New York Metro

May 3-5, 2024

New Jersey Convention & Expo Center

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

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Meet the Workshop Speakers!

Meet the speakers for the Abilities Expo New York Metro 2024 Workshops! They bring years of experience and knowledge to the workshops they will share with you. Many are recognized regionally and nationally for their ongoing work with the disability community. All Abilities Expo speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field, or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.

Carolyn Beisiegel, COTA/L, C-AAIS, CTRI, CARSS II, DIR-BASIC

Carolyn Beisiegel, COTA/L, C-AAIS, CTRI, CARSS II, DIR-BASIC

Carolyn is certified as an Animal-Assisted Intervention Specialist and is also a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and a Therapeutic Riding Instructor. She has over 10 years of experience working with animals as intervention partners in various settings to optimize client experiences. Though Carolyn has assisted individuals of a variety of abilities and ages, she specializes in pediatrics with extensive background knowledge in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her passion is helping others to maximize their independence. She enjoys leading interventions in nature-based settings to promote a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Carolyn is also a Certified Adaptive Recreation and Sports Specialist II and a DIRFloortime Practitioner. She loves to learn and utilizes her knowledge to create engaging interactions for all.

Workshop: Integrating Animals: How Animals Contribute to Holistic Health

Matthew Castelluccio

Vice President, Community Support, United Spinal Association

Matthew Castelluccio

Matthew Castelluccio is the VP of United Spinal's Community Support Programs. He leads the six-person team of information specialists in the collection and dissemination of extensive on-line and printed materials and the provision of curated, personal guidance on a wide array of topic areas related to living successfully with SCI/D. Aside from his duties as Director, Matt is the founder and Chapter President of the Hudson Valley Chapter of United Spinal Association. Matt suffered a spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident in 2003. Subsequently, Matt has pursued a career in disability advocacy and community program development, including as an Adaptive Sports Coordinator developing recreational program opportunities in New York State and as a Director of Independent Living Services for a New York-based Center for Independent Living. He is a certified ADA coordinator and is active in competitive sports including wheelchair rugby, handcycling, waterskiing and wheelchair softball. He is a devoted husband and father of twin sons. He personally recognizes the benefits of community-based programs to create environments that foster resource sharing and peer support. Matt received a Bachelor of Science with a major in Psychology minor in Business Management from Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ

Workshop: Peer to Peer Manual Wheelchair Maintenance – Tips and Tricks

J.D. Concepcion, ATP

Regional Manager, Stealth Products

J.D. Concepcion, ATP

Gagliardo leads the hospital's 4-season Adapted Sports and Recreation Program, one of the largest and most comprehensive adapted sports programs in the country. Gagliardo has served as a peer mentor for Helen Hayes Hospital patients for 11 years and is an active disability advocate, speaking at conferences and volunteering his time to create change. He is also an avid adapted sports proponent and participant, competing on the Hospital's Helen's Angels handcycling team, completing over 30 marathons, playing an instrumental role in the early development and creation of Roll Call Wheelchair Dance, and encouraging patients of all abilities to be active.

Workshop: Peer to Peer Manual Wheelchair Maintenance – Tips and Tricks

Peter Gagliardo

Adaptive Sports and Recreation Coordinator and Peer Mentor Coordinator, Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital

Peter Gagliardo

Gagliardo leads the hospital's 4-season Adapted Sports and Recreation Program, one of the largest and most comprehensive adapted sports programs in the country. Gagliardo has served as a peer mentor for Helen Hayes Hospital patients for 11 years and is an active disability advocate, speaking at conferences and volunteering his time to create change. He is also an avid adapted sports proponent and participant, competing on the Hospital's Helen's Angels handcycling team, completing over 30 marathons, playing an instrumental role in the early development and creation of Roll Call Wheelchair Dance, and encouraging patients of all abilities to be active.

Workshop: Peer to Peer Manual Wheelchair Maintenance – Tips and Tricks

Torsten Gross

Just Hands Motorsports

Torsten Gross

Torsten Gross is a maverick by every sense of the word. Not happy with the status quo, mixed with his entrepreneurial drive, Torsten thrives in the challenge of the word "no". As C6 Quadriplegic since the age of 15, he has heard that word often, yet still finds his way to "yes". This drive has led him to becoming the worlds only quadriplegic that is a Rescue Scuba Diver, completing 12 marathons in 12 months, and to his latest adventure as a race car driver. In 2023, Torsten competed in International GT, HSR and World Racing League races in his hand-controlled Porsche 981 Cayman. His love of racing landed him in Pennzoil commercials as well as starring in the Amazon Prime TV show Just Hands: For the Love of Racing, a docuseries which follows his journey to becoming a race car driver. Alongside his adrenaline adventures, Torsten has had a successful career as a marketing strategist, currently working as Chief Marketing Officer of MarteriaMX. He is also the co-founder of Just Hands Foundation, a charity which helps hand control drivers get into the world of performance driving. He lives with his wife Maggie and dog Beau, in Sharon, CT.

Workshop: Screening of the Amazon Prime TV Show Coming Spring 2024 - Just Hands: For the Love Of Racing

Kristy Lacroix, Certified Accessible Travel Specialist

Senior Vice President, Mobility and Rehab Services, Independence Care System (ICS) – On A Roll Mobility Services

Kristy Lacroix, Certified Accessible Travel Specialist

Jean is a physical therapist and master clinician well recognized for her work in Assistive Technology (AT). Jean has a passion for insuring that people with a mobility disability have access to the products and services needed to support full participation in life. Jean is the Senior Vice President of Rehab and Mobility Services for Independence Care System, a not for profit, care management agency for persons living with a physical disability in New York City. She leads On A Roll, an OT/PT private practice specializing in seating and wheeled mobility services, serving the metro New York City community. Jean is the coordinator of the Peer to Peer Wheelchair Maintenance Program, funded by the Craig Neilson Foundation, at ICS - Independence Care System.

Workshop: Peer to Peer Manual Wheelchair Maintenance – Tips and Tricks

Jean Minkel, PT, ATP

Senior Vice President, Mobility and Rehab Services, Independence Care System (ICS) – On A Roll Mobility Services

Jean Minkel, PT, ATP

Jean is a physical therapist and master clinician well recognized for her work in Assistive Technology (AT). Jean has a passion for insuring that people with a mobility disability have access to the products and services needed to support full participation in life. Jean is the Senior Vice President of Rehab and Mobility Services for Independence Care System, a not for profit, care management agency for persons living with a physical disability in New York City. She leads On A Roll, an OT/PT private practice specializing in seating and wheeled mobility services, serving the metro New York City community. Jean is the coordinator of the Peer to Peer Wheelchair Maintenance Program, funded by the Craig Neilson Foundation, at ICS - Independence Care System.

Workshop: Peer to Peer Manual Wheelchair Maintenance – Tips and Tricks

Andre Sam

Disability & Special Needs Project

Andre Sam

Andre Sam is a comprehensive Disability and 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

Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN

Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN

Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN is a leader and provider of rehabilitation nursing for 40 years, most recently developing Activity Based Rehabilitation strategies. She has directed programs at an international level, including the Christopher Reeve Recovery Project at Washington University in St. Louis. She is certified by the Association of Rehabilitation Registered Nurses. Dr. Schultz writes the interactive Ask a Nurse blog, an evidence-based community forum, conducts monthly international webinars hosting discussions and questions from individuals with paralysis, and has created emergency pocket cards concerning the topics of sepsis and autonomic dysreflexia, in coordination with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation. As a researcher, Dr. Schultz focuses on the concepts of promoting bladder and bowel continence and skin integrity. She has completed a national analysis of urinary continence in the elderly population utilizing NIH data. The results of these findings have been used to establish protocols by the AHCPR.

Workshop: The Art of Complex Caregiving

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