Plan your Abilities Expo experience today
Take advantage of Free Workshops that focus on everything from tips for traveling with a disability and home modifications to the trends impacting accessible vehicle innovation.
There's no need to register - just arrive early to get your seat!
Certificates of participation are available for all workshops. Please see the Accessibility Help Desk following each workshop for your certificate.
* 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.
Here's what we did in 2019.
Check back 3 months out to find out what's in store for 2020.
The Case for Wheels: Selecting the Clinically Appropriate Base
Presented by: Julie Piriano, PT, ATP/SMS, Pride Mobility Products Corp.
Location: Nirvana A, 2nd Floor
Credits: 0.4 CEU
Individuals with chronic medical conditions and long-term disabilities who have a permanent need for a wheelchair require a comprehensive, detailed evaluation of their physical, functional and environmental needs to allow clinicians and ATP suppliers to make appropriate Assistive Technology recommendations for a successful outcome.
There are many factors to consider when making the selection of the appropriate power wheelchair base with an end user. Providers and clinicians need a hands-on awareness of the interaction of all of these factors, and more importantly, how they will come together to either enhance, or diminish the effectiveness of the PMD for their patient.
This course will provide information about each drive wheel configuration and things that clinicians and suppliers need to think about. Participants will then enter the expo hall to experience driving different drive wheel configurations and then regroup to discuss their findings and how the different drive wheel configurations effected the wheelchairs driving in different environmental conditions (indoors, outdoors, etc..). For more information, click here.
The Power of Adventure: Family Travel Success Strategies
Presented by: Sarah Marshall, Skipping Stone Adventures
Summer may be slowly getting to Chicago, but travel season is here and the world is ready for the taking. Join Sarah Marshall, Certified Autism Travel Professional and Accessible Travel Advocate with TravelAble, for an inspiring open discussion about how to experience inclusive travel as a family. Sarah will discuss sensory strategies, how to overcome fear, and the movement in the travel industry towards more family inclusive destinations. Bring questions to join in this lively discussion with a travel expert and mom to a young man who has traveled the world embracing his challenges!
Solving Outdoor Access with Technology
Presented by: Christian Bagg, Bowhead Corp
A conversation about exploring the outdoors with a disability. The difference between adapting or integrating into nature, its effects on the environment and financial feasibility and how people with a wide variety of disabilities can share the same outdoor experience.
Find Your Tribe: The Power of Connections
Presented by: Dr. Sue Mukherjee, Medical Director of Rehabilitation at the Chicago Shriners Hospital for Children, with Amanda Hogle, Recreation Therapist, and Cindy Kolbe, author of Struggling with Serendipity
Learn how to expand your connections at any age and find support through the toughest times as you discover your own ways to thrive! Dr. Sue Mukherjee shares the critical importance of connections and how the Chicago Shriners Hospital highlights community engagement. Amanda Hogle explores the role of recreation (hint: it's more than sports). Cindy Kolbe shares the power of advocacy as a way to connect, plus options for volunteering — at home, in your town, and beyond. Find your tribe!
Presented by: Wayne Broadfield, Paralyzed Veterans of America
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.
Healing from Injury, Trauma, & Surgery with Homeopathy
Presented by: Frank Molignano, CCH
According to the World Health Organization, homeopathy is the second most popular type of Alternative therapy in the world. It is used successfully by millions of people around the globe to treat acute medical conditions and chronic diseases. Homeopathic remedies are made from natural substances, are FDA regulated, do not have any side effects and they're safe for all ages, even animals. Using homeopathic remedies for acute situations such as: from an accident, injury, surgery, etc. can promote faster healing, reduce inflammation and completely manage pain. In longer standing cases it can help heal any residual trauma that is held in the cells and help establish better long-term health and symptom recovery. In this workshop we will discuss how to address injuries and trauma in first-aid scenarios, what remedies to use and how long-term homeopathic care can heal chronic or long-standing emotional trauma or physical injuries.
Learn More: thehealingnarrative.com
Critical Situations for People with SCI
Presented by: Nurse Linda, 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
It can be difficult to know when to call for assistance while dealing with paralysis or spinal cord injury. Messages from the body to the brain can be misdirected or misinterpreted. Recognizing a disguised significant healthcare problem can be challenging. Issues with taking medication properly, cardiac issues or infection can start as small concerns but can quickly escalate to emergently needed care. How to know when a small problem becomes huge is critical information for your health and well-being. Areas of focus include correctly taking medication, irregular heartbeats, blood clots, Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD), pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infection and sepsis. In addition, your questions will be discussed.
Learn More: www.christopherreeve.org
Healthy Living is A Personal Journey: Not Every Path Is the Same
Presented by: Tracy Williams
Sponsored by: Scheck & Siress: Chicago Prosthetic, Orthotic & Pedorthic Care
Do you want to learn the basics of healthy living for people living with disabilities? Tracy Williams, a nutritionist with cerebral palsy, with her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Dominican University will lead a discussion based on her personal experience and her professional knowledge. She also has some nutrition and healthy eating on a budget, positive body image, the importance of goal setting and mindful eating for people living with disabilities. Most Americans are confused about healthy eating, because of the prevalence of fad diets promoted in traditional media, as well as social media. Tracy will give pointers on how you can best avoid fad diets and the confusion that surrounds social media. Tracy will also give pointers on how to shop for the healthiest foods in accordance to your food budget. Tracy will also give pointers on how every person add more sports and fitness to their life no matter their ability. Tracy Williams enjoys inspiring her audiences to live healthier lifestyles.
Learn More: www.tracysplate.com & https://www.scheckandsiress.com
IEP 101: The Parent as the Advocate
Presented by: Nicole Schlechter, Master IEP Coach and Advocate
In IEP 101 we review the structure of an IEP and how the parent can support each part. We will discuss Present Levels, the importance of a solid parent input statement, how to make sure annual goals are effective, placement, accommodations and modifications. I will be offering parents exact words and phrases they can use to get what they want out of a meeting while maintaining rapport with the team. So often I hear parents who are exhausted, frustrated and so OVER the whole IEP process. My goal is the provide the tools parents need to help their child get everything they need!
Learn more: www.NicoleSchlechter.com
The Power of Choice: Self-Advocacy When it Matters Most
Presented by: Mickae Lee, Director, Advocacy and Communication, National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology (NCART)
Have you ever had the chance to say something you felt needed to be said, but let the moment pass you by because you were intimidated or unsure how it would be received? Maybe a doctor recommended a certain treatment you weren't totally comfortable with, but you didn't want to be a difficult patient. Maybe a teacher didn't think certain accommodations were needed even though you knew it would be a huge benefit for your child. Maybe your insurance company didn't approve the cushion you really needed, but you just settled for whatever cushion they did provide. If you've been there, you're definitely not alone. While it might seem undesirable in the moment, speaking up for yourself (or self-advocacy as we like to call it) is a valuable skill that puts the power of choice back into your own hands. Join us as we discuss how to strengthen our ability to decide what happens in our own lives, how to build a support base around our needs, and how to effectively advocate for the outcomes we desire!
Learn more: https://www.ncart.us
Cannabis for Health and Wellness
Presented by: Kiana Hughes, Chicago NORML
This presentation is a discussion of the health and wellness benefits of the cannabis plant. Attendees will learn about the components of the plant, consumption methods, THC/CBD and the endocannabinoid system, effects of cannabis on various parts and systems of the body, and how to qualify for the medical cannabis program in IL.
Open Your World With Accessible Travel
Presented by: John Morris, Founder, WheelchairTravel.org
The world is more accessible than ever, and the travel industry is beginning to recognize that wheelchair users and people with disabilities want to explore it too! This workshop will provide you with information and tools to plan an accessible vacation, opening your world to new experiences and possibilities. Come prepared to participate in an accessible travel Q&A with the presenter, who will bring firsthand knowledge from nearly one million miles flown with a wheelchair. You will leave this workshop with inspiration for your next vacation and tips to make accessible travel enjoyable for all, including your friends, family members and caregivers.
Learn more: www.wheelchairtravel.org