Houston

AUGUST 5-7, 2022

NRG Center, Hall E

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

Register for Free

Meet the Speakers for Abilities Expo Houston!

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.

Workshop Speakers
Event Presenters

Event Presenters

Ainsley's Angels of America

Ainsley's Angels of America

The mission of Ainsley's Angels of America is to build awareness about the importance of inclusion, through action, while transforming populations into all-inclusive communities. The organization connects Athlete Riders with Runners so the Athlete Rider can "Roll with the Wind" in life and endurance events. The organization celebrates the fearlessness of the athletes, the normalcy of the family, and the love everyone shares is a therapy like no other!

Event: Roll with the Wind: Ride-Along Race Experience

Art Spark Texas

Art Spark Texas

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

Ayita Wheelchair Dance is a dance class for children who use wheelchairs. Our mission is to inspire, encourage, and build confidence. They are located in Fort Worth, TX.

Event: Ayita Wheelchair Dance Performance and Class

Jeff Bourns

Jeff Bourns

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 Everyone

Causeplay Alliance Project

Causeplay Alliance Project

CAP (Causeplay Alliance Project) is a cosplay, social organization that makes public appearances at charitable events in the Houston community and partners with those local charities to help raise awareness for the causes they support.

Event: Meet Your Favorite Cosplay Characters

Kristin Hartness

Executive Director, CDK

Kristin Hartness

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 Ballet

Houston Ballet

The Adapted Dance program at Houston Ballet takes existing Houston Ballet Education and Community Engagement programs and adapts them to populations with specific needs. Aside from our two on-going programs, trained staff can also partner with Houston-area schools to create a program especially for your students.

Event: Creative Movement

Houston Sword Sports

Houston Sword Sports

Houston Sword Sports is a fencing club dedicated to bringing the Olympic and Paralympic sport of fencing to the people of Houston. Founded in 2015, we offer classes to kids, teens, and adults of all ages in all three fencing weapons: foil, epee, and saber. We incorporate wheelchair fencers into our regular practices, allowing fencers of all ability and experience levels to enjoy this fast-paced and exciting sport.

Event: Wheelchair Fencing

The Rollettes Los Angeles

Rollettes

The Rollettes Los Angeles is a team of women who have created a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient. With dance, community outreach, education programs and content creation they dazzle and push the boundaries that others place in the way. Their mission statement is: Women Empowering Women with Disabilities to Live Boundlessly and Shift Perspectives Through Dance.

Event: Dance with The Rollettes Los Angeles!

Texas Technology Access Program (TTAP)

Texas Technology Access Program (TTAP)

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

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

YMCA of Greater Houston

Founded in 1886, the YMCA of Greater Houston has always been a place where all people can find hope, fellowship, and healing. Programs that meet the needs of the Greater Houston community: The Y is focused on impacting everyone in our community. That's why we offer a variety of programs, classes, and services. YMCA programs bring people together to develop strong, positive relationships with others in their neighborhoods and communities.

Event: Low Impact Combo Adaptive Fitness Class

Workshop Presenters

Mark Lichter, AIA

Director of Architecture, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

Mark Lichter, AIA

Mark has been with PVA since 2002, prior to which he had over 15 years of design and construction experience as a project architect in the private sector. With PVA, Mr. Lichter has successfully ensured maximum accessibility consulting on countless major facilities including many National Memorials, large medical centers, high profile professional and college sports arenas, numerous Federal buildings, as well as residential projects. As a member of the National ANSI A117.1 Committee, Mr. Lichter helps write the most widely used building code on accessibility in the country. He was also selected to serve on the Federal Courthouse Access Advisory Committee where he chaired a task group that developed new accessible courthouse design standards for the Federal Government. Mr. Lichter has written many articles on the topics of both accessibility and medical center design. He was the technical advisor for PVA's popular book: Accessible Home Design: Solutions for the Wheelchair User, Second Edition. Mr. Lichter is a licensed architect. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Maryland and a Master of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech).

Workshop: Accessible Home Design: The Basics

Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT

Jay Gupta is the Director of Pharmacy & Integrative Health at a health center in New Hampshire. He is also the President of YogaCaps, Inc. and RXRelax. Jay is a pharmacist, medication expert, DePrescription leader and international speaker. He has been recognized by Cardinal Health, by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and by Next Generation Pharmacists/Pharmacy Times for excellence in integrative therapies. His clinical trial in 2020 studied the effects of therapeutic telehealth yoga for healthcare professionals during a pandemic and indicated significant reduction in anxiety, depression, insomnia, and PTSD symptoms.

Workshop: Making Mindfulness Meaningful, presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT500

Terry Gupta, MSW, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT500

Terry Gupta is a social worker, nonprofit leader, national speaker, and nationally certified educator of yoga teachers. She is the Executive Director of YogaCaps, Inc. and the Managing Director of RXRelax. Her adaptive yoga and mindfulness programs have been recognized as best practice models by the Citizens Bank Foundation, the State of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Business Review.  She received a 2021 AmplifiHER Community Impact Award from the NH Women's Foundation for fostering resilience in the state of NH during the pandemic.

Workshop: Making Mindfulness Meaningful, presented by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Codi Mendenhall

Student and Disability Advocate

Codi Mendenhall

Codi is in 9th grade at Grand River Academy - an online school. Codi enjoys hanging out with her friends, shopping, swimming, adaptive snowboarding, doing crafts, social media, and riding her tandem electric tricycle ("eTrike" for short). Codi and her mom Jen were presenters for TEDx Grand Junction in March of 2020. Their talk, "Codi's Life: From Coding to Communication Technology", was selected to be on TED.com.  Codi was interviewed on Colorado Public radio using her AAC to speak about going back to school after Covid. She used her AAC in a commercial for Code Ninjas, a National Coding Program, as well as two Mesa County Valley School District #51 School Board meetings to advocate for Adapted PE teachers and give an informative presentation about the yearbook group at her school. She was featured in the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering Newsletter, Ride Designs Newsletter and Move United and Directions magazines. Most recently she was in an ATAP National AT Awareness Day video.

Workshop: A Technology Journey - Discover How AT and AAC Devices Help!

Jen Mendenhall

Mom and Disability Advocate

Jen Mendenhall

Jen is 53-year-old mom of a very determined and sassy 15-year-old daughter, Codi. Codi has Cerebral Palsy and uses many forms of assistive technology (AT). Jen and Codi were presenters for TEDx Grand Junction in March of 2020. Their talk, "Codi's Life: From Coding to Communication Technology", was selected to be on TED.com. Both are current members of the Colorado Technology First Council and the Colorado Assistive Technology Coalition. Jen is a parent member of the Colorado Governor's State Rehabilitation Council, the Parent/Family Lead for the Colorado Office of Employment First Curriculum Training grant and member of the Colorado Department of Education Sequencing of Services Pilot Program for their local school district. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University and a MS in Public Administration from the University of AK.

Workshop: A Technology Journey - Discover How AT and AAC Devices Help!

Ruth Rathblott, MSW, DEI Certified, TEDx Speaker

Ruth Rathblott, MSW, DEI Certified, TEDx Speaker

TEDx and Inspirational Speaker, Ruth Rathblott, MSW is an award-winning CEO who is committed to creating inclusion for all. Ruth was born with a limb difference and currently speaks on issues of inclusion and diversity, the gifts of being unique, the freedom of accepting your differences, and rising above life's challenges. She is a leader who has spent her entire career focused on providing opportunities for those who face obstacles. Ruth has been a leader in nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goucher College and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University. Visit her website to discover more.

Workshop: The "CURE" to Inclusion

Andre Sam

Disability & Special Needs Project

Andre Sam

Andre Sam is a comprehensive Disability & Special Needs Planner with SilverTree Special Needs Planning. Upon earning a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Arizona, Andre began a career in comprehensive disability and special needs planning.  Andre has been in the industry for seven years working with individuals and families with special needs and disabilities. Andre is currently part of a non-profit organization called the Special Needs Education & Advocacy Project.  Through this non-profit organization, Andre gives back by donating his time during evenings and on the weekends sharing his knowledge by providing complimentary educational presentations to organizations and groups who have loved ones that are part of the special needs and disability community. Learn more about the Disability & Special Needs Project.

Workshop: Disability and Special Needs Planning Made Easy

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