• CHICAGO
    June 12 - 14, 2015
    Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center
    Fri. 11am-5pm | Sat. 11am-5pm | Sun 11am-4pm

Events and Activities make the total Abilities experience

Add some exciting new activities to your life? Abilities Expo showcases a wide range of events that not only entertain, they also give you the opportunity to try new things, expand your interests and discover ways to be more involved in the local Chicago area.

  • Try a variety of adaptive sports
  • Transform your face at the face painters
  • Learn how to work with assistance dogs
  • Break out your dancing wheels
  • Find out how horses can help people with disabilities

There’s a lot going on at Abilities Expo! Be sure to also check out the Free Workshops

* Please note dates and times of events are subject to change without notice. Please check the schedule at the show for final times and events. Abilities Expo is not responsible for the materials or opinions of the speakers.

All Day, Every Day Activities

Adaptive Art Activity

Presented by Zot Artz

Adaptive Painting, presented by Zot Artz.

Art for all! Children of all abilities get to stamp and print to make their mark. Use adaptive art tools and shapes to create your very own exciting art creation! Parents will love the fun and creativity plus this activity also helps develop motor skills, concentration, social interaction, self esteem and more! Each child receives their own print to take home. Plan 5-20 minutes for activity. One print per child. While supplies last. Suggested donation of $5.00 per child to cover supply costs. For attendees under the age of 18. See photos and learn more at zotartz.com.

Adaptive Rowing Demonstrations

Presented by Concept2 CTS Rowing

Adaptive Rowing Demonstration

Discover the world of adaptive rowing! This sport is accessible to people with many different types of disabilities through the use of adaptive seating and other modifications. And you don't need water to row – Indoor Rowing machines make the sport possible no matter where you live. Learn about the many benefits of rowing, including exercise and fitness, improved self-esteem, goal setting, and a sense of accomplishment and community. Try an Indoor Rowing machine for yourself and learn more about rowing in the Chicago area. Learn more about this sport at concept2.com.

Assistive Technology Showcase

Presented by the University of Illinois Chicago Assistive Technology Unit

Manual Wheelchair Skills.  Woman teaching manual wheelchair skills.

Explore how assistive technology can help you or your loved ones bridge the gap between ability and disability! The Showcase will feature an array of assistive technology for people of all disabilities to experience hands-on. In addition, the RESNA-certified staff will offer suggestions and share their extensive knowledge to help determine the most appropriate technology match for your abilities and situations. Learn more at ahs.uic.edu/cl/atu.

Manual Wheelchair Skills for Everyone

Presented by Empower Spinal Cord

Manual Wheelchair Skills.  Woman teaching manual wheelchair skills.

What is your favorite way to hop a curb? What tricks do you use to get yourself off the ground? Never sat in a manual wheelchair and have always wanted to try a wheelie? Stop by the Empower SCI table at the expo and we will help you brush up on old skills and learn new skills from others. The booth will be staffed with both manual wheelchair-users and able-bodied staff to offer education and opportunities to learn new wheelchair skills. Skills will include curb-hopping, fall recovery, wheelie management, wheelchair maintenance, and challenging transfers. Open to both wheelchair-users and able-bodied individuals, there will be several wheelchairs present for able-bodied individuals to try out these skills. Visit us for a personal "Learn New Skills" time where you can spend 15 dedicated minutes getting one-on-one assistance with a skill you'd like to master. Based on availability. Attendees can reserve specific times at the booth. Learn more at empowersci.org.

Friday, June 27, 2014

11:45am - 12:45pm

Quad Rugby Demonstration

Presented by the Chicago Bears Wheelchair Rugby Team

Sponsored by Elpis Factor

Quad Rugby Demonstration

Wheelchair rugby has often been described as a combination of football, hockey and basketball in a wheelchair. Any individual with impairments in three or more extremities may be eligible to play. This may include, but not limited to: spinal cord injury, post polio and cerebral palsy. Wheelchair rugby is played with four players on a team on a basketball court. The main message of quad rugby is "Smashing Stereotypes One Hit at a Time" and the sport has proven to be a life changer for those who start playing it. Learn more at ric.org and elpisfactor.com.

12:00pm – 3:00pm

Meet Brody Roybal, Member, U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, Gold Medalists at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia

Elpis Factor Booth #327

Brody Roybal, US Paralympic Sled Hockey Gold Medalist

At just 15 years old, Brody Roybal was the youngest member of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team competing at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He started playing sled hockey at age eight, and by 12 he was attending USA Hockey's player development camps with dreams of Paralympic gold. Roybal has been a member of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Blackhawks club team since the 2011-12 season, skating with the team at both the 2011 and 2012 USA Hockey Sled Classic Championships.

1:00pm – 1:30pm

Assistance Dogs Demonstration

Presented by Barking Angels Service Dog Foundation

Assistance dogs demonstration

Presented by Barking Angels Service Dog Foundation More than ever assistance dogs are meeting the needs of people with different disabilities. Meet several assistance dogs and their human partners. Watch them demonstrate the many ways they work together to achieve independence in various areas of their lives. Following the demo, meet the dogs, ask questions and talk one-on-one with the presenters about how you can bring an assistance dog into your life. Learn more at barkingangelsservicedogfoundation.org.

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Art Happening! Giant Floor Mural!

Presented by Zot Artz

Floor mural by Zot Artz.

Express Yourself! Come and join the fun at the Zot Artz Art Happening. We will be creating a large floor mural using a variety of adapted art tools for walking, rolling, and stamping. Not an Artist? No worries. The art activities are designed to accommodate artists and non-artists alike. Everyone can participate! This activity helps develop motor skills, concentration, social interaction, and much more for people with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and other disabilities. Learn more at zotartz.com.

2:00pm - 2:30pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Presents!

Presented by the Walk and Roll Dance Team

Walk and Roll Dance Team Photo

We're kicking off each day with a high-energy, live performance by the Walk and Roll Foundation's inspirational wheelchair dance team. The dance team performs unique and captivating routines across the country as well as sharing their stories of adversity and how through determination and high spirits they've gone on with their lives to fulfill their dreams to dance. Following the performance it's your turn! Everyone will have a chance to get out on the dance floor and learn some moves. Follow the Team and learn more about them at walkandrollfoundation.org.

2:30pm – 3:00pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Autograph Session

Meet the members of the Walk and Roll Dance Team! The team will be signing posters and autographs for fans.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Book Signing with Chelsie Hill, Author, Push Girl: A Novel

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Be among the first to purchase copies of Chelsie Hill's new book Push Girl: A Novel, co-authored with Jessica Love. Push Girls is an inspiring, real, and fresh young adult novel about how life can change in an instant by Chelsie Hill, one of the stars Sundance Channel's unscripted series Push Girls, based on her own life. The book will be available for purchase at the special show price of $15.00.

2:30pm – 4:00pm

Book Signing with Karen Kain, Author, A Unique Life Fully Lived

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Lorrin Kain was born in Newport Beach, California on March 15, 1994. At six weeks of age she had an adverse reaction to her one and only DPT vaccination. The vaccine attacked her brain, leaving her with severe brain damage. The doctors never had hope for Lorrin's future. They suggested Karen put Lorrin in an institution and get on with her own life. Feeling abandoned by modern medicine, Karen turned to alternative treatments and spiritual guidance. Despite her best efforts, Lorrin continued to have horrible episodes of uncontrolled seizures that would land them in the hospital for days and weeks. To her very last breath Lorrin was brave and showed a sense of humor and courage that was unmatched. A Unique Life Fully Lived is their journey of love, hope and courage. For more information visit lorrinsworld.com and karenkain.com.

3:45pm – 4:45pm

Book Signing with Julie-Anne Braun also known as Bridgette C. Kent, Author, Fallen Angel Rising

Fallen Angel Rising Book

This emotion-packed autobiography draws the reader in from the first sentence! Readers observe the author's thoughts as she waits to die from a lethal overdose. From there, the book takes the reader on a journey through Bridgette's life. She struggles with many tragedies, including two rapes, depression, the suicide attempt, fibromyalgia, becoming home-bound, disabled and more. The reader gets an inside look at the author's thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams through each stage of her life. In addition to her tragedies, Bridgette shares her triumphs. We watch her face, and work through, her demons to overcome her what was, accept what is and reach for what can be. As Bridgette finally learns to respect herself, and move through her own adversities, she shares her lessons with the reader, inspiring others to do the same.

4:00pm – 4:30pm

Adaptive Radio Controlled Cars Demonstration

Presented by Justin LeClaire, Axon RC

Adaptive Remote Control Cars

First time at Abilities Expo! Radio controlled (or R/C for short) cars offer fun for people of all abilities. R/C cars are self-powered model cars or trucks that can be controlled from a distance using a specialized transmitter. Axon RC will be on hand to introduce the popular hobby to attendees with an assortment of vehicles, and a track boundary for some short races. Adaptive controls will be available. Test your skills! Keep in touch and learn more at Facebook.com/axonrc.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

11:15am – 11:45am

Creative Drama Presentation

Presented by Special Gifts Theatre

Creative Drama Presentation

Special Gifts Theatre (SGT) is an educational and therapy based drama program for individuals who have special needs. SGT uses the stage as a platform to develop social skills, increase self confidence and improve speech communication. During this presentation we will feature some of our students and mentors who are part of the SGT Traveling Troupe. They will sing and dance to songs that have been part of our past performances and have become family favorites throughout the years. We will also highlight some of our programs and share the benefits of creative drama. Learn more at specialgiftstheatre.org.

12:00pm - 1:00pm

Wheelchair Basketball

Presented by the Chicago Bulls Wheelchair Basketball Team

Sponsored by Elpis Factor

Wheelchair Basketball at the Chicago Abilities Expo!

In the early days of the sport wheelchair basketball was only played by men with spinal cord injuries. Today it's changed significantly with both men and women and a variety of disabilities, competing in the sport. Many of the same rules from able-bodied basketball apply in the wheelchair game. The plays and strategies are similar. In addition there are special rules in place to adapt to disability. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) governs all aspects of the game in the United States. Learn more at wheelchairbulls.com and elpisfactor.com.

12:00pm – 3:00pm

Face Painting

Face Painting: Two Girls at Abilities Expo

Kids will delight at the opportunity to transform their face into a beautiful butterfly, a swashbuckling pirate, or a sweet kitten! Stop by the face painter's stand for a complimentary face painting. Select designs only. Paints are FDA approved professional face paints and wash off with water. Just for kids age 18 and under.

1:15pm – 1:45pm

Criptaedo and Self-Defense Demonstration

Presented by Paul Brailer, Criptaedo

Criptaedo and Selft Defense demonstration.

Discover tools for independent fitness and self-defense! Learn from Criptaedo creator Paul Brailer who has spina bifida as well as a black belt in Karate. Find out what you can do to defend yourself, using your body, your wheelchair and other tricks of the trade. Learn more at criptaedo.com and facebook.com/criptaedo.

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Art Happening! Giant Floor Mural!

Presented by Zot Artz

Floor mural by Zot Artz.

Express Yourself! Come and join the fun at the Zot Artz Art Happening. We will be creating a large floor mural using a variety of adapted art tools for walking, rolling, and stamping. Not an Artist? No worries. The art activities are designed to accommodate artists and non-artists alike. Everyone can participate! This activity helps develop motor skills, concentration, social interaction, and much more for people with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and other disabilities. Learn more at zotartz.com.

1:30pm - 3:00pm

Book Signing with Karen Kain, Author, A Unique Life Fully Lived

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Lorrin Kain was born in Newport Beach, California on March 15, 1994. At six weeks of age she had an adverse reaction to her one and only DPT vaccination. The vaccine attacked her brain, leaving her with severe brain damage. The doctors never had hope for Lorrin's future. They suggested Karen put Lorrin in an institution and get on with her own life. Feeling abandoned by modern medicine, Karen turned to alternative treatments and spiritual guidance. Despite her best efforts, Lorrin continued to have horrible episodes of uncontrolled seizures that would land them in the hospital for days and weeks. To her very last breath Lorrin was brave and showed a sense of humor and courage that was unmatched. A Unique Life Fully Lived is their journey of love, hope and courage. For more information visit lorrinsworld.com and karenkain.com.

2:00pm - 2:30pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Presents!

Presented by the Walk and Roll Dance Team

Walk and Roll Dance Team

We're kicking off each day with a high-energy, live performance by the Walk and Roll Foundation's inspirational wheelchair dance team. The dance team performs unique and captivating routines across the country as well as sharing their stories of adversity and how through determination and high spirits they've gone on with their lives to fulfill their dreams to dance. Following the performance it's your turn! Everyone will have a chance to get out on the dance floor and learn some moves. Follow the Team and learn more about them at walkandrollfoundation.org.

2:30pm – 3:00pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Autograph Session

Meet the members of the Walk and Roll Dance Team! The team will be signing posters and autographs for fans.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

Book Signing with Chelsie Hill, Author, Push Girl: A Novel

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Be among the first to purchase copies of Chelsie Hill's new book Push Girl: A Novel, co-authored with Jessica Love. Push Girls is an inspiring, real, and fresh young adult novel about how life can change in an instant by Chelsie Hill, one of the stars Sundance Channel's unscripted series Push Girls, based on her own life. The book will be available for purchase at the special show price of $15.00.

3:00pm – 3:30pm

Miniature Therapy Horse Demonstration

Presented by Lisa Dierson, The Royal Lusitano

Miniature Horses

Miniature horses have been gaining attention for their strengths as therapy and service animals. In fact, the Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which went into effect on March 15, 2012, require places of public accommodation to permit the use of miniature horses who are trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. You're invited to meet some "mini's," learn why they are called horses (not ponies), and discover the types of tasks they can perform as service and therapy animals. The presenter will also review some of the key benefits of working with horses in general. This session will include time for question and answer, as well as an opportunity to meet the horses.

3:45pm – 4:30pm

Making Minds Handicap Accessible!

Presented by Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach stars of the hit stage show "Handicap This!"

"Handicap This!" is a live show with a message of possibilities. Local Chicago stars Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach bring Abilities Expo attendees their true-life adventure filled with humor and honesty. Their story is a powerful look at friendship, breaking down barriers, living with disabilities; and most of all, about living to your potential. Join them for 30 minutes of laughter and empowerment! Time for questions and answers follows. Learn more about their show and their speaking at www.handicapthis.com.

These guys are a riot in their booth as well as on stage!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

11:00am – 11:30am

Adaptive Radio Controlled Cars Demonstration

Presented by Justin LeClaire, Axon RC

Adaptive Remote Control Cars

First time at Abilities Expo! Radio controlled (or R/C for short) cars offer fun for people of all abilities. R/C cars are self-powered model cars or trucks that can be controlled from a distance using a specialized transmitter. Axon RC will be on hand to introduce the popular hobby to attendees with an assortment of vehicles, and a track boundary for some short races. Adaptive controls will be available. Test your skills! Keep in touch and learn more at Facebook.com/axonrc.

11:45am - 12:45pm

Wheelchair Tennis

Presented by the Chicago Bears Wheelchair Rugby Team

Sponsored by Elpis Factor

Wheelchair Tennis at the Chicago Abilities Expo!

Local Chicago area players will be on hand to demonstrate wheelchair tennis and teach attendees who would like to learn more. Wheelchair Tennis is one of the fastest growing wheelchair sports in the world! It follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball. Adaptive sports like wheelchair tennis offer people with all types of disabilities an outlet to play sports competitively and in recreational programs.

12:00pm – 3:00pm

Face Painting

Face Painting: Two Girls at Abilities Expo

Kids will delight at the opportunity to transform their face into a beautiful butterfly, a swashbuckling pirate, or a sweet kitten! Stop by the face painter's stand for a complimentary face painting. Select designs only. Paints are FDA approved professional face paints and wash off with water. Just for kids age 18 and under.

12:00pm – 3:00pm

Art Happening! Giant Floor Mural!

Presented by Zot Artz

Floor mural by Zot Artz.

Express Yourself! Come and join the fun at the Zot Artz Art Happening. We will be creating a large floor mural using a variety of adapted art tools for walking, rolling, and stamping. Not an Artist? No worries. The art activities are designed to accommodate artists and non-artists alike. Everyone can participate! This activity helps develop motor skills, concentration, social interaction, and much more for people with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and other disabilities. Learn more at zotartz.com.

1:00pm – 1:30pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Presents!

Presented by the Walk and Roll Dance Team

Walk and Roll Dance Team

We're kicking off each day with a high-energy, live performance by the Walk and Roll Foundation's inspirational wheelchair dance team. The dance team performs unique and captivating routines across the country as well as sharing their stories of adversity and how through determination and high spirits they've gone on with their lives to fulfill their dreams to dance. Following the performance it's your turn! Everyone will have a chance to get out on the dance floor and learn some moves. Follow the Team and learn more about them at walkandrollfoundation.org.

1:30pm – 2:00pm

Walk and Roll Dance Team Autograph Session

Meet the members of the Walk and Roll Dance Team! The team will be signing posters and autographs for fans.

1:30pm – 2:30pm

Book Signing with Chelsie Hill, Author, Push Girl: A Novel

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Be among the first to purchase copies of Chelsie Hill's new book Push Girl: A Novel, co-authored with Jessica Love. Push Girls is an inspiring, real, and fresh young adult novel about how life can change in an instant by Chelsie Hill, one of the stars Sundance Channel's unscripted series Push Girls, based on her own life. The book will be available for purchase at the special show price of $15.00.

1:30pm - 2:30pm

Book Signing with Karen Kain, Author, A Unique Life Fully Lived

Book Signing: Push Girl Cover Art

Lorrin Kain was born in Newport Beach, California on March 15, 1994. At six weeks of age she had an adverse reaction to her one and only DPT vaccination. The vaccine attacked her brain, leaving her with severe brain damage. The doctors never had hope for Lorrin's future. They suggested Karen put Lorrin in an institution and get on with her own life. Feeling abandoned by modern medicine, Karen turned to alternative treatments and spiritual guidance. Despite her best efforts, Lorrin continued to have horrible episodes of uncontrolled seizures that would land them in the hospital for days and weeks. To her very last breath Lorrin was brave and showed a sense of humor and courage that was unmatched. A Unique Life Fully Lived is their journey of love, hope and courage. For more information visit lorrinsworld.com and karenkain.com.

2:00pm – 2:30pm

Assistance Dogs Demonstration

Presented by Barking Angels Service Dog Foundation

Assistance Dogs

Presented by Barking Angels Service Dog Foundation More than ever assistance dogs are meeting the needs of people with different disabilities. Meet several assistance dogs and their human partners. Watch them demonstrate the many ways they work together to achieve independence in various areas of their lives. Following the demo, meet the dogs, ask questions and talk one-on-one with the presenters about how you can bring an assistance dog into your life. Learn more at barkingangelsservicedogfoundation.org.

3:00pm – 3:30pm

Miniature Therapy Horse Demonstration

Presented by Lisa Dierson, The Royal Lusitano

Miniature Horses

Miniature horses have been gaining attention for their strengths as therapy and service animals. In fact, the Revised ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which went into effect on March 15, 2012, require places of public accommodation to permit the use of miniature horses who are trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. You're invited to meet some "mini's," learn why they are called horses (not ponies), and discover the types of tasks they can perform as service and therapy animals. The presenter will also review some of the key benefits of working with horses in general. This session will include time for question and answer, as well as an opportunity to meet the horses.

Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!
Sign up for the Buzz stay in the know on disability news and info