Like many, our family has experienced great change since COVID crept into our lives. Not all the change has been negative. BJ not attending his day program has forced us to think outside the box and look for new ways to fulfil his social and physical well-being.
Every year I attend the various disability expos because I want to know what is available in the disability sector in recreation, services, and the equipment space. Since the implementation of the NDIS there’s been incredible growth in the variety of services available. It’s actually hard to keep up so I have missed the opportunity I usually have to research and learn more this year. COVID has taken a toll on expos and exhibitions and most have been cancelled or postponed. I was therefore thrilled to see a Virtual Disability Expo is being held online Friday 4th and Saturday 5th September.
I’m usually a great one for doing things in person but I’m adapting to joining in online and I’ve found great advantages. Parent teacher meetings on Zoom should never disappear, it was so easy to stay home, not look for parking, not pressure Hubby to be home in time to look after BJ and I could do it all with PJs hidden under a jacket! Similarly, we attended the Sydney Film Festival by watching online at home in the comfort of our warm house. So, I’m excited to be a part of the Virtual Disability Expo. I’m hoping the online event may make it easier for myself and many others to attend. It is definitely the safest option given the current pandemic.
The Virtual Disability Expo is taking everything online, so as a visitor to the exhibition you can look through the list of stall holders and click on the ones you are interested in over the two day period. Once you are virtually in the stall there will be information you can download on the products or services, a message feature so you can send questions, and many exhibitors have the option live video chat with a representative of the company (think Zoom stall holder meetings). If you’re an extrovert, you can connect personally and if you’re an introvert you can sneak in and grab those brochures and be out of there. Often something difficult to do when at an expo in person!
To ensure the information you receive is relevant to the area where you live, exhibitors will be automatically filtered for you, although you will have the option to visit other regions if you would like to. Options include Sydney, Nepean, Melbourne, Geelong and Gold Coast. Being a disability expo, the accessibility of the event is top of mind with the organisers. The event will be screen reader compatible, Alt text will be provided, all stage presentations will be accompanied by Auslan and/or live caption and Auslan interpreters are available on request.
I usually enjoy the live presentations from speakers at the disability expos and these are still happening online. The speaker list is growing by the day with an impressive range of topics being covered including the NDIS (multiple sessions), transitioning out of high school, choosing the right equipment and more. I’ll be presenting again this year and talking all things accessible and inclusive travel. There’s also a lovely line up of recreational options being covered including Scuba Gym, The Daise Chain and Nature Freedom. I suggest checking the website regularly in the lead up to the event so you can plan the sessions you’d like to attend.
Life has changed drastically this year but in many ways the world has become more accessible to people with a disability with a variety of options for attending events. I’m pleased to have a safe way of researching new options for BJ through the online platform created for the Virtual Disability Expo.
Register online for the Virtual Disability Expo in advance and you’ll receive a free digital copy of the September 2019 issue of Travel Without Limits magazine. I’m biased I know but the issue is jam-packed with fantastic travel stories and information about equipment and recreation options.
The Virtual Disability Expo is happening Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September. Register online here.
Follow the expo Facebook page for regular updates about those participating in the event.