By: Kelly Rouba
Workshops & Demonstrations Offer Something for Everyone
Find us in New York/Metro at booth Number 834
In the land of all things disability, David Korse can easily be considered the Wizard of Oz. For those who’ve attended any one of the Abilities Expos that take place across the country each spring, you know just how jammed packed they are with helpful vendors, informative workshops, and cutting edge assistive technology. And Korse, who oversees the event with business partner Lew Shomer, promises this year will be even better.
Although neither Korse nor Shomer have a disability, both have about 30 years of experience working in the trade show and conference industry. As longtime friends, “we wanted to work together, so we started a search for potential opportunities,” Korse said. “We heard that the former owners were considering selling the Abilities Expo portfolio and, before we knew it, we had fallen in love with the events, and we became the new owners in the summer of 2008.”
For those in the tri-state area who’d like to attend the Abilities Expo, the event is set to take place May 4-6 at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison. “This will be the largest event in the show’s history, with dozens of new exhibitors who haven’t participated in the past. And of course, all of our regular exhibitors will be bringing the ‘latest and greatest’ to showcase,” Korse said.
According to the Abilities Expo website (www.abilitiesexpo.com), the event has helped to improve the lives of those living with disabilities as well as their families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals for over 30 years. No matter what your disability, the event will offer something for you in the way of “cutting-edge products and services, compelling workshops, (and) fun-for-the-whole-family activities.”
As in past years, exhibitors include many State agencies, non-profit health and disability-related groups, and services providers. Whether you’re looking to purchase medical equipment, modify your home or vehicle, or want to set up personal assistance services, the Expo has it covered.
Moreover, “we have a new slate of consumer workshops and some brand new demonstration events in the Events Arena. One of the highlights will be daily demonstrations of the Horse Boy Method. The demonstration will feature horses in the arena--a first for us,” Korse said. The Horse Boy Method involves using a horse to enhance communication with children on the autism spectrum.
Visitors can also watch demonstrations centered on adaptive sports, crafts, dance, assistive technology, and service dogs.
The workshops that will be offered throughout the weekend are free of charge. Topics include travel tips, dating, financial planning, enhancing your health, selecting a wheelchair, and home modifications, among others.
For a more specific list of workshops, exhibitors, demonstrations, and available assistive technology that will be offered in Edison, visit the website at: http://www.abilitiesexpo.com/newyork/e.html
Korse expects the New Jersey Expo to be well attended again this year. Attendees are of all ages and they come from all walks of life. Many also have some form of mobility, visual, hearing, or cognitive impairment.
“Our 2011 attendance was approximately 6,500 adults (over 18). We don’t count kids, but we estimated they made up between 20 to 25 percent of the total audience. So if you add kids and our exhibitor personnel (over 1,000), there were nearly 9,000 folks at last year’s show. We’re hoping for at least that many in May.”
And while there’s no doubt that those who attended the expo last year came away having learned something, Korse has learned a few things himself from the disability community. Aside from believing that the word “disabled” should be replaced with “differently abled,” he says, “(I learned that) attitude is everything.”