• Abilities Expo Houston Event
    August 3 - 5, 2018
    NRG Center, Hall E
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

FREE workshops!

Plan your Abilities Expo experience today!

Here's what we did in 2017. Stay tuned for 2018!

Please check back three months
before the Expo for the new schedule.

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.

The Art of a Hobby: How to Make the Creative World Accessible to You

Artist Market

Presented by: Eric Clow, Project Coordinator, VSA Texas and artists Dee Franklin and Drew Bedo

Do you want to create art but don't know where or how to get started? Are you intimidated by the highly competitive, physical world of the arts? Then attend our workshop and learn the secrets to success from real, productive artists with disabilities. Musician Eric Clow, photographer Drew Bedo, and mixed media artist Dee Franklin will share tips, tricks, and workarounds they used to make their arts accessible. See how these artists found creative solutions to the roadblocks they encountered in the arts. Learn more about the resources they found to help them along the way. Hear stories of success and failure. No matter the obstacles in your path, there is always a way. In our workshop, we will share stories and tools, show concrete examples of success, and encourage you to unlock your own creative passions.

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities


Presented by: Deborah Nowinski and Maria Town, Director, Office for People with Disabilities, City of Houston

Join emergency management officials and disability advocates at a vital workshop for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers on personal and community preparedness strategies for hazards like hurricanes, tornados, fire, flooding, severe storms, and more. Regional experts will provide information and resources on drafting your own emergency plan that incorporates your disability needs, establishing personal support teams, personalizing disaster supply kits, evacuation/shelter-in-place considerations, and community stakeholder engagement opportunities. Join us and become more resilient in the face of disaster! For national resources visit ready.gov (click on Emergency Preparedness).

Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum: An Insider's Perspective

Presented by: Nicholas Guillerman, MEd Graduate Student at the University of Saint Thomas-Houston, Engineering Teacher/Robotics Coach at Katy Independent School District

People living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families will be provided a unique hands-on workshop from a person with the aforementioned diagnosis. In the presentation, individuals receive insight on topics related to the advantages of having ASD in the workplace, as well as implementing effective strategies for the following: wealth management, retirement options, maintaining effective communications with potential employers, sustaining a professional appearance, and scheduling effective routines. The presenter will share his personal experiences in success with such subjects, as well as convey professional-level educational techniques.

Service Dogs in Public Places: Your Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Service Dogs in Public Places: Your Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Presented by: Marisa Demaya, Deputy Director, Southwest ADA Center at ILRU, a program of TIRR Memorial Hermann

Discover where service dogs and emotional support animals are allowed in public and housing related settings, and learn under what circumstances they may be excluded and what types of documentation may be requested of owners through common scenarios. This session is designed for consumers, service dog owners, emotional support animal owners and generally anyone who wishes to understand what the rights and responsibilities are in public and housing related settings. It aims to dispel some of the more common myths regarding service dogs/emotional support animals in public places; where they are allowed or may be excluded in terms of public accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); certification and registration myths and will discuss determinations of differences between service dogs and emotional support or therapy animals. Learn more at www.southwestada.org.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy 101

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy 101

Presented by: Shannon Kenitz, Executive Director, International Hyperbarics Association

At this session attendees will learn basic information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, what it is, how it can help, and how to access this treatment. Extensive research supports that HBOT can benefit numerous conditions including: cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, chronic inflammation, spinal cord injury, sports-related injuries, Autism and more. While this therapy is a standard of care in some developed nations, its use in the United States is sporadic and faces controversy challenges. Hear from Shannon Kenitz who will share her own personal story about how HBOT saved her special needs daughter's life (Grace has a rare mitochondrial condition). A physician co-presenter will detail key research findings, what individuals can expect from treatments, and will answer questions from the audience. Find resources, research links, and learn more at www.ihausa.org and www.shannonandgrace.com.  

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Presented by: Debra Kerper, Easy Access Travel

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 at www.easyaccesstravel.com.

How to Benefit from the IEP System

How to Benefit from the IEP System

Presented by: Karen Mayer Cunningham, Special Education Advocate

This workshop is for parents and caregivers who would like to learn ways to successfully navigate the IEP/ARD process in public schools. Become familiar with the laws and how they apply to your child in the IEP process so you can fully understand your rights and benefits within the special education system. Find out how ways to work with the applicable agencies and ensure the support your child needs as well as access additional support or services that may be available to you. With a comprehensive set of goals and expectations these services can successfully meet your child's unique needs.

Therapeutic Cannabis: Benefits, Legalities and Best Practices

Therapeutic Cannabis: Benefits, Legalities and Best Practices

Presented by: Tracy Ryan, CEO, CannaKids

Cannabis medicine has come a long way giving patients a range of ways to replace or augment pharmaceutical regimens. Learn the basics of cannabis medicine and the importance of individualized dosing protocols specific to a patient's condition. This presentation will open up anecdotal findings on the use of this medicine for many pediatric and adult diseases, while success stories are discussed and evaluated. Furthermore, as the medical cannabis marketplace erupts, clinical research into the benefits of this wonderful plant is becoming more and more of a reality.  Find out what new discoveries have been made, what human trials are to come and what the projected evolution of the future of medical cannabis looks like. Learn more at www.cannakids.org.

Acupressure for Stress Relief: The Seva Stress Release Program

Acupressure for Stress Relief: The Seva Stress Release Program

Presented by: Regina Rosenthal PT, MA, RYT-200

"Acupressure for Stress Relief: The Seva Stress Release Program" is a presentation where you will learn and experience how to use a simple, easy to perform acupressure program, which will help you to: manage and relieve stress; reduce anxiety, pain, and tension.

Putting Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues to Sleep

Putting Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues to Sleep

Presented by: Jay Gupta RPh, MScIM, MTM, RxYT & Terry Gupta MSW, RxYT, RMT

"Putting Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues to Sleep" is a unique seminar that brings the best wisdom of the west and the east to help you enjoy a deeply restorative sleep. The presenters will help you to recognize the causes and complications of sleep issues, learn more about the important cautions for prescription sleep medications, OTCs and herbal remedies and be empowered to use tested strategies and practices to bring your body to a stage of deep rest.

Protected Tomorrows: Future Care Plans

Presented by: Mary Anne Ehlert, Expert in Special Needs Planning and Services

"Protected Tomorrows: Future Care Plans" is a presentation that will be uplifting, educational and provide important facts families need to know. Participants will walk away with a foundation for their family's personal future care plan. Topics of discussion include: preparing legally and financially, maximizing government benefits, healthcare (Medicare/Medicaid), employment, housing, and social outreach.

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