for yourself, and be part of the growth of adaptive sports. All abilities welcome!
Presented by: Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA)
Friday, June 23: 3:00 – 3:45 pm
Pickleball is a fun sport that is gaining popularity among people of all ages. Players use a paddle and wiffle ball plus a sport chair if needed. The game combines elements of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Come try pickleball for yourself and see if this could be your new adaptive sport! Sports chairs not required—feel free to try the sport using your everyday chair.
Sled Hockey Demonstration
Presented by: Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA)
Saturday, June 24: 3:00 - 3:30 pm
Sled hockey follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception some of the equipment. Players sit in specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades, and the players use two sticks instead of one. See the equipment, hear from coaches, ask questions and find out how you can get started playing sled hockey!
Presented by: SRA Lab Adaptive Sports and Fitness Program
All Day, Every Day
Come on by to try a variety of adaptive sports! At the Sports Zone you'll discover equipment and staff support so you can try several different sports. Featured sports will include boccia, cycling, and basketball. The Sports Zone is organized and presented by the Adaptive Sports and Fitness department from Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. The Zone will be open whenever the show is open!
Presented by: Chicago Bears Wheelchair Rugby Team
Sunday, June 25: 11:45am – 12:30pm
Wheelchair rugby is often described as a combination of football, hockey and basketball in a wheelchair. Any individual with impairments in three or more extremities may be eligible to play. This may include but is not limited to spinal cord injury, post-polio and cerebral palsy. Enjoy a demo of this dynamic sport and even try it out for yourself!
WOW Wheelchair Fitness Class
Presented by: Justin Graham, Certified Personal Trainer, Creator, W.O.W. Wonders on Wheels
Friday, June 23: 1:00 - 1:30 pm
Saturday, June 24: 2:00 - 2:30 pm
Ready to have a lot of fun and work out at the same time? Come experience a WOW Wheelchair Fitness Class! The class features movements for seated students and is taught by a seated instructor. Featuring elements of weight training, Zumba, and pom-pom dance. Standing participants are also welcome!
Experience Creativity at the Artists Market
The area's most celebrated artists with disabilities will feature an eclectic mix of original, unforgettable artistry. From paintings to photos to poetry and more, their amazing works will be available for appreciation and purchase.
Artfully Gifted, Artist Market Sponsor
Artfully Gifted is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports and promotes artists with disabilities. The organization provides an avenue for disabled artists to show and sell their work. Artfully Gifted is currently located at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education at Roosevelt (ICRE-R) in Chicago.
In addition to housing the Artfully Gifted Storefront, ICRE-R offers two programs aimed at improving the independent functioning and facilitating vocational outcomes for people with disabilities. The first program is a residential program for transition-aged youth with physical disabilities; the second program is a day program called the Vocational Initiative Program (VIP) that includes individuals with a wide variety of disabilities, autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, as well as physical disabilities. Artfully Gifted works with both programs to provide comprehensive services for artists like the individuals featured at this year`s Expo.
David Farber, Photographer
David's interest in wildlife and nature photography began at the age of 13 and has been his passion for the last 42 years. Not even his 1981 motorcycle accident which left him a triplegic could distract him from one of the great loves of his life. Able only to move his right arm, David shoots photos with the help of a utility frame to hold his camera and sipping tube to take the picture. His one functioning hand never has to leave the focusing ring. David also does all his own processing, mat cutting and frame building. For more information, visit Naturally Farber Photos at www.naturallyfarberphotos.com.
Directions From the North:
Take 294 South or 94 East. Take 90 (Northwest Toll way) West. Exit on 53 North. Take first exit - Algonquin Road – and turn right/West. Turn left on Thoreau Drive or Meacham Road.
Directions From Chicago:
Take I-90 (Northwest Toll way) West from Chicago. Exit on 53 North. Take first exit - Algonquin Road – and turn right/West. Turn left on Thoreau Drive or Meacham Road.
Directions From O’Hare Airport:
Exit airport and take I-90 (Northwest Toll way East. Exit on 53 North. Take first exit - Algonquin Road – and turn right/West. Turn left on Thoreau Drive or Meacham Road.
Directions From the West:
Take I-90 (Northwest Toll way) East. Exit on 53 North. Take first exit - Algonquin Road – and turn right/West. Turn left on Thoreau Drive or Meacham Road
Directions From the South:
Take 294-N - Merge on 290 West. Exit on Algonquin Road- turn right/ West. Turn left on Thoreau Drive or Meacham Road.
For maps and directions, please visit google.
Parking and Drop-off
To access complimentary parking, enter the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center (RSHCC) and proceed to the convention center entrance located on the East end of the complex by following the posted signage. If you would like to drop of any passengers before you park, please do so at the entrance facing North and just to the East of the ballroom entrance. Then proceed to the outdoor lot all around the building.
Self Parking is free. If you would prefer to valet your vehicle, the costs are $13 for daytime valet and $17 for overnight.
Transpo to the Expo
Free Shuttle from Arlington Park Station Provided by SCR Medical Transportation, Inc.
Accessible, round-trip transportation from Arlington Park Station to Abilities Expo will be provided free-of-charge to expo-goers travelling to the event by public transportation.
Friday, June 23: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 24: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, June 25: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Two vans each holding 2 wheelchairs plus seating for 5 additional passengers will run on a continuous loop between Arlington Park Station and the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center during the hours of operation. If the van is not at the train station when you arrive, please wait at the location indicated by onsite signage for its return.
Each shuttle will feature an Abilities Expo sign prominently in the window. Travelers should exit the train at Arlington Park Station and proceed to Shelter A (pictured below) to meet the shuttle.
If the van is not at the train station when you arrive, please wait at Shelter A for its return.If you have questions during the event, please contact:
- Corey on Friday (773) 768-7000 x3030
- Mcintosh on Saturday (773) 768-7000 x3014
- Joy on Sunday (773) 768-7000 x3103
Public Transportation Accessible travel
Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) oversees the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, Pace Suburban Bus and Pace ADA Paratransit. Please visit https://www.rtachicago.org to plan your itinerary.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation's second largest public transportation system and covers the City of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs. Click here for details on accessible transit. Please visit https://www.transitchicago.com/ to plan your itinerary.
Metra provides accessible travel all over Chicagoland and most of its stations are wheelchair accessible. Click here for details. Please visit www.metrarail.com to plan your itinerary. The closest train station to the Schaumburg Convention Center is the Arlington Park station on the Metro Union Pacific Northwest line.
Pace ADA Paratransit Service
Paratransit service is the general term for a reservation-based or "demand-response" service in which a passenger must reserve a ride in advance. Unlike fixed-route service, in which buses travel the same route in a regular pattern and pick up any waiting passengers, paratransit vehicles make only pre-arranged trips for riders who are eligible for the particular service. To apply for paratransit certification, click here.
Trips are only provided at the same times and within the same geographic areas as fixed route. Pace operates this service across the entire six-county region, including Chicago. Once certified, access this directory of reservation phone numbers to book your paratransit ride. Please click here for details and fares.
Pace Suburban Bus Service
All Pace fixed routes are accessible for persons who use mobility aids and service is available in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Please visit www.pacebus.com to plan your itinerary.
Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) is provided by the Village of Schaumburg and Pace's Suburban Bus Division. Schaumburg's signature transit service has evolved over the years into one of the few community-operated bus services in the Chicagoland that provides door-to-door access to any location in Schaumburg. To schedule a ride using DART, call 847-352-8097. Rides can be reserved on the same day as travel, at least 90 minutes prior to your desired pick-up time. Each bus can accommodate two wheelchairs. There is no service on Sundays.
The Village of Schaumburg provides free accessible service from the Woodfield Mall to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. The trolley runs during show hours every 20 minutes on Saturday and every 30 minutes on Friday and Sunday. The Woodfield Mall stop is located on the lower level between Nordstrom and J.C. Penney. This may be a viable option for those travelling to Abilities Expo via public transportation and are having issues with the timing of the Pace Bus. Please visit the Woodfield Trolley website for more information or call (847) 923-3880.
Traveling from the City of Chicago
If you are traveling to the Expo from Chicago, here is an itinerary consider:
- Take the CTA Blue Line to Rosemont CTA Station.
- Then take the 606 Pace Bus to Perimeter Dr & West Dr (Woodfield Mall)
- Catch the trolley to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center (details above)
Meet the Ambassadors
Local disability activists spearhead Abilities Expo's community outreach initiatives.
Kim Brown is a Senior Business Analyst for Commonwealth Edison for eight years. Prior to coming to ComEd, Kim worked for Chicago Public Schools as a Teacher and Reading Coach. Kim is also the former State Coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Program as well as Ms. Wheelchair Illinois 2012.
Mike Ervin is a writer and disability rights activist living in Chicago. His plays have been produced in theaters across America.
Vanessa Harris, P.E. is an able-bodied/disabled licensed professional engineer and artist who creates short documentaries which can be seen at Fun 4 the Disabled to inspire joy for disabled and non-disabled persons alike about fun topics.
For some it would seem like an impossible situation being told that you would never walk again and not to bother, but for Vincenzo it was a challenge worth meeting head on. The former aspirations of becoming an EMT were a thing of the past as, after a fall and a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy, he was paralyzed on his whole right side. It would take around five years for Vincenzo to be able to gain enough function in his arm to use a manual wheelchair and begin his journey into a new life he never thought was possible.
National Disability Law Ambassador
Stephanie Woodward is a passionate Disability Rights activist and proud disabled person. She is the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights, Inc. (CDR) a disability led, not-for-profit Corporation that works for national, state, and local systemic change to advance the rights of people with disabilities.