New York Metro

May 1 - 3, 2020

New Jersey Convention & Expo Center

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

Register for Free

Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers

For the Abilities Expo workshop series, we select presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Their accomplishments precede them and 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.

Krystle Allen, A.S.

Krystle Allen, A.S.

Krystle is the first legally blind, plus-size titleholder for the New York fashion competition and The Face of Kurvacious Ms. Kapable Kurves.

Casey Cashman

US Pain Foundation

Casey Cashman Bio Photo

Casey Cashman has been living with chronic pain for the past 8 years of her life. During her pain journey she has volunteered with multiple organizations as a patient representative to ensure that the patients' voice is always heard. She is recognized as a rising leader in the pain awareness movement. Utilizing the skills she acquired as a Human Resource manager, Casey has made it her mission to empower and support those living with chronic pain. In 2014, Casey became the Volunteer Executive Director of U.S. Pain Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers.. Casey started the Beautify in Blue campaign in order to highlight the bravery of pain warriors everywhere. This campaign seeks to unify the pain community and raise awareness for the 100 Million Americans who live with chronic pain everyday. Casey chooses to fight everyday for the little triumphs, and she jumps over the obstacles and hurdles that are thrown her way on a routine basis. Her son gives her the strength she needs to push through all obstacles as he is her biggest supporter!

Workshop: Friday @ 2:30pm - Pain Management

Millie Gonzalez, M.A.

Millie Gonzalez, M.A.

Millie is Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2019.

Debra Kerper

Easy Access Travel

Debra Kerper Bio Photo

Debra Kerper's desire to pursue a career in Travel for the Disabled came from her personal experience as a physically challenged traveler. Debra has been living with Lupus since the age of 20 and became a below knee amputee at the age of 29. She has undergone over 30 surgeries and has spent much time using a wheelchair as well as enjoying long periods of good health and short distance walking. She has a very keen understanding of medical ailments and disabling conditions resulting from excessive time spent in hospitals and outpatient rehab facilities.
In February, 2016 Debra had serious vascular problems resulting in the amputation of her left leg.  Adjusting to life as a bilateral amputee has not been easy.  Debra did not allow this new life changing event to get in her way….she continued to work full time and travel.  Since surgery, she has escorted groups to Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Ireland and Hawaii. Her mantra is "Just Doing It Differently".
Debra travels extensively with a wheelchair and/or a scooter and has learned how to MINIMIZE THE FRUSTRATIONS while MAXIMIZING THE ENJOYMENT of visiting new and exciting destinations. She has visited more than 30 countries and has been on over 100 cruises. She is able to share her knowledge and expertise with other disabled persons as well as those who simply want to travel at a more leisurely pace. She possesses very strong interpersonal skills and a love of helping people.

Workshop: Friday @ 1:00pm - Access the World: Tips for Traveling with a Disability

Tara Invidiato, M.Ed.

Tara Invidiato, M.Ed.

Tara is the first Deafblind titleholder of the Ms. Blind Diva Empowerment pageant, winning in 2018.

Melissa Martinez

Disability Rights New York

Melissa Martinez Bio Photo

I have started working as an analyst for Disability Rights NY in 2018. As an analyst, I investigate and conduct representative payee reviews and ensure that the payee is following social security guidelines. I also interview beneficiaries of social security to ensure the beneficiary approves of the work the rep payee has done. Please visit our website where we provide an overview of our services.

Workshop: Saturday @ 11:45am – Disability Rights New York

Dr. Linda M. Schultz (Nurse Linda)

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Dr. Linda M. Schultz Bio Photo

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: Saturday @ 1:00pm, Critical Situations for People with SCI

Anne Del Plato

New York's ABLE and College Savings Programs

Anne Del Plato Bio Photo

Anne Del Plato Has been the Director of New York's ABLE and College Savings Programs since 2016. She is responsible for program administration, operations, public relations and training oversight for both programs. During Anne's tenure, the NY ABLE Program opened for enrollment in August 2017. New York's 529 College Savings Program recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is the largest Direct-sold Program in the country. Anne has a 30 year history as a program administrator in the private and public sector. She has authored numerous articles for national publications and provided training on various topics. Early in her career, Anne served as the Outreach Director at a County ARC in New York, and she has remained active in many public service, fundraising and volunteer efforts. Workshop: Saturday @ 3:45pm, ABLE: Saving for what you need, while protecting what you have

Kristy Lacroix

Wheelchair Escapes

ZZZZZZ Bio Photo

Kristy has over 27 years of hands on power wheelchair travel experience. Kristy has gained this travel experience and knowledge while traveling with her husband who has MS and has not walked in 27 years.  She shares this experience to help make travel easier for those wanting to explore using a power chair.  They do at least one group cruise a year to be there to reassure the first time cruiser.  She books individual travel too.

She is a Certified Accessible Travel Specialist.  She is going to share with you lots of information and wheelchair travel tips so you too, can experience the wonderful world of travel.  Don't let a wheelchair stop you from exploring the world.  You will come away with the feeling I Can Do it!

Workshop: Sunday @ 11:45am, Accessible Travel – You can do it!

Regina Rosenthal

Author, The Heart of Healing: Discovering the Secrets of Self-Care

Regina Rosenthal Bio Photo

Regina Rosenthal is a physical therapist, teacher, yoga instructor, and author, who has worked in the healing arts and sciences for thirty-five years. She has presented seminars nationally and internationally to physicians, health professionals, and community groups, and has worked in hospital, university, home care, and private practice settings. Regina has taught Self-help for Arthritis classes through the NJ Arthritis Foundation,  and developed a Self-help for Chronic Pain program toward her Master's Thesis, which she taught for five years. She also designed and taught Stress Busters, a stress management program used at the Facial Pain Clinic, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, during the nine years she was an Associate Instructor there. Her book, The Heart of Healing: Discovering the Secrets of Self-Care, teaches how to increase awareness and become empowered during healing through self-care practices. Regina is an Advanced Practitioner and Instructor of Process Acupressure and Acupressure for Anyone through Soul Lightening® Acupressure, a non-profit corporation providing training, education, and service to health professionals and community groups throughout the world.

Workshop: Sunday @ 1:00pm, Care for the Caregiver: When You Can't Stop the Waves Learn How to Sail

Jade Sancho-Duser

Chief Operations Officer, RxMaryJade

Jade Sancho-Duser

Jade Sancho-Duser is Chief Operations Officer for RxMaryJade, a holistic cannabis education and wellness company. As a Licensed Massage Therapist who regularly utilizes Trigger Point and Neuromuscular Therapy, she studies the body; She studies the pain. Her philosophy is to listen and pay attention because most ignore their bodies. Jade studies both eastern and western theories to help formulate care plans to both prevent and decrease symptomatic discomfort of various pathologies. In 2017, she officially received her New Jersey Medical Marijuana card and life changed for the better. Now Jade lives her life as a fibromyalgia fighter and not a victim. She uses the lessons she has learned on her journey to help those who are in need of a realistic and holistic approach to their health.

Workshop: Saturday @ 2:30pm, Cannabis 101: A Beginners Guide

Brandon Scott, BSW

Brandon Scott, BSW

Brandon is the champion of the inaugural Dancing with the Blind competition.

Mark Thompson, AIA

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Mark Thompson, AIA

Mark R. Thompson, AIA, is PVA's Associate Director of Architecture Services. He joined PVA in 2016 after thirty years of private sector architectural design and construction experience as a lead project designer, business owner and real estate developer. Mr. Thompson developed his architectural expertise delivering public and private projects in the commercial, healthcare and educational markets valued in excess of $800 million.

Since being with PVA, Mr. Thompson has successfully advocated to maximize accessibility on multi-family housing, commercial, government and healthcare projects serving veterans throughout the United States. He has also provided technical assistance to veterans and civilians who are planning renovations to their homes specifically focused on improving accessibility.

Mr. Thompson is a licensed architect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture from Oklahoma State University.

Workshop:  Friday @ 11:45am - Accessible Home Design

Tracy M. Thompson

Acting New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

Tracy M. Thompson Bio Photo

In May 2018, Governor Murphy nominated Tracy M. Thompson to serve as the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, a position she has held in an acting capacity since March 2018. Thompson has spent twenty-five years as a prosecutor, first with Mercer County and later with the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ). She previously served as Counsel to the Director of DCJ.
The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) is responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and deterring insurance fraud and serves as the statewide coordinator for all anti-insurance fraud efforts in New Jersey. With more than 50 detectives and 20 prosecutors, OIFP investigates a wide range of insurance fraud schemes and serves as a clearinghouse for cases referred by the public, insurance companies, the Medicaid Program, and other law enforcement agencies. In addition, OIFP provides funding to County Prosecutor's Office to enable them to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud at the local level. For more information please visit,

Workshop: Sunday @ 2:30pm, Insurance Fraud and YOU

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