Dallas

DECEMBER 1-3, 2023

Dallas Market Hall

Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Register for Free

Meet the Event Speakers!

Meet the speakers for the events at Abilities Expo - presenters of the all-day activities, demonstrations, and events at the show! They are people whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Many are recognized nationally and within their state for their ongoing work with people with disabilities. All our speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field, or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.

There's a lot to explore at Abilities Expo! Also check out the Exhibitors and Workshops.

* PLEASE NOTE dates, times, presenters, and topics of events are subject to change without notice. Abilities Expo is not responsible for the materials or opinions of the speakers.

Art Spark Texas

Art Spark Texas Bio Photo

Art Spark Texas challenges perceptions of how people contribute by creating an arts-inspired, inclusive community of individuals with diverse abilities. Their vision is to foster equity across all cultural sectors of society, we believe that arts experiences enhance the skills, confidence, and quality of life for all people, and our goal is to ensure that these experiences are fully accessible, welcoming, engaging, and respectful. Visit their website for programs, classes, artist awards, and more.

Event: Artist Market

Ayita Wheelchair Dance Ayita Wheelchair Dance  Bio Photo

Ayita Wheelchair Dance is a dance class for children who use wheelchairs. Their mission is to inspire, encourage, and build confidence. Ayita offers dance classes at their Fort Worth, TX dance studio.

Event: Ayita Wheelchair Dance Performance and Class

Jeff Bourns

American Amputee Tennis Player

Jeff Bourns Bio Photo

Jeff Bourns is a former competitive amputee tennis player and adapted mobility tennis instructor. Bourns competed at international level tournaments and events in a newly organized category of play in tennis, Adaptive Standing Tennis. Adaptive Standing Tennis is tennis for individuals with physical challenges such as amputations, cerebral palsy, or hemiparesis who play the sport ambulatory. Jeff retired in 2019 with a World Rank of 4 in his category and was the first American to compete internationally in this newly emerging category of organized tennis.

Event: Tennis for All

Dallas Wheelchair Tennis Club

Dallas Wheelchair Tennis Club

Dallas Wheelchair Tennis Club is the oldest remaining wheelchair tennis club in Texas and one of the oldest in the country. With 45 years of experience, the club guides the sport of wheelchair tennis in the Dallas region. The club coordinates play in the area for new players as well as experienced recreational and competitive players.

Event: Tennis for All!

Jamie Bunch Elliott

Wheelchair Pickleballers

Wheelchair Pickleballers

Jamie Bunch Elliott was a standing pickleball player for 11 years until a spine surgery gone bad caused a spinal cord injury in 2019. She now plays pickleball in a sports wheelchair! Jamie works in the Dallas region to organize opportunities for wheelchair pickleballers to play. Join her Facebook Group to learn more.

Event: Wheelchair Pickleball

Pam Fontaine

U.S. Paralympian and Paralympic Medalist

Pam Fontaine

Pam Fontaine is a United States Paralympian in the sports of table tennis and wheelchair basketball, as well as an avid recreational player of wheelchair pickleball. She is a Bronze Medalist from the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. Together with Jamie Bunch Elliott, she works to increase opportunities for wheelchair pickleball in the Dallas region.

Event: Wheelchair Pickleball

Drew GarzaDrew Garza

The HockEYE Guy Foundation

Drew is director of the Dented Puck Foundation, alternate captain of the Dented Pucks Hockey Team, COO of the HockEYE Guy Foundation, legally blind, and created the first Blind Hockey event outside of USA Hockey. Even as visually impaired ex-hockey players, those of us at The HockEYE Guy Foundation and The Dented Puck Foundation would never have thought that we could play the sport we grew up playing before sight loss ever again. To us, the ability to play our game again gave us all a new sense of life, and a new purpose, to grow our game into what sled hockey has become in 2022. The sport is in its infancy in the United States, and around the world. Our neighbors up north in Canada developed the game in the 70's. Our goal is to become a Paralympic sport by 2026 or 2030. The HockEYE Guy Foundation and The Dented Puck Foundation are sister organizations that, while dually purposed, serve the blind hockey community. The HockEYE Guy Foundation focuses on travel, lodging, and educating the public about blind hockey. Whereas The Dented Puck Foundation focuses on tournaments, a podcast, and educating the hockey community.

Event: Blind Hockey

Justin Graham, NASM-CPT, FNS

WOW Wheelchair Fitness

Justin Graham, NASM-CPT, FNS

Justin Graham, creator of WOW Wheelchair Fitness, is a Certified Personal Trainer who has been working with the disability community since 2018. He has taught classes with Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA), Triumph Sports Festival, Ability360 in Phoenix, Spina Bifida Association, and the Abilities Expos shows around the country. His dynamic charm attracts everyone to join his wheelchair fitness classes, combining strength training with dance, pom-poms, and just plain fun! Justin teaches fitness classes daily on the virtual platform WOW Wheelchair Fitness, which provides consistent, organized fitness and personal training via online sessions to increase healthy happiness in the disability community! Whether seated, standing or rolling, W.O.W. is designed for everyone to use! Justin excels at enticing even the shyest student to play along and get valuable exercise. Justin is based in Phoenix, AZ where he teaches live classes and one-on-one personal training in addition to his online classes. His joyous energy is a gift, bringing people of all ages and abilities together to dance with their peers.

Event: WOW Wheelchair Fitness Class

International Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations Federation

Justin Graham, NASM-CPT, FNS

The International Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations Federation (IJJWLF) provides opportunities for those living with a limitation to better their lives through the art of Jiu Jitsu. We also believe that life should be balanced and eating well and connecting with nature are important to understanding our true potential and what our bodies and mind can achieve. IJJWLF has several projects including the Para Jiu Jitsu Magazine. It was created to help educate the readers about the different limitations in our community and how Jiu  jitsu helps them live with their altered lifestyle.

Event: Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations

Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, CDK

Kristin Hartness Bio Photo

Public awareness and education are very important to CDK – so important that they travel the country to talk to students of all grade levels, civic groups, religious groups, and businesses about assistance dogs. CDK also offers different ways to help educate the public about service dogs including Educational Presentations, Booth Event Participation, Americans with Disability (ADA) consulting. Members of CDK staff and volunteers travel all over the country for these opportunities. Please contact us to learn more about how we might participate in your school, business, or community event.

Event: All About Service Dogs

Houston Apollos Wheelchair Lacrosse

Houston Apollos Wheelchair Lacrosse Houston's Adaptive Lacrosse Team is an amateur wheelchair sports team. The team was founded in 2017 by Louis Nicolosi who is a certified lacrosse coach and a rehab physical therapist and Kevin McConnell, also a lacrosse coach. The team offers frequent practices and clinics for youth and adult players as they work to expand awareness of the sport. The sport is still new, and as a result the governing body, the WLUSA, allows up to three players without physical disabilities and five players who are differently abled to play on teams.

Event: Wheelchair Lacrosse

Jasmine's Beat Adaptive Dance Company

Jasmine's Beat Adaptive Dance CompanyJasmine's Beat aims to empower people of all ages, sex, race, and ability to embrace the power of dance and healthy movement. We yearn to make aware the avenue of dance for health, emotional self-esteem, and social and physical well-being. We aspire to enable the fusion of any cultural music and dance. We provide education on rhythm, beat and sequence of intercultural dance, as well as promote creativity and self-expression through dance. We formulate goals with customers in terms of time used, type of dance learned, final production, and the means to enlighten others about adaptive dance beyond obstacles. We will assist in facilitating exhibitions of dance creations as well as rehabilitative goals. Finally, our ambition is to be skilled at having fun through dance and to share this skill as a continued passion in the community.

Event: Adaptive Dance Workshop and Performance

ParaCheer Spirit Wolves

Paracheer Bio Photo

ParaCheer Spirit Wolves are cheerleaders and dancers with and without disabilities, working together, side by side, to promote the visibility of ParaCheerleading as a new division and para sport of Cheer. ParaCheer Spirit is a nonprofit organization based in the Midwest providing opportunities for athletes to work together in a mainstream activity for all abilities, strengths, and spirit. Seeing a need for energetic, outgoing persons to have an outlet for their abilities, we formed our ParaCheer organization to provide that spirited opportunity. In 2019, we achieved the ultimate honor - becoming World Champions and winning the Gold Medal for the USA! We focus on making the maximum of strengths and abilities of all our members. Our members and volunteers provide the momentum that helps us show the power for all activities. More information available at paracheerspirit.org.

Event: Adaptive Cheer and ParaCheer

RISE Adaptive Sports

RISE Adaptive SportsThe mission of RISE Adaptive Sports is to assist persons with physical challenges to "Recover, Inspire, Succeed, and Empower" themselves and others by providing inclusive adaptive recreational sports programs. To accomplish the RISE mission at the highest level possible, all RISE programs are FREE of charge for persons with physical challenges and family members or friends.

Event: Sports Zone

Joshua SchneiderJoshua Schneider

The HockEYE Guy Foundation and the Dented Pucks Hockey Team

Joshua Schneider has 15 years teaching experience, an MA in Special Education, is a Level 3 coach with USA Hockey, captain of the Dented Pucks Hockey Team, and Director of the HockEYE Guy Foundation. Even as visually impaired ex-hockey players, those of us at The HockEYE Guy Foundation and The Dented Puck Foundation would never have thought that we could play the sport we grew up playing before sight loss ever again. To us, the ability to play our game again gave us all a new sense of life, and a new purpose, to grow our game into what sled hockey has become in 2022. The sport is in its infancy in the United States, and around the world. Our neighbors up north in Canada developed the game in the 70's. Our goal is to become a Paralympic sport by 2026 or 2030. The HockEYE Guy Foundation and The Dented Puck Foundation are sister organizations that, while dually purposed, serve the blind hockey community. The HockEYE Guy Foundation focuses on travel, lodging, and educating the public about blind hockey. Whereas The Dented Puck Foundation focuses on tournaments, a podcast, and educating the hockey community.

Event: Blind Hockey

Texas Technology Access Program (TTAP) Texas Technology Access Program (TTAP)  Bio Photo

The mission of TTAP is to increase access for people with disabilities and those who are aging to Assistive Technology (AT) tools and services. AT may provide these Texans with more control over their immediate environments; an enhanced ability to function independently; potential access to education, vocation, and employment; and more opportunities for recreation/leisure activities and community engagement. We support and develop programs to improve access, advocacy, and awareness of AT to meet the needs of Texans with disabilities and those who are aging.

Event: Assistive Technology Showcase

Maximiliano Ulloa

Maximiliano UlloaMax has managed multiple employees, large construction projects, and was responsible for the cost accuracy of many multimillion-dollar bids and projects. He has also been studying the art of Jiu Jitsu for over 11 years. He started practicing Jiu Jitsu on his feet in 2009, and has spent the last eight years continuing, and perfecting his journey with a T5 Spinal Cord Injury. All his professional work skills, and knowledge, together with the desire to help others, is what motivated Max to start the IJJWLF Adaptive Jiu Jitsu Federation, Without Limitations projects, and PJJ Magazine. "The progress we achieve for Adaptive Jiu Jitsu is done as a family, together as one. We listen to the community. It's not about making money or seeking recognition. It's about introducing Jiu Jitsu to those with limitations even if we have to test the comforts in our own daily routine. I strongly feel that its Healing, Strengthening, Educating, and Self Defending benefits will help most struggling with a limited lifestyle. I believe in balance though, enjoying the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle without balance is pointless. Everyone should try new things. Try every adaptive opportunity you can find. That's why I'm on a road trip for a couple years to seek out what is available."

Event: Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations

USTA Texas

USTA Texas USTA Texas, located in Austin, is a nonprofit volunteer organization with over 50,000 individual members and over 500 organizational members. Since 1895, USTA Texas has been one of the 17 sections of the United States Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in America. The mission of USTA Texas is to promote and develop the growth of tennis in Texas.

Event: Tennis for All!

Mark Wellman

Adventure Athlete and Paralympian, No Limits Tahoe

Mark Wellman

Mark Wellman is a nationally acclaimed author, filmmaker, and motivational speaker. Despite being paralyzed in a mountain climbing accident, Mark has inspired millions to meet their problems head-on and reach for their full potential. A two-time Paralympian and former Yosemite Park Ranger, Mark's NO LIMITS philosophy encourages individuals to adventure into new horizons; to go beyond the seeming unreachable. Learn more at nolimitstahoe.com.

Event: Adaptive Climbing Wall

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