Atlanta Abilities Expo Event
Abilities Expo speakers are highly credentialed experts in their spheres

In order to bring you a stellar conference program, we have selected presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. The majority of our speakers hold advanced degrees in their field. 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.

Jennifer French, MBA
Executive Director, Neurotech Network
As a result of a snowboarding accident, Jennifer French became a quadriplegic from a C6-7 incomplete spinal cord injury in 1998. Prior to her injury, she was recreationally active with such sports as canoeing, snowboarding/skiing, sailing, fly fishing, scuba diving/snorkeling and biking. After her injury, she still participates in all those activities.  She is an active user of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems. In November 1999, she received the Implantable Stand & Transfer System provided by the Cleveland FES Center, MetroHealth Medical Center and Veterans Affairs; the first women to receive such a system. Now residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jen is a member of the US Disabled Sailing Team, volunteers at the local sailing center, serves on the Committee to Advocate for Persons with Impairments for the City of St. Petersburg, is a Florida state trained Peer Mentor for spinal cord injury, and serves on the National Consumer Advisory Board for the SCI Model System Centers. Over the course of her MBA career, Ms. French has helped launch successful divisions in such organizations as Bombardier Capital and PC Connection, Inc. As a user of neurotechnology who has reaped its benefits, she is the co-founder of a not-for-profit organization, Neurotech Network. The organization’s focus is education of and advocacy for access of neurotechnology for persons with impairments, their care-givers and health care professionals. She currently serves as the Executive Director. To raise awareness and advocate for access, Neurotech Network has developed educational resources, published through several media outlets and presented to disability groups and related organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Therapy Association, and NINDS Neural Interfaces. Most recently, Jennifer’s story was featured in the documentary film, “To Have Courage,” and in the book, “Shattered Nerves.”

Neurotechnology: What Is It and How Can It Benefit People with Neurological Disabilities?
Friday, November 6, 2009

Melissa McGinnis, PT, MPT
Euro-Peds National Center for Intensive Pediatric Physical Therapy
Melissa is a specialist in the emerging field of intensive physical therapy for the treatment of cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders. She currently works for Euro-Pēds’ National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT, part of Doctors’ Hospital of Michigan in Pontiac, Michigan. Melissa evaluates and treats children and young adults as well as oversees other therapists as they implement individualized therapy programs using European inspired methods and concepts. She holds a Master’s Degree from Oakland University’s accredited Physical Therapy program and has additional training and experience using intensive therapy tools, such as the Universal Exercise Unit and Suit Therapy. Melissa speaks regularly to health professionals and parent groups at special needs educational forums and conferences around the United States in an effort to highlight research and techniques surrounding this emerging treatment.

Intensive Physical Therapy:  An Emerging Therapy in the Treatment of Children with Neuromuscular Disorders
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Amy Meyer, PT, ATP
Pediatric and Standing Specialist, Permobil, Inc.
Amy Meyer has been involved in wheelchair and adaptive seating since beginning her career as a physical therapist. Amy has worked for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the past where she was involved in both outpatient and inpatient pediatric physical therapy including inpatient rehabilitation. This experience afforded her the ability to work with a variety of patient populations and diagnoses. Additionally, Amy was the lead therapist in the Wheelchair and Adaptive Seating Clinic which included evaluation for equipment as well as power mobility training for young children. Most recently, Amy worked exclusively with the Neuromuscular Comprehensive Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s. She has presented various lectures on prescribing and funding wheelchairs and adaptive equipment and writing effective letters of medical necessity. In her role as a pediatric physical therapist, she has been a strong proponent of early power mobility and standing technology. Amy is currently the Pediatric and Standing Specialist for Permobil, Inc. and is an active member of RESNA and the APTA.

Wheelchair Standers: Stand for Function!
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jeff Jones, MPE, CPRP
Director of Education, Training and Technical Assistance

Jeff Jones, MPE, CPRP is the Director of Education, Training and Technical Assistance for BlazeSports America and oversees a variety of educational programs and technical assistance to cross-disciplinary professionals, persons with disabilities and their families, and community-based practitioners to encourage best practice in the fields of disability sport, physical activity, and health promotion. He has over 25 years experience in coaching Paralympic and national teams, directing disability sports programs, and advancing knowledge in the field of disability sport. He comes to BlazeSports America from the Portage Parks and Recreation Department in Portage, Ind., where he served as Assistant Superintendent. Prior to that, he was the Director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s (RIC) Center for Health and Fitness and the Wirtz Sports Program, one of the largest disability sports and recreation programs in the United States. Jeff has organized more than 50 regional or national sports competitions and was an Assistant Event Coordinator at four United States Olympic Festivals. Jeff has been a staff member of two world championship and two Paralympic teams. His past coaching experience includes sled hockey, quad rugby, wheelchair soccer, track and field and boccia. Jeff received his master’s degree in Adapted Physical Education from Springfield College. He has done post-graduate work in Recreation Administration at both Wayne State University and Aurora University. He is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional, a certification established by the National Recreation and Park Association.

Community-based Sports Model for Youth with Physical Disability
Friday, November 6, 2009



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