AUGUST 6-8, 2021

NRG Center, Hall E

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

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FREE workshops!

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today

Take advantage of Free Workshops that focus on everything from tips for traveling with a disability and the benefits of standing to how you can get the best accessible vehicle.

Workshops are FREE! All attendees are welcome – you don’t need to register or sign up in advance. Just arrive early to the workshop to make sure you can get a seat!

There is so much more happening at Abilities Expo! Be sure to check out the FREE Events for demonstrations of adaptive sports, dancing, assistance dogs, horse therapy – and more. Most events include time for attendees to participate!


  • Certificates of participation are available for all workshops. Please see the Accessibility Help Desk following each workshop for your certificate. (Please note there are no CEU approved courses at this year’s Abilities Expo).

* 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 2021.


The Case for Wheels: Selecting the Clinically Appropriate Base

Presented by: Alex Chesney, OTR, Quantum Rehab

Location: NRG Center

Credits: 0.4 CEU

The Case for Wheels

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.

Protecting your Workplace Rights

Presented by: Karen N. Hyman, Houston District Director, Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

Location: Workshop

Protecting your Workplace Rights

The presentation will introduce the audience to the agency, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs or OFCCP, and provide an overview of employee's workplace rights under the laws that OFCCP enforces.  We will also discuss how to recognize employment discrimination based on disability, and what you can do if you believe that you or someone you know is a victim of workplace discrimination.
Learn More: www.dol.gov/ofccp

Metro's Introduction to Travel Training

Presented by: Brandy Arojo & Jamie Williams

Location: Workshop

Metro's Introduction to Travel Training

Travel Training is a free program that shows you "How to Ride" METRO and get the most out of our bus and light-rail services. Group and specialized trainings are also available.
Learn More: https://www.ridemetro.org

Service Dogs: In & Out – Untangling the laws on Public Access

Presented by: Dorey Petty, Service Dogs, Inc.

Location: Events Arena

Service Dogs Workshop

In this workshop we will discuss what a service dogs is, as well as addressing service dogs in the law:

  • Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)
  • Texas statute

We will role play scenarios and discuss appropriate and Inappropriate dog behavior. Fun quizzes – cool prizes

Learn more: https://www.servicedogs.org

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Presented by: Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel

Location: Workshop

11:45am – 12:45pm
Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Would you like to travel the country or the world, but believe you cannot because of your disability? At this workshop you will learn that travel by air, sea and car is a real option for you. The presenter, a professional travel agent who has a disability and has travelled extensively, will share with you how to plan a trip, including what to expect form hotels, rental car companies, cruise lines and the airlines. Learn about the common challenges, methods for addressing them and what the law requires. Attendees will receive recommendations for disability-friendly destinations and accessible travel resources. Be sure to bring your pressing questions and a list of places you'd like to visit.
Learn more: www.easyaccesstravel.com

Understanding Pain Medication

Presented by: Jay Gupta
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

Location: Workshop

Critical Situations for People with SCI

Pain is a multi-faceted, complex experience. Control of pain is a critical part of overall health and well-being for those with spinal cord injuries. This session focuses on gaining a better understanding of pain medications and strategies for safe use. Research indicates that learning about pain medications can help in managing pain, preventing emergencies and overdoses and enhancing overall quality of life. 
Learn more: https://www.christopherreeve.org
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @ReeveFoundation

Adapted Fashion Show

Presented by: Lori Thompson, Texas Children's Hospital

Location: Workshop

Join us for a fashion show! We'll be looking at different adapted fashion brands and talking about how adapted fashion can meet the need of every body. You'll have a chance to see how different brands adapt their clothing and discover where and how you can purchase items for yourself!

Medical Marijuana: Making an Informed Decision

Presented by: Bonnie Jensen, MAMMA

Location: Workshop

Informed Decisions on Marijuana

We'll be giving a brief overview of the endocannabinoid system, how CBD/low-THC cannabis (what's legal in Texas) helps the body, choosing quality CBD products, the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP, which is our medical marijuana program) and its recent expansion, and how to research and advocate for your condition.
Learn more: http://www.mammausa.org 

Talking to Your Landlord about Reasonable Accommodations and Accessible Parking

Presented by: Diego Demaya, J.D., ADA Legal Specialist for the Southwest ADA Center, a program of TIRR Memorial Hermann

Location: Workshop

Talking to Your Landlord about Reasonable Accommodations and Accessible Parking

This workshop focuses on how to approach tough housing providers, landlords, homeowner associations, or property management resistant to facilitating Fair Housing Act reasonable accommodations or structural modifications needed by a tenant or owner with disabilities. Attendees will learn about submitting written requests and what language to use for requesting any type of accommodation or modification. Examples include requesting accessible parking, access ramps, or getting permission to have a service or emotional support animal.
Learn More: https://www.facebook.com/swdbtac.ilru/

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)

Location: Workshop

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 

Open Your World With Accessible Travel

Presented by: John Morris, Founder, WheelchairTravel.org

Location: Workshop

Open Your World With Accessible Travel

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

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