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Abilities Expo Atlanta Features Assistive Technology Prototypes
The BuzzAbilities Expo Atlanta will launch the new Assistive Technology Pavilion on November 6-8, 2009. This arena will offer Abilities Expo attendees the unique opportunity to experience assistive technology products that are truly on the cutting edge, that is, they are not yet available on the market.

“In a recent post-event survey, we found that more than 70% of the attendees were interested in seeing a multitude of assistive technology products at the event,” said Abilities Expo President and CEO David Korse. “We are thrilled to give our expo participants not only the chance to test out different, never-seen-before prototypes, but also to personally impact the finished product through their feedback.”

This pavilion is sponsored by the Rehabilitation Engineering Applied Research Lab at Georgia Tech, which undertakes applied research and development targeting the increased health and function of people with disabilities, and the Shepherd Center, a private not-for-profit Catastrophic Care Hospital that focuses on the treatment of SCI, acquired brain injuries, MS and other neurological conditions.

Stay tuned for more information on the products that will be debuted at the Assistive Technology Pavilion.

Product Spotlight: The Life-Enhancing Quadriciser
The BuzzQuadriciser Corp. will showcase its Quadriciser Motorized Therapy System at Abilities Expo Atlanta on November 6-8, 2009.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A medical breakthrough developed in Knoxville is helping a stroke victim do something he thought he'd never do again.

Ron Dillon isn't a typical stroke patient. His attack happened after he suffered a head injury on the job. The stroke left him unable to walk for 10 long years, until now.

"They had told me when I was in the hospital that I'd probably never walk again, never work again and that I'd never drive a car again or anything like that," Ron says. But now, Ron is not only walking, he's trying out an exercise ball to bring back the bounce in his step.

Ron was in rehab therapy for years without results. He finally found new technology at National Neuro in west Knox County that literally got him back on his feet. Along with special exercises, Ron credits a breakthrough device called the Quadriciser, developed in Knoxville, for helping him get out of his wheelchair. "It's providing a continuous motion with both sides of the body. It almost helps the body to coordinate both sides," says clinic Director Karen Edenfield. "So in terms of fluidity, we have patients who are able to move much more smoothly than they could before. But because it's not pulling on the patient, we can stretch out joints that are a little more tight," Edenfield adds.

After many sessions and sore muscles, Ron was told it was time. "She told me one day, 'Get up, we're gonna walk.' I said, 'You're crazy.' She said, 'Yes, I've gotten you to the point now where you can walk.'"

"They were all just standing in here crying and clapping so we had a joyous day," says Ron's wife, Sharon Dillon.

Now, Ron has a new goal. "I'm gonna play golf within the month. That is our goal. Within the month, I'll be playing golf."

The technology helps get circulation going and was developed by a Knoxville man whose father faced amputation due to diabetes. It saved his legs, too.

Connect with your Peers through the Abilities Expo Facebook Group
The BuzzWeigh in on timely discussions, post comments on disability issues or get the latest show news at the new Abilities Expo Facebook Group. Facebook members may join the group here. If you are not already a Facebook participant, sign up for free at www.facebook.com. Since Abilities Expo Group members range from PWDs to healthcare professionals to manufacturers and distributors, feel free to post any questions relating to disabilities.

The Health Care Reform Debate Rages On
The BuzzMark Johnson is an Abilities Expo Ambassador and the Director of Advocacy for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The healthcare reform debate and disability have been front and center for the last couple of weeks. Sarah Palin and several critics have charged that proposed reform would create "death panels" to decide whether the elderly and disabled should live or die. In response, the White House and national disability groups have stepped up their educational and outreach efforts.

In response to a Michigan man's comments alleging that his son with cerebral palsy “would be given no care whatsoever,” Mike Strautmanis, a White House staffer whose son has autism, said, “That simply is not true.” (Click here for his entire response.) In addition to the development of several Reality Check videos, the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services developed a series of Fact Sheets.

As far as the community of people with disabilities goes, the United Cerebral Palsy has endorsed the House Tri Committee bill. In his weekly message to members, Peter Berns, ARC's Executive Director, asked the members to “dispel the growing number of myths” about reform efforts. ADAPT also continues to advocate for the inclusion of long term care reform.

Reform could have an impact on consumers and vendors of Abilities Expo, so become informed and get involved. In reality, there isn't a bill, there are many proposals. For a side by side comparison, click here. For more information on how health insurance reform will affect people with disabilities, click here.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Abilities Expo.

Exciting Breakthroughs in Pediatric Physical Therapy

The BuzzQ: My 9-year-old daughter has Cerebral Palsy. Is there anything new on the physical therapy front?
- Proud Mom
  Marietta, GA

A: Dear Proud Mom,

At Abilities Expo Atlanta on November 6-8, 2009, Euro-Peds will be presenting a workshop on the Emergence of Intensive Pediatric PT for the Treatment of Children with CP and Other Neuromuscular Disorders. Intensive Pediatric PT, brought to the United States by Euro-Peds in 1999, is widely recognized as an effective treatment to teach new functional skills to children and young adults with gross motor delays.

The presenter will define “Intensive PT” methods and approaches using video examples and research findings, and will specify how Intensive Physical Therapists combine the intensity method with a wide variety of therapeutic modalities to help children with neuro-muscular disorders reach their full potential. Applications of the Intensive PT clinical equipment will be demonstrated via video examples including the Suit Therapy, the Universal Exercise Unit (UEU), Gait Training and endurance equipment.

This seminar is free and open to all attendees. The session will be submitted to the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia for CEU's. The session is approved for CEU's by the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology Continuing Education (RSTCE). These CEU's are suitable for OT's and ATPs.

Any questions concerning Abilities Expo, disabilities or products, services and resources for PWDs? Email us at klara@abilitiesexpo.com.

Two Lucky Abilities Expo Attendees Win iPod
The BuzzTwo lucky attendees from Abilities Expo Chicagoland are enjoying brand new iPod Shuffles, all for completing the post-event survey. Congratulations to:

Morrie Phillips and Diane Bonitzer

A special thanks to all who filled out the survey. The Abilities Expo management team considers attendee feedback crucial to future expos and will continue to select winners from survey participants. That’s a heads-up for Atlanta attendees. Fill out your surveys!

U.S. Signs U.N. Disabilities Pact
The BuzzUNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States signed a U.N. convention on July 30, 2009 aimed at ensuring equal rights for the world's 650 million disabled people, a pact that the former Bush administration refused to endorse.

In a ceremony at U.N. headquarters, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice inked the pact, billed by the United Nations as the first human rights treaty of the 21st century. It came into force last year.

The 32-page U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities outlaws all forms of discrimination at work on the basis of disability, including in hiring, promotion and working conditions. It requires equal pay for work of equal value.

It also calls on signatory states to promote the employment of disabled people, including through "affirmative action" programs that favor them.

The pact stipulates the disabled may not be excluded from mainstream education systems. It demands that governments provide them with physical access to transportation, schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces.

Bush administration officials had said the document was weaker than the 1990 U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore could complicate enforcement of that law.

But Rice said the United States was "very pleased to join 141 other countries that have signed this convention in pursuit of a more just world." Sixty-one countries have ratified the pact.

President Barack Obama would soon submit the convention for Senate approval, Rice said at the ceremony attended by representatives of U.S. disability groups.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, told the gathering the signing was a "historic step toward advancing our global commitment to the fundamental human rights for all persons with disabilities."

She also announced the creation of a senior-level position at the State Department to develop a strategy to promote the rights of disabled people around the world.

The signing underlined the more favorable attitude toward the United Nations of the Obama administration than that of its predecessor, which often criticized the world body and was leery of international treaties that could have an impact on U.S. law.

Human Rights Watch, one of several advocacy groups that welcomed the signing, said the United States had signed six out of nine core international human rights treaties but ratified only three—on racial discrimination, civil and political rights, and torture.

Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union said that Thursday was "a great day for the rights of people with disabilities and a step forward for the U.S. human rights movement."