Get Into the Act at Abilities Expo

By Christina Elston

Abilities Expo, coming to the L.A. Convention Center Feb. 5-7, showcases technology, products, services and information for people of all abilities. But this is not an event designed just for looking.

The “Events Arena” at the back of the hall, for instance, will feature wheelchair dance, service dogs, adaptive shot put, all-abilities yoga, adaptive skateboarding, power soccer, wheelchair tennis and adaptive basketball. “This is where we do hourly demonstrations of accessible stuff,” says Abilities Expo CEO David Korse. “You can watch folks do it, or you can try stuff yourself.”

Near the arena there is free face painting. At the Artists Market, artists of all abilities will show and sell their work, and not far away is another chance to enjoy a little paint. “We’re going to attempt to create the world’s largest wheelchair painting,” Korse says, so look out for the 2,400-square-foot canvas and, if you use a wheel chair, be ready to make some art.

If you prefer not to keep your feet or your wheels on the ground, check out the 25-foot accessible climbing wall with a harness that helps all abilities rise to the challenge.

These attractions are on the perimeter of the show floor, and that is where Korse recommends families start. He advises taking the first 20 or 25 minutes of your visit to cruise the perimeter and get your bearings. Then you can start to dive into the activities and exhibits.

And there are lots of those. Workshops cover everything from emergency preparedness to theater improvisation, therapies for children and adaptive gardening. And, of course, there are booths showcasing every type of adaptive and therapeutic product you can imagine. There is a complete schedule and list of exhibitors online, and visitors will receive a show guide and exhibitor map.

Once you have registered – which you can do online or at the door – your badge lets you come and go as you please all three days. Admission and all activities are free, though there is a charge for parking (and no in-and-out privileges there).

Register and plan your day at www.abilitiesexpo.com.

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