Magician Kevin Spencer seriously injured his hand in a car accident, but the therapy needed to regain his manual dexterity had an unexpected side effect: it started him thinking about the therapeutic benefits of magic. It’s an idea he explores more fully in the award-winning documentary “Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic,” as Spencer takes the healing power of magic around the world.
“Could a simple magic trick be used to help someone with a disability become more confident, more capable, more sociable?” Spencer wonders in the film, but he’s not just idly pondering. Spencer is the founder and executive director of Hocus Focus, Inc., which is “dedicated to researching the benefits of the arts to help improve the skills that many children with disabilities find challenging.” He and his colleage, Dr. Susan O’Rourke of Carlow University (PA), have developed an assessment tool that “measures student learning outcomes in five areas – cognition, motor skills, communication, social skills, and flexible thinking – using an arts-based curriculum like magic tricks.”
To get your daily reminder that magic is for everyone, spend 22 minutes watching Powerful Medicine, which you can rent or buy from the Simply Magic site. For more information on curriculums including magic, visit the Hocus Focus site.