Posts Tagged ‘ADHD’

IT’S MARCH…

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

I haven’t been writing in my blog nearly as much as I once did.  Much of that is because I’m connected to so many people through Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare that you know my day-t0-day activities without having to write them here.  But I know that some of you aren’t connected with me so, please, take a moment and do that:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/kevinwspencer

Twitter: @kevinspencer72

The last few months have been incredibly busy.  In January and early February, we toured in Florida performing for wonderful audiences in beautiful places and warm temperatures.  In February, we moved the show to the Midwest where we toured Iowa – where we also performed for wonderful audiences in beautiful places and COLD temperatures!

After a nice run through Iowa, the team flew back to Virginia for a few days while I made a visit to Kansas State University to work with some of their drama therapy students.  Over several days, an amazing group of people gathered to prepare for an exciting research project happening this summer at the Flint Hills Summer Fun Camp.  We will be exploring the impact that learning/performing magic tricks can have on the executive function skills of children with Autism and ADHD.  This will be the first multidisciplinary, arts-integrated intervention model designed to document this type of program!

After a few days in Manhattan, KS, I drove back to Kansas City to present a 3-hour workshop at the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders.  This was a wonderful opportunity to share the Hocus Focus program with special educators across the U.S.  The workshop was overwhelmingly received with more than 40 schools signing up to participate in future research.

Once things wrapped in Kansas, I was on a plane to College Station, TX where I would meet up with the rest of the team.  We had a great show and spent several days working in the area:  3 television interviews, 1 newspaper interview, 1 radio interview, 8 workshops for 205 special education students in 7 schools, and 2 professional development workshops for 53 teachers and therapists.  It was a productive week!

We drove on to Amarillo for a performance at the Globe-News Theatre.  This is a truly spectacular theatre – one of the most unique I’ve ever seen.  The audience was amazing and we wrapped it all up with another standing ovation.

As I write this, I’ve been partnering with Lone Tree Performing Arts Center and Developmental Pathways in Colorado.  It’s been a busy week working with a variety of young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities throughout the Metropolitan Denver area.  But it has been an amazing experience!  Tomorrow is the last of our events here and then I’ll be on a flight to Virginia on Sunday to spend 36 hours at my house…just in time for another snow storm.

A WEEK IN NEW JERSEY

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I have to apologize again for not being as prompt as I should be in writing this blog.  My days have been slammed – and so have my nights.  The performance schedule is busy and that’s a great thing.  But beyond the shows, I’m also working in many of these communities with special education students, clients in rehab hospitals, and conducting continuing education training sessions for educators and therapists.  And I’m trying to wrap up my Certification in Autism Students while writing a research paper on the Social and Cognitive Benefits of Integrating Magic Tricks for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

We have had some great shows this season – enthusiastic audiences and strong responses!  Our week in New Jersey was no exception.  The opportunity to work in two schools and two rehabilitation hospitals in Somerville was a great way to start the week.  You can reach more about it on the previous blog post

From Somerville, we made our way to Vineland in the southern part of New Jersey.  Our performance was scheduled for Friday night in the Guaracini Fine & Performing Arts Center…

…but, on Thursday, Chase and I had the chance to work with some college students.  I taught them a few magic tricks with the express purpose of improving memory, concentration, sequencing, and creativity.  They did an outstanding job!

On Friday, when we arrived at the theatre, we were greeted by Chris and the technical crew.  This would be our second time on the stage at CCCNJ.  Greg and his team are great, fun to work with, and very professional.  They were ready to get the show loaded in, set up, and ready for the audience.  The day rolled along very smoothly – scenery, lighting, focus, cues, etc.

The audience for the Friday performance was fantastic!  Meeting them in the lobby afterward is always a highlight for me.  Hearing their comments about their favorite illusion or moment in the show makes it all worthwhile.

After Vineland, we were on our way back north to Somerville.  This would be our 4th or 5th performance at the Theatre at RVCC working with Alan and his team.  It is always such a pleasure to work here (dare I say like family?) – and after two days working in the community, I was looking forward to the show!  I took lots of pictures during the day AND this audience was wonderful – engaged and responsive to all the illusions.  It was the perfect way to end a week in New Jersey!

HOCUS FOCUS WORKSHOP – STUART, FL

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I’ve just spent the last few days in New York City attending a series of meetings.  Getting there was a bit of a challenge because weather in the Southeast has been unusual (to say the least).  But the biggest challenge came afterwards.

I was scheduled to be in Stuart, FL on Tuesday night in preparation for a Professional Development Workshop that I was presenting for Martin Memorial Hospital System.  There were some 30 therapists and teachers who had signed up for this workshop that started today (Wednesday) at 1pm.

I flew from NYC’s LaGuardia airport to Charlotte, NC for a connection into Lynchburg.  I left NYC around 1pm just as the storm started to bear down on the Southeast part of the country.  By the time I landed in Charlotte, I knew there was going to be trouble with my connection.  I needed to be in Lynchburg on time at 5:30pm.  Alan and Chase were to pick me up at the airport, swap my luggage, and then jump into the truck to start the drive to Florida.  We were originally schedule to spend the night in Rockingham, NC – about 4 hours down the road.  My flight continued to get delayed due to weather and mechanical issues.  As it turned out, the cargo door was first frozen closed and, once they opened it, it wouldn’t close again.  We finally boarded the plane around 6pm and then sat on the runway to be de-iced for another two hours.  It was nearly 9:30pm before I landed in Lynchburg (four hours late).  We made the switch and were on the road by 10:30pm.

We drove straight into the oncoming snow storm.  As we crossed into North Carolina, the snow was coming down hard – almost blinding at times.  We made a change to our reservation and pulled over in Reidsville, NC about 100 miles from home.

The next morning, we were on the road around 8am.  We needed to give the DOT time to get the roads in better condition.  For the most part, the roads were great.  They were a few stretches in North Carolina that were kind of scary though.  We stayed in ice and snow through North Carolina, South Carolina, and a good part of Georgia.  We were never so glad to see the ‘WELCOME TO THE SUNSHINE STATE” sign as we entered Florida!  As we wrapped up the drive, it was 768 miles in a single day – but we made it.

The workshop today went incredibly well.  It made the long day yesterday worth the drive!  The therapists and teachers were so excited to learn how to incorporate magic tricks as a new treatment and education tool.  The four hours just flew by and the workshop was over before we knew it.

The next two days will be spent working one-on-one with several pediatric clients who have Cerebral Palsy, Autism, or Downs Syndrome.  Thursday and Friday are packed and it’s going to be a blast!  Saturday we have a six hour workshop for adult rehabilitation therapists that’s going to be very rewarding and loads of fun.  Then two shows on Sunday and Monday at the Lyric Theatre….Tuesday, we are working in the Martin County Schools.  Wow, what a week!!

SPRING IN VIRGINIA

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

It’s been very nice to be home for a few days.  The temperatures in Virginia are finally warming up and getting back to normal.  It’s great to see the flowers blooming, trees budding, and plants starting to grow.

I’ve been trying to enjoy this time off the road while attempting to get caught up on all the things in the office that get neglected while traveling.  I’ve been working very hard this week to solidify our 2010/2011 tour schedule.  It should be online soon and I’m happy with the way things are coming together for next season.

I’ve also been working on the HOCUS FOCUS project.  I am very close to having this completed and, now, have more incentive to get it done.  I’ve been invited to speak at the international conference on special education in Riga, Latvia in June.  I need to finish the curriculum and pull together a presentation for this group of educators and professionals.  More on all of that later…

Tomorrow (Monday, 3/15), I’ll be driving to Washington, DC for a meeting at the Kennedy Center.  I’m being considered for their CETA program – Changing Education Through the Arts – as a teaching artist.  This would give me additional opportunities to work with educators on the Hocus Focus project.

Lots of projects in the works…

MERRIMACK HALL – HUNTSVILLE, AL

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

After that first day in Huntsville, I think we were all exhausted.  The day started early and ended late but what a great day it was!  When I arrived in Huntsville, there were only a handful of tickets remaining for the two performances.  By the time we wrapped up the morning media on Thursday, we were sold out and they were selling “standing room” tickets.

Merrimack Hall is a great space with historical significance.  The two people behind this project are Debra and Alan Jenkins…and they’ve hired a great team of people to work with them.  What I appreciate most is their commitment to impacting people’s lives through the arts – on and off the stage.  One of their programs is called DANCE YOUR DREAMS designed for special needs to kids.  You’ve got to check it out – it’s an inspiring project.

FRIDAY

While the rest of the team went over to Merrimack hall to load in and begin setting up for the evening performance, I began my Friday morning with a second visit to St. Jude Children’s Hospital accompanied by Hayley and Ashley.  As you walk through the door of the hospital, one of the first things you will see is the Wall of Heroes – photographs of children who have won their battle with cancer and are pursuing their dreams.  The sign next to their photos reads:

WE HONOR THESE BRAVE CHILDREN WHO HAVE PERSEVERED WITH SMILES, LAUGHTER, AND OPTIMISM IN SPITE OF THEIR ILLNESSES.  THESE YOUNG WARRIORS ARE AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US AND REMIND US THAT LIFE IS PRECIOUS.

I think it’s important for you to understand that I’m doing more than simply performing for these children when I go to the hospital. There are many clowns and magicians across the country who take their time to do this – and it’s a great cause.  But what I do is teach the children some simple tricks so they can perform for their families and friends.  Learning these tricks builds their confidence and gives them the ability to do something that most people can’t do.  That “gift” helps their self-esteem and self-concept.  Just look at Connor when he performed this trick for the group!

After wrapping up at the Children’s Hospital, I was on my way to Merrimack Hall to help the guys with the rest of set up.  The day ran very smoothly thanks in large part to the experience of my guys and the professionalism of the technical team, Matt and Ernie.  We placed all the illusions, focused lights, and set cues.  Before we knew it, we were ready for that first show and dinner was on the table.

We opened the doors early to help move the audience into their seats quickly.  The house was packed – Standing Room Only.  And the crowd was energetic and enthusiastic!  We had some great volunteers on the stage throughout the evening making for a lively show.  And in the lobby afterwards, I had the chance to make a lot of new friends…and catch up with some from my past who came to the show.  And I met a few of the area magicians as well whose support is always appreciated.

SATURDAY

Saturday morning was a very special workshop for some of the DANCE YOUR DREAMS kids and several other special needs children from the community.  The HOCUS FOCUS project is designed for kids with physical and mental challenges including Autism and ADHD.  We had a wonderful group for the workshop and the next two hours went so quickly, it was hard to believe.  They learned lots of tricks and many of them stood before the group and performed.  We had several Stars on the stage that morning.

The workshop was held at Merrimack Hall’s dance studio so, when it was over, we didn’t have far to go to get to the stage.  The rest of the team arrived right after lunch and we ordered some Thai food before we began getting ready for the second sold out show in Huntsville.

Another great audience for Saturday night wrapped up the perfect three days here.  The folks at Merrimack Hall spoiled us!  Their hospitality and genuine enthusiasm for their work made it a privilege to be a part of the vision they have for Huntsville.  We are already talking about coming back in 2011/2012.  Thanks to the entire team for all your hard work!  And thank you Huntsville for supporting our show!

AMERICAN VOICES – SIRIUS RADIO

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Today was a busy day.  We had another “winter storm” come in last night so I’m the only one who worked from the office.  Everyone else worked from their apartments.  I feel like I accomplished a lot though – confirmed some dates for next year (the tour is looking very nice) and answered some of those emails that I’ve been neglecting these last few weeks (unintentionally of course).

This afternoon, I was privileged to talk with Senator Bill Bradley for an upcoming broadcast of AMERICAN VOICES – his radio show on Sirius/XM radio. We talked for about 45 minutes – about the show, the Healing of Magic program, and our newest project, Hocus Focus. It was a fun interview – relaxed and conversational.  I’ll keep you posted on the broadcast date!

JACKSONVILLE, FL – DAY TWO

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I’ve been battling a really nasty cold since I got back from the frigid temperatures of New York in early January.  I’ve been taking all kinds of over-the-counter medications and I think I’m feeling better but it comes and goes.  I know I’m not contagious so that’s a good thing; right now, it’s mostly a stuffy nose and a slight cough.  There’s no way I would miss the opportunity to spend another day at the Alden School.

Morning came early again and my alarm went off at 6:30am.  We (Ethan, Alan, and I) were in the lobby by 7:15am and at the school by 7:45am.  Our first class came into the meeting area promptly at 8am and we were off.  This morning was filled with little “miracles” as we watched students with autism have a “Gerstalt Moment” – that instant where things “clicked” and they understood the “mystery” of the trick and not just the movements required to perform it.  We watched them self-correct so they could do each movement in the right way so the magic would happen.  And I watched one exceptional young non-verbal autistic man teach another classmate the trick.  Does it get any better than that?

Class after class, magical moment following magical moment – this was an inspiring way to begin a Thursday….and two days in Jacksonville that I will never forget!

FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I had the privilege of appearing on FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND this morning to talk about my new project, Hocus Focus.  I’ve already received dozens of emails from people across the country interested in more information.  For me, that’s really exciting!

Keith and I were at the studio early so I could also do a few “bumps” for the upcoming interview…and the interview went very well.  What was really cool though was the invitation to hang around for the “after-the-show show” which streams online at FoxNews.com.  I’m not sure if there’s a way to still see this interview but it was a blast – very casual and lots of good information (if anyone can find it online and figure out a way to download it, I’d love to get a copy).

Thanks for tuning in and watching the segment.  For those interested in more information, either comment here or drop me an email at info@magictherapy.com