Posts Tagged ‘magic therapy’

SOME MORE GOOD NEWS!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

In case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have missed a couple of really fantastic things that have happened in the last couple of weeks.

OUTSIDE THE BOX WINNER

First, our short documentary – Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic – was recently named Best Short Documentary in the Disabilities Track at the Outside the Box Film Festival in California.  We’ve submitted the film at several other festivals in 2015 and are waiting to hear if we’ve been accepted.  I think the message of the film is an important one for our society.  I hope the selection committees do as well!  If you want more information, you can also check out Join The Move.

VOA

 

Next, a second interview was posted by Voice of America on their website on the Healing of Magic program.  You can listen to the interview here.  You can also post a comment if you like.  Currently, there are comments from all over the world including these:

by: karnpob from: thailand

11/10/2014 2:45 AM
You know what Kevin. You’re not only help people with your magic trick but you also help millions of people to do as what you do. You enlighten many children regardless of their disability. So everybody applause!!! Just pay it forward.
by: Yan Chen from: China

11/14/2014 9:49 AM
I am moved when I read the story. It is so warm. Give more attentions to the weaker. Magic is not only cool but pretty helpful to change a person‘s mind.
by: verina from: egypt

11/09/2014 11:13 PM
It’s a great and moral thing to devote my skills that God grants me to help people with disabilities to build their self confidence. It’s what Spencer did with Liam using Magic Therapy.

VOA-VideoStory

 

And lastly, just in case you missed it, you can find the first Voice of America story HERE on the Hocus Focus Project.  I had the privilege of conducting a couple of workshops for individuals with autism a few weeks ago at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Maryland.  This story is based on those experiences.

We are wrapping up our fall tour this weekend.  We’ve had a great tour and have performed in some beautiful theatres to sold out audiences.  Thank you for your support!

THE FLORIDA TOUR

Monday, February 11th, 2013

After a bone-chilling start in Massachusetts and Ohio, we made our way south to Florida.  We’ve been touring here since the end of January and it’s been great.  As I write this, New England is getting slammed with one of the worst snow storms in almost 40 years.

PANAMA CITY, FL

I started the tour in Panama City, FL working with Jennifer Jones and the Marina Bay Civic Center/Bay Arts Alliance.  I spent a full week working with Jennifer including several performances, including one for a group of students and their teachers.  Jennifer sent along some of the thank you notes she received as well as some drawings the kids made.  This is one by a 1st grader who is attempting to draw the “Spikes Of Doom” with his teacher in the prop.

Some of the highlights for me include working with some amazing students at the Margaret K. Lewis School.  This is an education institution for children with developmental and cognitive delays too profound for mainstream classrooms.  Chase, Eli, and I spent an hour doing a little show for the entire school and then working with a few of the students to teach them some magic tricks.  This is the mission of the Hocus Focus Project and we all had a great time!

After a morning at the MKL School, we spent the afternoon working at The Pyramid Center.  There are several locations of this organization throughout Florida serving more than 700 adults with disabilities.  It was another success adventure and, afterwards, I had the chance to talk with Barry, the director of this service location.  He is preparing some of his clients for a big magic show that will happen in July 2013.  I’m hoping I can get back here for that!

The following day, I was back at the Marina Civic Center doing a workshop for about 40 homeschool students and their parents.  These opportunities allow me to clearly show the functional and academic benefits of learning magic for all students – those with or without disabilities.

We ended the week with a public performance at the Marina Civic Center.  The audience was energetic and enthusiastic – a great way to wrap up Panama City.

MADISON, FL

A short three hour drive from Panama City brought us into Madison, FL.  I was here in 2008 and had a great time working with Kim.

The show was on a Saturday night and we were SOLD OUT – only their second sold out performance in a very long time.  The audience was packed into the Van Priest Auditorium and ready to be amazed – about 650-700 folks.

This time she expanded our stay to include a Healing of Magic workshop for area therapists and those studying to become therapists and nurses.  We had a FULL HOUSE of almost 200 participants – too big to capture in one picture!

I’m always amazed at how quickly a 3-hour workshop goes…and this one went by so fast!  Students were engaged, learning, and participating in all of the activities including a few of them who “performed” for the rest of the group.  The most important aspect of this workshop is the task analysis of each trick so participants have a working knowledge of how to use them in their practice.

FORT LAUDERDALE

After our weekend in Madison, we were heading even further south to Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve worked here several times over the past few years.  This time they opted to include some educational outreach programs as well – including workshops for Therapists, Educators, and Care-givers of individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, and mental health concerns.

On the first day, I worked primarily with Occupational and Physical Therapists but also had several Behavioral Health professionals attend the 3-hour workshop.  We focused on how to integrate simple magic tricks into other treatment techniques to help motivate and engage clients.  Using magic can help clients improve processing skills, dexterity, coordination, coping techniques, frustration tolerance, impulsivity control, emotional regulation, social skills, and build their self-confidence.  In the afternoon, we stopped off at the Ann Stork School to do a little show and teach the clients a few tricks.

On Saturday morning, I had one more workshop at the Broward Center – this one for families and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum.   After the workshop, we stopped back by the hotel, picked up the rest of the team, and made our way over to the Parker Playhouse to get loaded in and start the set up day.

This would be our fourth time to perform on the stage of the Parker Playhouse.  We love working with Tate and his guys…it really is like working with old friends.  They take such great care of us.  And the audience never disappoints us – and last night was no exception!!  Amazingly responsive audience – thank you Fort Lauderdale!

ON THE ROAD…

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

After several weeks off the road (to recover from my shoulder surgery), today we start our 2013 tour.  In the next few days, we have two performances in Boston, a Healing of Magic workshop for therapists in Springfield (OH) followed by a performance the next evening.  There was a nice article in the SPRINGFIELD NEWS SUN last week about the show.  You can read that article HERE.

Once we wrap up in OH and MA, we are off to Florida…and, hopefully, warmer temperatures!

I have begun working on an exciting new project.  I really can’t talk much about it at the moment but, I promise, I’ll keep you posted when the time is right!

If you’re interested, my first article appeared in KIDZEDGE MAGAZINE on January 13, 2013.  You can find the article HERE.

CANADA WORKSHOPS

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Once again, I’ve been delinquent in writing in my blog.  It has been a very busy last couple of weeks.  Here it is – November!  We wrapped up October with some great shows in Connecticut (Palace Theater) and South Carolina (Theatre on the Green).  We had a packed, sold-out audience in Cheraw, SC at the Theatre on the Green – what a great night before Halloween!

This is the inside view of the spectacular Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT.  We had a great time – wonderful audience, strong responses, and got to spend a little time with the kids from the Special Olympics at a reception afterwards.

We started November in Aiken, SC where I did some Hocus Focus workshops with some amazing kids…

Two solid performances in Aiken at the URS Center for the Arts with packed houses, enthusiastic audiences, and great volunteers was a strong way to start November.  Early on Saturday morning, we drove back to Virginia so Chase and Cindy could vote early.  Cindy would be working the polls on election day…and Chase and I are currently in Canada conducting Healing of Magic workshops for rehabilitation therapists.

HEADING TO CONNECTICUT

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Tomorrow morning we will drive to Waterbury, CT for a performance at the beautifully restored Palace Theatre.  The show is on Friday night followed by a dessert reception which will benefit Special Olympics.  On Thursday, I’m going to be conducting a magic workshop for several athletes who participate in Special Olympics.  It’s going to be a great weekend.

For more information about the show and to buy tickets, click HERE.

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!

SOMERVILLE, NJ – OUTREACH

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

We arrived in Somerville, NJ to do some work in the community prior to our Saturday night show at the Theatre at RVCC. I was particularly excited by the fact that Cindy Alexander was able to get such a tremendous response from area organizations.  On Monday, I conducted an inservice program at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ.  This was an opportunity to share the concepts of “magic therapy” with physical therapists – tools they can use to help their clients with pain management, strengthening, balance, coordination, and motor skills.  We had a great time and the therapists could instantly see the potential for their clients for this type of treatment modality.

On Tuesday morning, several students from Montgomery Academy came to the Theatre at RVCC.  We had a great time teaching them some tricks and watching them engage in creative thinking and problem solving.  After lunch, I went to Somerset Hills Learning Institute to work with some of the students there.  Their motto is “Changing the face of Autism” and they are doing some great work.

In the evening, we all made our way to Somerset Medical Center for a 3-hours continuing education workshop on the therapeutic use of magic in rehabilitation.  We had therapists of all kinds – occupational, speech, and physical – attend the workshop.  It was an interactive learning experience for all of us!  Here are just a few pictures:

We’ll be coming back to Somerville on Saturday morning for our main performance at the Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College – come check it out!

UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER – BELFAST, UK

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

We landed on time at Belfast City Airport and made our way to the baggage claim.  As we entered the area, I got my first glimpse at Leon Andersen waiting for us in the main airport lobby.  Leon is a Facebook friend and we’ve been staying in touch for more than 2 years.  This trip was a great chance to meet him and hang out.  He has graciously volunteered to show us around Ireland during the brief time that we off.

We waited patiently for our luggage on the carousel…only to be disappointed.  None of our bags arrived with us!  We filed the necessary paper work and Leon drove us to the airport in Belfast’s Queen’s Quarter.  We parked the car and went on the search for food!

Lunch gave us some time to get to know each other, chat a little about magic, and talk about “tourism” plans for the next couple of days. Once we checked into the hotel, I took some time to relax and take a shower before dinner.  Tonight would be the first time that I would officially meet Daniel Harte and Alison Porter-Armstrong from the University of Ulster.

Dinner was fantastic at a restaurant called DEANES at Queen’s College.  There was quite a group of us – several of the area magicians (Alex, Paul and Leon), Daniel Harte (NI Hand Injury Rehab Center), Alison Porter-Armstrong (U of U Occupational Therapy), Rachelone of Alison’s graduate students), Chase, and I.  And, before the night was, over, Dido Green (researcher from Oxford Brooks in London) joined us for dessert.  We had good conversation about magic and rehabilitation and developing an undergraduate program in the OT Department of the University of Ulster.

It took some time to fall asleep once I got back to the hotel last night.  The enthusiasm about the magic therapy research project being considered by Daniel got me very excited. Once I finally fell asleep, morning came VERY quickly!

We were Dido and Leon for breakfast and then drove over to the University of Ulster to prepare for the workshop.  We had more than 40 therapists registered to attend a full day, 6-hour continuing education session on the Healing of Magic program.  This was due to the amazing work of Daniel and Alison at U of U – their enthusiasm for this project really moved it forward!

The morning session consisted mostly of providing the rationales, research, and case studies that support this treatment technique.  After a lunch break, the afternoon session was the “hands-on experiential learning” aspect of the workshop.  The University also invited some clients and special needs children to attend the workshop as a means by which they could gauge the immediate benefits of using magic tricks as a treatment technique.

When the day wrapped up around 4:30pm, it was great to hear so much positive feedback from participants.  We packed up and drove back into Belfast City Center where we spent the remainder of the evening exploring and enjoying the sights, sounds, and food of this fantastic city.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

PODCAST INTERVIEW ON ITRICKS

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

We’ve been staying busy around the Spencer office. Just because we’re not on the road, doesn’t mean their aren’t lots of things to do!  Chase has spent the last few days working in the warehouse repairing illusions, organizing cases, and making a list of all that needs to be done over the coming weeks.  Keith has been processing contracts, working on the new tech package, and making sure the office is running smoothly.

Today, however, I had the privilege of being interviewed for the iTricks Podcast with Justin Robert Young.  All the guys at iTricks have been big supporters of our work and this was an opportunity to talk about some of my recent research in healthcare and education.  You can check it out HERE.

RUTH ECKERD HALL – CLEARWATER, FL

Friday, January 20th, 2012

We started our 2012 tour with a performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida.  We have performed here several times in the past but this year was different for a couple of reasons.  First, the audience was very different this time.  Our Sunday matinee audience was a great mix of seniors, families, and young adults.  The packed house of more than 1800 people generated great energy and enthusiasm – and the diversity of the crowd was amazing.  I loved performing for this audience!

Second, I also had the chance to visit with my best friend in college, Danny Hodges.  He is the pastor of the Calvary Chapel in St. Petersburg.  He and his family were our guests at the show.  And we had the chance to visit Wendy and Danny the night before and after the show on Sunday.

Lastly, the day after the show was phenomenal!  Sharon and Kevin had arranged for me to spend some time with the therapists at two campuses of All Children’s Hospital.  I was able to share with them the concepts of “magic therapy” and how they can integrate simple magic tricks into the therapeutic toolbox.  Check out these pictures from the workshop and the magic show for the kids! It was the perfect ending to a great weekend at Ruth Eckerd Hall!