When my mom asked if I wanted to check out the Phoenix Abilities Expo, I shrugged. I had never been to an “expo,” so I had no idea what to expect. “Sure, but we can’t stay long, because I have a ton of homework,” I said. (I needed an “out,” in case it was boring. My mom promised we would just stop by and could leave whenever I wanted.)
After we entered the giant building, they handed us an empty tote bag and told us to scan a QR code for an exhibit map. I quickly realized the bag was for collecting various pamphlets and disability swag: pens, bracelets, candy, water bottles. And the map was really important, because this place was enormous!
One of the first exhibits we saw was for Ability360 Sports and Fitness, which is the place where I like to work out. I already know a lot about it, but it was fun to stop by, because I got to see Kaitlyn, who used to be my tennis coach. Now she runs all these amazing outdoor adventure programs for them. She told me about leading an expedition recently into the heart of the Grand Canyon with a group of people with disabilities. It sounded amazing!
I also had a really interesting conversation with a man who runs an organization dedicated to helping disabled people learn to fly a plane. The plane was on display, and it was specially adapted to allow people with mobility disabilities to get in and out. I told my mom I wanted to fly a plane someday. (She didn’t seem excited about that.)
They had a booth that was dedicated to inclusive interior design, too. The people there were really nice and answered all my questions. I thought it looked like fun to have a job where you get to design homes to be more accessible.
Although I’m not in the market for a new wheelchair, I stopped by the Quantum display to see Andrew, the person who helped fit me to my Stretto Power Chair with iLevel® two summers ago. He even inspected it for me and adjusted a couple things, which was really nice of him!
There was so much to see, including adapted vehicles, recreational items, and more. After almost 3 hours, my mom had to remind me I had homework!
About Maddie Kasten: Maddie is a Q Roll Model for Quantum Rehab. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and enjoys participating in adaptive sports, playing video games and watching anime. Click here to learn more about Maddie.