For anyone who has a disability or who takes care of a person who does, all the latest gadgets, cars, products and services that enhance the potential of those with disabilities will be on display at the Chicago Abilities Expo this weekend.
Admission is free and show hours will be Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
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The expo will feature a lineup of exhibits, celebrities, workshops, events and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities -- including physical, learning, developmental and sensory.
"It's not just that we provide a forum that showcases essential technology to bridge the gap between ability and disability," said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. "The expo is always new and exciting with a host of all-inclusive, adaptive activities."
Complimentary loaner scooters, wheelchair repair and a power chair charging station will also be available during show hours.
"The expo provides the community of people with disabilities access to life-enhancing products, education, resources and fun," said Korse. "Most of all, it's a celebration of what you can do, not what you can't."
Attendees will experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and much more. The Assistive Technology Showcase will also feature an array of devices for attendees to experience hands-on.
A series of workshops which address pressing disability issues will be offered free to all attendees. Sessions will focus on travel, home modifications, technology, intensive physical therapy, celebrating the life of your unique child and many other topics.
Abilities Expo also engages and it entertains. Attendees of all levels of ability can test their skills at martial arts, learn the latest dance moves, race radio-controlled cars and play adaptive sports.
There will also be special instruction on manual wheelchair skills for people of all abilities. If you never hopped a curb or popped a wheelie, now is your chance to learn. For kids, there will be face painting and special adaptive art activities created to accommodate all levels of ability. There will even be a giant floor mural for everyone to express their inner artist.
Animals have become an intrinsic part of the disability community. Some are essential to the healing process, while others help their human partners become more independent. Expo-goers will enjoy assistance dog demos, as well as a crash course on how to buy, train and live with your service dog. They will also see how miniature horses have become effective therapy animals.
One of the stars of "Push Girls" -- a documentary series from the Sundance Channel which traces the lives of four dynamic women in Hollywood who happen to be in wheelchairs -- will make an appearance at Abilities Expo. Chelsie Hill will lead the Walk and Roll Dance Team in daily dance events, and host book signings for her new novel, "Push Girl."
Mike Berkson and Tim Wamback, stars of the stage show "Handicap This!," will perform on Saturday, bringing their true-life adventure to expo attendees.
Brody Roybal, at 15 the youngest member of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team, will appear and author Karen Kain will be signing copies of her book, "A Unique Life Fully Lived" about her daughter Lorrain, who was vaccine injured at 6 weeks old. Julie-Anne Braun, author of "Fallen Angel Rising," will be signing copies of her autobiography about conquering your demons and reaching beyond them.
For more information, visit www.abilitiesexpo.com/chicago.