If You Don't Know What the Abilities Expo Is, Here's Why You Need To
Over the weekend, Abilities.com hosted its 2015 Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. The event took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center and featured innovative adaptive products, stellar art, local athletic opportunities and workshops for people with disabilities and their families. The Abilities Expo is free to all participants and takes place in different cities across the U.S. Visit its website for dates and more information.
When we attended, many people shared their unique experiences with us.
We also met a few service animals.
Kelly Stack from Canine Angels explained how dogs are matched with owners who have physical or intellectual disabilities. Each dog lives with a host family and undergoes a two-year training process where they learn more than 40 commands.
The dogs then meet their potential forever families for the first time for a two-week intensive course. They finally go home after a graduation celebration in Oregon.
These dogs are more than just service animals, they inspire their owners to have confidence and achieve their dreams. Daniele Moore, a woman with autism, told The Mighty that her dog, Chesney, helps her overcome her fear of crowds. With Chesney by her side, Moore has the courage to visit Disneyland and now has a season pass to the theme park.
Dogs aren’t the only animals that provide service and companionship. Horses from Dreamcatcher L.A. bring joy to people with disabilities and encourage independence.
Riding and interacting with horses helps people gain spatial relationships and stimulates the same muscles as walking.
The Abilities Expo also featured adaptive bicycles, custom-designed by Freedom Concepts. These bicycles, tricycles and tandem bikes allow users to ride alone or with assistance.
They also allow parents to share a bike ride with their child, no matter what their ability.
With these bikes, Philip Jones, 24, experienced the thrill of riding a bicycle for the first time since he was 5 years old.
The Abilities Expo also included adaptive sport demonstrations, like tennis, dance and skateboarding.
Overall, what the Abilities Expo showed us was the strength of the human spirit and the power of resilience. We met folks determined to help others with disabilities be recognized in society as people — not as “less than.”
We were Mighty proud to have been a part of it and can’t wait for the next one.
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