Past Presenters

A to Z Mobility (6/14/17) 
Debbie Houtz, Business Development Manager for A to Z Mobility and Medical Equipment, joined us to discuss accessible equipment and adaptations available through companies such as A to Z Mobility.

Lt. Mark Aleckson, Arlington Heights Fire Dept. (4/19/17)
In his current capacity, Mark serves as the Public Education Officer for the Arlington Heights (IL) Fire Department. He offered some pointers for those with special physical or medical needs for being prepared to deal with an emergency situation, be it an accident or a home fire. Mark provided a handout about the Knox Home Box, a key box which allows rapid access to your home in the event of a medical emergency.

Brandi Romag, Arlington Heights Police Dept. (4/05/17)
Brandi, the Crime Prevention Officer for the Arlington Heights (IL) Police Department shared information and answered questions relating to safety on the internet and in our homes to prevent becoming victims of crimes. Some handouts were provided and will be made available here soon.

Nisha Shah, MS, CRC, LCPC (2/22/17)
As a licensed psychotherapist, Nisha Shah gave a quick overview of her approach for helping her physically and medically challenged clients.

Kristin Kronn, PhD, OTR/L, ATP (8/10/16)
Armed with innovative and adaptive ideas, Kristin Kronn, PhD, OTR/L, ATP showed us things we could do to prepare ourselves to participate in sport and leisure activities, and improve our mobility and overall conditioning, regardless of our abilities. Kristin has a Masters degree in occupational therapy and a Doctorate degree in assistive technology and augmentation communication. She has a specialty in spinal cord injury and particularly enjoys working with patients who have severe and profound disabilities. In addition to her 22 years as an occupational therapist, Kristin is also a coach for the Special Olympics program, is a rescue paramedic, and has a plethora of other interests and activities in which she is involved. She just never lets the grass grow under her feet which makes her eminently qualified to talk with us about getting up and moving!

Home for Life Advantage (6/15/16) 
Jacque Suhr, Director of Business Development for Home for Life Advantage, spoke with us about ways to make our home barrier free with items like ramps, chair lifts, bathroom solutions, etc. The company specializes in custom home modifications from adding grab bars, to building ramps, and on up to full home remodels. They offer free home assessments.

Jeffrey Rabin, Esq. (4/20/16)
Jeffrey Rabin, from the law offices of Rabin, Kodner & Brown, prepared a presentation for our group on Social Security Disability, including the laws, definitions and the process for applying. As a frequent speaker, and a “leading lawyer” in Illinois in the Social Security Disability practice area, he is well-qualified to lead discussions and answer the many questions a group such as ours often has. Handouts from his presentation are available via these links:
Jeffrey Rabin Introduction, The Presentation

Kwan Chong (5/18/16) 
Kwan Chong (L.Ac, Dipl.Ac) is a third generation acupuncturist who apprenticed under distinguished grand masters from Korea, China, and Japan. An advocate of preventative medicine, he stresses the importance of keeping one’s mind, body, and emotional state in good balance. Kwan works not only to alleviate symptoms, but also to heal the root of the patient’s condition. For our session, Kwan spoke with us about acupuncture and Eastern medicine as they relate to phantom pain and other medical conditions.

WaterGait WaterLeg (7/29/15) 
Laurel Krasne came to talk about how the WaterGait WaterLeg transformed her life, allowing her to get back in the water on two legs, play in the pool, do water aerobics, and swim. It also allows her to stand in the shower with a leg that will not get ruined with exposure to water.

Rehab Institute of Chicago – Research (6/19/15)
Shenan Hoppe-Ludwig, a CPO and Research Orthotist-Prosthetist at the Rehab Institute of Chicago, provided an overview of some of the research that is taking place at RIC.

Adaptive Adventures (03/11/15)
“LT” Tomsevics from Adaptive Adventures came with a presentation about all the exciting outdoor sports and recreation programs they have created for physically challenged youth, adults, and military.

Ryan Caldwell (2/25/15)
Ryan is a Board Certified licensed prosthetist for Scheck & Siress and an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University Prosthetic-Orthotic Center. He led a discussion about today’s prosthetics and options, and answered many questions from our members about the whys and hows involved in the selection of components with which to make a prosthetic device.

Karen Kaplan (1/2/15)
Karen talked about her experiences as the daughter of a Polish survivor of the Nazi brutalities during WWII. She came to realize that she was  consumed by feelings of rage, and as a result, began a journey into understanding  her father’s and her own ‘survivor mentality.’ She realized that she was not happy and never would be if she remained on the path she was on. She came to understand that to find happiness and a sense of peace, she would need to forgive her father and let go of the legacy of bitterness and fear that has hovered over the Jewish community following centuries of anti-Semitism.  “The truth is that we can’t affect the world by holding onto anger and fear. The only thing we can change is what’s inside of us.”

Rick Tivers  (01/14/15)
Described as a speaker, corporate trainer, discussion leader, and workshop facilitator, Rick wears many hats. He is an adjunct faculty member at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. For this meeting, he led us in discussions on how to find ways to tap our power within and to shed feelings of powerlessness.

Mark Grobner  (08/27/14)
Mark, a hospital chaplain by trade, serves as a part-time consultant to McKinney Prosthetics in Gurnee, IL, and to Paramount Prosthetics in Mount Pleasant, WI.  As a long-time below-knee amputee, his job is to introduce EMS prosthetic technology to area orthopedic surgeons and nursing home rehabilitation staffs. 

Michael McKinney (04/09/14) 
Mike is an Illinois certified prosthetist and orthotist, and is the owner of McKinney Prosthetics, which has offices in Gurnee and McHenry. McKinneys has played a major role in the technological advancement of prostheses.

Chuck  Silverstein (02/26/14)
As a life coach, Chuck helps people to identify and pursue goals, achieve balance, and improve relationships in their personal and professional lives.

Jenny Nilsen (02/12/14)
The Center for Identity Potential provides counseling to families and individuals. They offer specialized counseling for “gifted, talented and exceptional people” as well as general mental health counseling services. As a family counseling intern with a unique perspective, Jenny works most often with children.

Keri Schindler and Melissa Stockwell (11/06/13)
As dare2tri Level I USAT certified coaches, Keri and Melissa have a true passion for adaptive sports. As coaches and participants, they understand the effort and rewards involved in the competitive triathlete sports. Keri serves as the Executive Director of dare2tri, a Chicago-based organization serving individuals from all around the geographical area. Melissa, a World Champion of the Tri2 class in the sport of Paratriathlon and a wounded warrior of the conflict in Iraq, is a mentor and role model to other amputees.


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Experience a meeting and meet our members! Starting with 2018, the group will meet one Wednesday evening of each month in Arlington Heights. Learn more about us on this site and on our Facebook page.

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