Houston

August 3 -5, 2018

NRG Center, Hall E

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

Register for Free

Houston, We Have an Expo!

Even better than Tex-Mex, the Houston Abilities Expo brings you out-of-this-world opportunities. It could be the products and tech. It could be the chance to play sled hockey or dance with Auti Angel. It could be the workshops or connections you make with others in the disability community. It's free so join us and register today.

Latest Tech & Disability Products

Abilities Expo brings you thousands of game-changing products, services and technologies all under one roof. Regardless of the type and level of your disability, we strive to provide the resources you need to exceed your own expectations and thrive.

Informative Workshops

Attend free, info-packed workshops on issues that matter. Get tips on travel, home accessibility, medical cannabis and...an ALL NEW session on augmented and virtual reality. This tech is transforming accessibility; learn how it can directly help you. There's more, check it out!

Interactive Events and Features

Find your new favorite pastime at Abilities Expo! Try such inclusive activities as adaptive sports, dance, assistance animals and so much more for the kids of all ages! If something sparks your interest, you can find out how to engage year-round.

Register for Free Today

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.

Cool Show Features

 

Play Activity Area: New!

Kids, this fun play area is just for you! All abilities are welcome to enjoy art activities, adaptive recreation and tons of free play, presented by the Shriners Hospital for Children. Parents will relish seeing their children build social skills. Kids will just have a blast!

Mock Cosplay Competition

Back by popular demand, the cosplay competition is your chance to wow audiences dressed as your favorite character. The sky’s the limit when it comes to cosplay and, if you can incorporate your mobility device into your costume, major bonus points! And, yes, there will be parade.

Climbing Wall: New!

Scale "Mini El Capitan," our completely inclusive adaptive climbing wall! Using his specially designed adaptive equipment, adventure athlete and Paralympian Mark Wellman will help attendees of ALL abilities reach the top. He should know, he's the first paraplegic to summit the real El Capitan!

Are you registered yet?


Jazzy® Zero Turn

The Jazzy® Zero Turn features panted-pending iTurn Technology™ for the ultimate in maneuverability, along with CTS suspension, LED lights, under-seat storage, and feather-touch disassembly for a truly innovative travel scooter.

Come see us at Booth #715 and test ride!

Learn More


Plan Your Visit to Abilities Expo

Don’t miss our life-enhancing exhibits, dynamic workshops and fun events for kids of all ages!

Calendar

 

View the 2018 Houston Abilities Expo Show Directory.

All Day, Every Day

All Day Abilities Expo Exhibits Exhibits
All Day Adaptive Climbing Wall Booth #1031
All Day Artist Market Booth #226
All Day Assistive Technology Showcase Booth #821
All Day Play Activity Area Behind Events Arena, Booth #570
All Day Free Loaner Scooters Service
All Day Sign Language Interpreter Service
11:00am – 4:00pm Free Wheelchair Repair Service

Friday, August 3, 2018

11:45am – 12:45pm Accessible Home Design: The Basics Workshop
12:00pm – 3:00pm Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience Booth #561
1:00pm – 1:30pm Service Dog Demonstration Events Area
1:00pm – 2:00pm Living Well with Chronic Pain Workshop
2:00pm – 2:30pm Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop Events Area
2:30pm – 3:30pm The State of Medical Cannabis in Texas Workshop
3:00pm – 3:30pm Amputee Soccer! A First at Abilities Expo Events Area
3:45pm – 4:45pm Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop
4:00pm – 4:45pm Boccia Ball Events Area

Saturday, August 4, 2018

11:15pm – 11:45pm All About Service Dogs Events Arena
11:30am – 3:30pm Face Painting Next to Events Arena
12:00pm – 12:30pm Ayita Wheelchair Dance Presentation and Class Events Arena
12:00pm – 3:00pm Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience Booth #561
12:45pm –1:45pm Adaptive Sports Zone Events Arena
2:00pm – 2:30pm Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop Events Area
2:30pm – 3:30pm Open Your World With Accessible Travel Workshop
4:00pm – 4:45pm Wheelchair and Ambulatory Tennis Events Arena

Sunday, August 5, 2018

11:30pm – 3:30pm Face Painting Next to Events Area
11:45am – 12:45pm Open Your World With Accessible Travel Workshop
12:00pm - 12:30pm Mock Cosplay Competition Events Arena
1:00pm – 1:30pm Service Dog Demonstration Events Arena
2:00pm – 2:30pm Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop Events Area
2:45pm – 3:30pm Adaptive Badminton Events Arena

Register Today. It's Free!

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!

Special Show Services for People with Disabilities

 

Loaner Scooters and Wheelchair Repair

For those who would like assistance in getting around the show, free loaner scooters are available during show hours on a first come, first served basis. Is your wheelchair in need of a tune-up? Look to the Free Wheelchair Repair Pavilion for minor maintenance.

Sign Language and CART Services

American Sign Language interpretation services will be available for those need translation. Workshops will also offer CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) services where everything spoken by the presenter will be captioned on a large screen.

Braille and Large Print Accommodations

Braille and large print versions of the exhibitor list and the events/workshops schedule will be available by request at the registration counters.

Don't forget to register.

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.

Service Dogs

 

We get by with a little help from our furry friends

Service Dogs Demonstration

Service Dogs Demonstration

Presented by: Allie Keaton, My Service Dog

Friday, August 3: 1:00 – 1:30 pm
Sunday, August 5: 1:00 – 1:30 pm

Discover how service dogs are meeting the needs of people with many different disabilities. Allie Keaton and service dog Amelia will demonstrate how service dogs work to achieve people's independence in various areas of their lives. Find out how these dogs can help with many different types of disability: physical disability, vision and hearing loss, mobility, autism and seizure/allergy alert. Learn how funding works to acquire a dog and what to expect from your service dog provider organization. Bring your questions!

All About Service Dogs

All About Service Dogs

Presented by: Kristin Hartness, Canine for Disabled Kids

Saturday, August 4: 11:15 – 11:45 am

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.
Learn more: www.caninesforkids.org

Must-see so register today!

Learn the Latest Adaptive Dance Moves

Dancing is great for the body, and even better for spirit! Don’t miss your change to get in the groove while improving fitness, strength and endurance.

Inclusive Dance Performances

 

Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop
Ayita Wheelchair Dance Presentation and Class
Pantomime Performing Troupe of the Down Syndrome Association of Houston

Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop

Presented by: Auti Angel, Abilities Expo "Dancebassador", star of Sundance Channel's Push Girls

Auti Angel's FreeStyle Dance Workshop

Friday, August 3: 2:00 – 2:30 pm
Saturday, August 4: 2:00 – 2:30 pm
Sunday, August 5: 2:00 – 2:30 pm

Everyone come dance! Enjoy a dance presentation from Auti Angel - the Abilities Expo "Dancebassador"! Then it's your turn to show us your moves! Auti will lead everyone in her one-of-a-kind workshop. Auti Angel, the pioneer of wheelchair Hip-Hop dancing, has danced with "Straight Outta Compton's" Eazy-E & N.W.A. along with LL Cool J and Ludacris just to name a few. However, her greatest joy comes from dancing with others who also have awesome unique abilities. Dancing crosses the boundaries of age, gender, and physical ability—including individuals using both manual and power wheelchairs. You won't want to miss this unique demonstration and a chance to express yourself through movement!

Ayita Wheelchair Dance Presentation and Class

Presented by: Ayita Wheelchair Dance

Ayita Wheelchair Dance Presentation and Class

Saturday, August 4: 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Meet the young ladies of this amazing Texas-based wheelchair dance troupe! Ayita is a dance class for children who use wheelchairs. Their mission is to inspire, encourage, and build confidence! Abilities Expo is thrilled to welcome these talented young dancers to the show. They will be treating the crowd to thrilling performance. Then it's your chance to join them on the dance floor and learn some new moves at their dance class. Ayita is located in Fort Worth, TX.
Learn more: www.facebook.com/Ayitadance/

Pantomime Performing Troupe of the Down Syndrome Association of Houston

Presented by: Julithe Garrett, Artistic Director, Down Syndrome Association of Houston

Pantomime

Friday, August 3: 12:00pm – 12:30pm

The Down Syndrome Association of Houston (DSAH) Pantomime Troupe has been entertaining the Houston community since 2010. The Troupe consists entirely of adults with Down syndrome who share a love of music, creative movement, and performing for others.

Are you registered?

Unlock Imagination with Face Painting

Treat your kids to a little magic at Abilities Expo! Let them indulge in the fantasy of transforming into a graceful fairy, a mysterious wildcat, a delicate butterfly, a swaggering pirate or choose from another inspired design.

Free Face Painting for Kids

 

Saturday, August 4: 11:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday, August 5: 11:30 – 3:30 pm

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity for your little one to build self-esteem, develop a sense of self-importance and showcase their individuality. If your child has sensitive skin, don’t worry. Only high-quality, non-toxic, professional, FDA-approved theatrical make-ups will be used to capture your son or daughter’s fancy. And when you can convince them to transform back into their real selves, some good old-fashioned soap and water will do the trick.

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. Not only will you get the blood pumping, improve fitness and build confidence, the fun factor is off the charts!

Adaptive Sports

 

Adaptive Climbing Wall
Adaptive Badminton
Amputee Soccer
Adaptive Sports Zone
Boccia Ball
Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience
Sled Hockey and Skate Therapy Joint Demonstrations
Wheelchair and Ambulatory Tennis

Adaptive Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall

Presented by: Mark Wellman, Adventure Athlete, Paralympian, No Limits Tahoe

All Day, Every Day

Adaptive climbing is a sport that is open to people of all abilities! It's not just for experienced athletes. There is no better person to learn adaptive climbing from than Mark Wellman of No Limits.

Adaptive Badminton

Adaptive Badminton

Presented by: Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Adaptive Sports and Recreation

Sunday, August 5: 2:45pm – 3:30pm

Amputee Soccer was invented in the United States in 1980. The sport is now played in more than 40 countries and presents its own World Cup. Members of the U.S. National Team and the Lone State Amputee Soccer Association will join us to showcase the sport. Male and female amputee players are welcome. Field players use forearm crutches and may play the ball with only one leg. 

Amputee Soccer!

Amputee Soccer

Presented by: Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Adaptive Sports and Recreation

Friday, August 3: 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Amputee Soccer was invented in the United States in 1980. The sport is now played in more than 40 countries and presents its own World Cup. Members of the U.S. National Team and the Lone State Amputee Soccer Association will join us to showcase the sport. Male and female amputee players are welcome. Field players use forearm crutches and may play the ball with only one leg. 

Adaptive Sports Zone

Adaptive Sports Zone

Presented by: Houston Parks and Recreation, Adaptive Recreation Department

Saturday, August 4: 12:45 – 1:45 pm

Trying to find the right adaptive sport? Curious about the sports equipment? Seeking a sports program to join? The Adaptive Sports Zone is for you! Featuring athletes, program coordinators and equipment from local adaptive sports program.

Boccia Ball

Adaptive Boccia Ball

Presented by: Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Adaptive Sports and Recreation

Friday, August 3: 4:00 – 4:45 pm

Boccia—pronounced as "botch-ya" or "botch-ee" and also spelled as bocce—is a game by throwing a ball towards a target. It was erst played by the ancient Egyptians with polished rocks. The sport is extremely versatile and inclusive - it can be played indoors or outdoors on a hard, pat surface, in either individual or team play, socially or competitively, up to the Paralympic level. With assistive devices, boccia can be played by anyone, no matter their ability. Come watch a demonstration game and give the sport a try!

Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience

Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience

Presented by: Ainsley's Angels of America

Friday, August 3: 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Saturday, August 4: 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Sunday, August 5: 12:00 – 3:00 pm

Test-drive the Ainsley's Angels athletic ride-along experience! For anyone who would otherwise be unable to experience endurance events - Ainsley's Angels creates "Angel Teams" by pairing Athlete riders with runners to compete in endurance events and road races. The Athlete rider is the core of the team and pulls the runner across the finish line with smiles, cheers and immeasurable inspirational spirit. Be sure to visit the Ainsley's Angels of America booth to sign up to experience the thrill TODAY! First-person-first-served. A limited number of race experience times are available on each day of the Expo.

Sled Hockey and Skate Therapy Joint Demonstrations

Sled Hockey and Skate Therapy Joint Demonstrations

Presented by: STARskaters and Texas Sled Hockey

Saturday, August 4: 2:45 – 3:45 pm

Discover ice skating sports for the disability community with Sled Hockey and Skate Therapy! Sled hockey, also called sledge hockey, was invented in Sweden in the early 1960s by a group of people with disabilities. Members of Team Texas will be on hand to demonstrate the sport and give attendees a chance to play. It follows most of the typical ice hockey rules with the exception of modifications to the equipment and the use of the sleds. The sport is normally played on ice but sleds with wheels will be used for this demo. Skate Therapy provides an on-ice skating experience for children and adults with physical or developmental disabilities. Staff and skaters will share some of the exercises and fun they learn when participating in programs at Houston area ice rinks.

Wheelchair and Ambulatory Tennis

Wheelchair and Ambulatory Tennis

Presented by: Jeff Bourns, International Adaptive Tennis Professional and Houston Parks and Recreation, Adaptive Recreation Department

Saturday, August 4: 4:00 – 4:45 pm

Local Houston players will be on hand to demonstrate wheelchair tennis and teach attendees who would like to learn more. Wheelchair Tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world! It follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. Mixed play with ambulatory players will also be demonstrated. Adaptive sports like wheelchair tennis offer people with all types of disabilities an outlet to play sports competitively and in recreational programs.

Registered yet?

Experience Creativity at the Artist Market

The area's most celebrated artists with disabilities will feature an eclectic mix of original, unforgettable artistry. From paintings, 3-D printed art, jewelry, potpourri, spoons and t-shirts, their amazing works will be available for appreciation and purchase.

Adaptive Art

 

Artist Market sponsor VSA Texas challenges perceptions of how people contribute by creating an arts-inspired, inclusive community of individuals with diverse abilities. They are an expert resource on inclusive arts – creating and maintaining an accessible and open community where everyone can participate. Their goal is to provide support and training to the public, enhance personal growth, and offer Texans access to the creative work of people with diverse abilities. Learn more at www.vsatx.org

Dee Franklin – 3D Prints

Dee Franklin Art

Art, prints, and jewelry on the theme of Fabled Abilities. We aren't invisible in art. We are our own "fairy tales" and have happily ever afters.

https://www.facebook.com/Fabled-Collages-691424531024202/

Doddman Gallery – Paintings and Gift Items featuring his Artwork

Doddman Gallery – Paintings and Gift Items featuring his Artwork

Brian Dodd is an autistic adult who has always loved drawing creatures of his imagination. Brian was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, autism, in October 1992 just shy of his fourth birthday. He attended pre-school at the Westview School, but he was ultimately mainstreamed into HISD. Brian graduated Lamar High School in 2008. Encouraged by his friends, Jay and Sherry Chatfield who own the Copper Cactus in Ingram, Texas, Brian began to put the ideas from years of his drawings of the creatures of his imagination onto canvas in 2009. His works are primarily acrylic on canvas where he shares his sense of humor in the names he gives to his creations. Brian is pursuing his studies at Houston Community College and he continues to paint his own creations. 
http://doddmangallery.com/  

Allison Merriweather Paintings and Prints

Allison Merriweather Paintings

My painting are a form of spiritual meditation. I open my heart to the universe and the universe flows in. When I sit down before a blank canvas I never know what beautiful little world or lovely creature  will appear. My paintings convey the vitality and spirit of a happy moment in time.  Now based in Houston, I am constantly creating which is a satisfying escape from reality. Like my life, my art is completely unpredictable. 
www.allisonmerriweather.com

Alisha Momin – Jewelry and Potpourri

David Saluk

I am Alisha. I have a sense of touch.

Kenneth Vantroba – Cuddle Spoons

Kenneth Vantroba Cuddle Spoons

Cuddle Spoons are spoons that are designed for people with disabilities and without disabilities. They are a gift to share with your special person. Have fun, be happy and create your own priceless memories with them.
https://www.cuddlespoons.com

Younique Abilities – Handmade Items

Younique Hat

We the team at Younique Abilities believe that anyone with a so-called "disability" has a unique ability and can do many great things. You just have to believe in yourself! We sell awareness merchandise some of which is handmade by individuals with unique abilities. Please visit our website for more information or to purchase our awareness products. We donate a portion of our sales back to a local, deserving nonprofit organization at the end of the year.
www.youniqueabilities.com 

Register Today

Getting to Abilities Expo

NRG Center, Hall E
One NRG Park
Houston, TX 77054

Directions, Parking and Transpo

 

Get Directions to the Expo from any Location

For map of NRG Center (Formerly Reliant Center), click here.


View Larger Map 

Directions From the North:

  • Take I-45 (south) or Hwy. 59 (south) to Hwy. 288 (south)
  • Take Hwy. 288 (south) to 610 Loop (west)
  • Take 610 (west) to Fannin or South Main exit
  • Exit and turn right on Fannin or South Main
  • From Fannin turn left on Naomi or Holly Hall
  • From South Main turn right on McNee
  • Enter main gate at Reliant Center

Directions From the South:

  • Take I-45 (north) or Hwy. 288 (north) to 610 (west) to Fannin or South Main exit
  • Exit and turn right on Fannin or South Main
  • From Fannin turn left on Naomi or Holly Hall
  • From South Main turn right on McNee
  • Enter main gate at Reliant Center

Directions From the East:

  • Take I-10 (west) to 610 (south)
  • Take 610 (south) to Fannin or South Main exit
  • Exit and turn right on Fannin or South Main
  • From Fannin turn left on Naomi or Holly Hall
  • From South Main turn right on McNee
  • Enter main gate at Reliant Center

Directions From the West:

  • Take I-10 (east) to 610 (south)
  • Take 610 (south) to South Main or Fannin exit
  • Exit and turn left on South Main or Fannin
  • From Fannin turn left on Naomi or Holly Hall
  • From South Main turn right on McNee
  • Enter main gate at Reliant Center

Parking and Drop-off

To access parking, exit Kirby Drive off of 610, enter property at Kirby and McNee (Gate 10) and proceed straight on Reliant Centerway through the second stop sign. Please follow the signage directing you to take a left under the awning at the first NRG Center (formerly Reliant Center) circle drive if you would like to drop off any passengers. Then, please take a right and park in the Red Lot on the left side (west side) of the center. There will be designated ADA parking spots available as long as you have the appropriate ADA plates/tags. Parking is $12/entry and is subject to change. CASH ONLY. CREDIT/ATM CARDS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Please visit www.reliantpark.com for up-to-date information.

Map of NRG Center

Reliant Park Directions

Transpo to the Expo

Public Transportation Accessible travel

Free Curbside Shuttle Service between the Abilities Expo Hotels and NRG Center:

Provided by NRG Center

Complimentary accessible shuttle service will be offered by NRG Center to service Abilities Expo hotels. Each shuttle can accommodate up to 20 people and two wheelchairs. Service will run continuously one hour prior to the start of the Expo through the end of the show each day.

METRORail:

METRORail provides accessible travel for people with disabilities all over Houston as both the stations and rail cars are easily accessed. On the train, four benches with white embroidered seats with the universal logo of a person in a wheelchair clearly mark the section reserved for wheelchairs. The benches flip up so a person in a wheelchair can glide into that space and sit securely during a ride.

Please click here to plan your itinerary. METRO has a Reliant Center stop.

METRO Busses:

METRO buses have ramps or lifts and two designated wheelchair spaces on every bus. Most busses are “kneeling” buses, which means the bus can lower itself closer to street level, so a person can more easily step on-board. METRO ADA Administrator Ann Dendor recommends that people with a disability look to engage the regular service first because it is so accessible. "We are committed to a public transportation system that everyone can use. We encourage persons with disabilities to take advantage of the freedom, independence, flexibility and reliability that is provided by our accessible bus and rail network," she says. Click here for bus schedules.

METROLift:

People with a disability that prevents them from boarding, riding or disembarking from a regular fixed-route bus—event a bus equipped with a wheelchair lift or ramp—may apply to be eligible for METROLift, METRO's curb-to-curb, paratransit, shared-ride service. More than 6,000 patrons are transported by this service each day.

METROLift uses wheelchair lift- or ramp-equipped vans, four-door sedans and minivans to provide service. Persons using wheelchairs and scooters will be accommodated with lift- or ramp-equipped vans. Boarding chairs are available to assist any patron who is unable to access the van using the stairs. Please note that patrons cannot request specific vehicle types. Patrons who can walk will ride on vans and/or sedans based on which vehicle is nearest the patron at the time the trip is scheduled.

As METROLift is a shared-ride service, each vehicle makes several stops en route to its various destinations. When scheduling, patrons must remember to allow sufficient time to stop and pick up others. A minimum of one hour travel time should be allowed for your trips and two hours for longer trips traveling across the service area. If you have an appointment, it is highly recommended that you move the appointment time one hour earlier to allow for unexpected delays in service.

You may make reservations seven days a week between 5 am and 5 pm. Now, with three ways to book your trip, getting around town has never been easier.

  • Reservations via phone: Call (713) 225-6716 to speak with a representative to book your trip.
  • MACS: Call (713) 225-6716 then press the #1 to use the automated trip scheduling system.
  • MACS-WEB: Schedule your trip online quickly and easily

Private Transportation

Uber WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle)

Phone: (713) 699-0000

Uber has brought in a number of accessible vehicles to accommodate travel to teh Expo. If you need an accessible vehicle, go to your Uber app and, when it tells you to choose a vehicle, keep swiping right until you get to WAV.

United Cab Houston

Phone: (713) 699-0000

Website: http://www.unitedcab.com/wheelchair_taxi.aspx

United Cab offers wheelchair accessible vehicles that accommodate wheelchairs and scooters up to 31" wide. Indicate your preference for a wheelchair accessible taxi when you call in and please note that these vehicles are limited in availability. Regular taxi fares apply for wheelchair accessible taxis and up to three additional passengers ride at no extra charge.

Yellow Cab Houston

Phone: (713) 236-1111

Website: https://houstonyellowcab.com/wheelchair_taxi.aspx

Please specify that you require a wheelchair accessible taxi when you place your order. Each wheelchair accessible Yellow Cab uses a fully modified lowered floor with rear-entry access and accommodates wheelchairs and scooters up to 31" wide. Regular taxi fares apply for wheelchair accessible taxis and up to three additional passengers ride at no extra charge.

Register Today

Meet the Ambassadors

Local disability activists spearhead Abilities Expo's community outreach initiatives.

Ambassador Program

 

Ana Calvo

Ana Calvo

It was at the University of Houston-Downtown that Ana Calvo became the president of the student organization for people with disabilities and, through this role, that she discovered her love for advocating for the rights of others with disabilities.

Ana received her Bachelors in Arts of Social Science with concentrations in Psychology and Sociology and a Minor in Political Science in 2002. She went on to get her Masters in Social Work from the University of Houston College Of Social Work in 2007.

Read More

Michelle Colvard

Michelle Colvard

A native Houstonian, this former Ms. Wheelchair America (2009) and Ms. Wheelchair Texas (2008), graduated Summa cum Laude from the University of Houston and earned her Master's degree in Health Promotion from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Born with spina bifida, Michelle has used a wheelchair since the 6th grade, but those who know her don't think of her as "disabled."

With her background in health research, Michelle emphasizes the importance for everyone to make their own health a priority. She reminds us that those of us who have physical limitations can still be healthy and active. She herself stays active with daily exercise at her gym, and through recreational activities such as snow skiing, wheelchair sports, kayaking and Taekwondo.

Read More

Olga L. Guerra

Olga L. Guerra

My name is Olga L. Guerra and I am a parent of an adult child who has cerebral palsy. I am a very involved parent and have been advocating for Araceli since she was diagnosed at the age of six months. 

Araceli was born “normal,” but as she grew she was not meeting developmental milestones. Her pediatrician suggested we see a neurologist, so we did. Dr. Bohan diagnosed Araceli with microcephaly, but he explained that he was going to label her with CP so she could access more resources. This was Greek to me but I agreed. Little did I know that having the CP label was a good thing. As she grew, she was also diagnosed with mental retardation, speech impairment, an orthopedic impairment and a physical impairment.

Read More

Karen Kain

Karen Kain

Karen Kain—a parent of a medically fragile, vaccine-injured child named Lorrin for fifteen years—teaches parents how to enjoy their children no matter their abilities. She shares how she bridged the gap from special needs to mainstream experiences in all arenas of life: best friends, slumber parties, concerts, camping, beauty pageants, Girl Scouts, school dances, musicals and endless travels.

Karen is committed to helping children who are living a unique life experience by supporting their parents. In 1994, Lorrin was severely vaccine injured and at that time Karen’s world fell apart. Life as she knew it was put “on hold” as she tried everything that she could to “heal” Lorrin and give her the best life possible.

Learn more about Karen at www.lorrinsworld.com.

The Rossiter Family: Ainsley, Briley, Kamden, Rooster and Lori

The Rossiter Family, National Ambassadors

As the first ever National Ambassador Family, the Rossiters are truly honored to represent Abilities Expo across the nation. Ten-year-old Ainsley is an amazing young girl living with INAD, an extremely rare, terminal, progressive disorder of the nervous system. Years ago, Ainsley participated in a marathon where her father, U.S. Marine Major Kim "Rooster" Rossiter, pushed her in her stroller.

Ainsley's elation over the experience was the inspiration for Ainsley's Angels of America, an organization which helps people with disabilities participate in long distance events as a team. They are the "captains" in the wheelchairs pushed by "angels" through the races. Many of you might have met the Rossiter family during the 2014 Houston Abilities Expo, where they offered expo guests the unique opportunity to test drive the Ainsley's Angels athletic ride-along experience created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who normally would not be able to experience endurance events.

Read More

Meridith Silcox

Meridith Silcox

Meridith completed a bachelors degree in psychology with focus in child development and family studies from University of Houston and a masters degree in psychology from University of Houston Clear Lake. During graduate school she began working with special populations at an ABA (applied behavior analysis) clinic. After graduate school she continued to work with special populations in clinics, adult transition programs as well as rehab/ recovery centers. Meridith has worked with many populations of all ages with various diagnosis from autism and other developmental delays, to brain injuries including TBI and acquired. In her current role as Director of Adaptive Programs for the YMCA of Greater Houston, she provides adaptive sports and social opportunities for children and young adults with special needs across the city.

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Stephanie Woodward

Stephanie Woodward

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. Stephanie is also a member of ADAPT, a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom. Stephanie has been arrested multiple times while advocating for Disability Rights.

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