Abilities Expo Features Service Dogs and More

Canine AngelsSAN JOSE, Calif. — From Nov. 18 to 20, 2,420 people with disabilities and their families and caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals attended the Abilities Expo at the San Jose Convention Center. The show featured mobility products, workshops and events for all ages.

“We were thrilled to see so many people from the Bay Area community of people with disabilities come together for our first San Jose event,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “Watching visitors engage with our exhibitors, taking advantage of our free consumer workshops and interacting with all of the special event demonstrations made everyone on our team feel great. My favorite part was watching kids take part in several of the special events like dancing with the Colours Dance Team and interacting with the horses that were part of the Horse Boy demonstration.”

Free workshops were offered that addressed disability issues including travel, home modifications, navigating Health Care Reform, employment, dating, caregiving and mobility solutions.

Attendees of all abilities also learned some hip-hop wheelchair dancing moves, experienced a canine assistance demo, watched performing arts and played adaptive sports.

Highlights from the show:

Icon Wheelchair

Icon Wheelchairs introduced its new ultralightweight wheelchair, the Icon A1, which features 11 independently adjustable components. Co-founder Jeff Adams said that a wheelchair user’s need for adjustability can be nearly constant, caused by factors as major as a change in medical condition or function or as everyday as needing to fit under tables of different heights or switching seat cushions of varying heights.

Actor and television icon Henry Winkler, better known as the Fonz, shared his personal story about his mother's struggle with upper limb spasticity in a workshop called Understanding Upper Limb Spasticity on Nov. 18.

Up & Away Ballooning, a hot air balloon tour company located in Windsor, Calif., was on hand to show off its accessible balloon.

Freedom Mobility showcased its Freedom Chair, an all-terrain 6x6 wheelchair meant for the outdoors. The chair features sic high-flotation knobby tires.

In 2012, Abilities Expo will have six shows:

  • Atlanta: Feb. 17-19
  • Los Angeles: March 30-April 1
  • New York: May 4-6
  • Chicago: June 29-July 1
  • Houston: Aug. 3-5
  • San Jose, Calif.: Nov. 16-18

Click here to view the 2012 lineup.