Magic Camp Planning CommitteeMagic Camp Planning Committee
Magic Camp 2020Magic Camp 2020 FlyerLearning and performing magic tricks has been shown to benefit children and adults with disabilities. The approach is being shown to be an effective treatment technique as it promotes motivation, and improves physical, psychological, perceptual, or social functions in those who participate.

The annual UAB Magic Camp is designed for children ages 9 -18 with disabilities. The camp is taught by UAB OT students trained in the protocol developed by Kevin Spencer, who is an international authority on the therapeutic use of magic tricks in physical and psycho-social rehabilitation.

Campers learn tricks as well as create props and costume pieces to help bring the magic to life. The camp culminates in a magic show at the Alys Stephens Center attended by family and friends.

If you are interested in UAB Magic Camp, click here to download our flyer or please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The lessons, the camp and the show are unforgettable highlights in our occupational therapy students' journey that we would love to share with you.

 

Close Up Look at UAB OT Magic Camp

Collaboration with the UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine

Collaboration with the UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine

The UAB Magic Camp is part of a collaboration between UAB's Department of Occupational Therapy, Children's of Alabama, Hocus Focus™ and the UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine. AIM focuses on the needs of the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and it includes both interactive and passive arts experiences, which can include bedside and workshop activities, or performances and visual art installations in public spaces.


Magic Camp

Magic Camp "Tricks" Kids Into Doing Therapy

Illusionist Kevin Spencer will tell you - tricks have more magic than you may think.

Spencer, an award-winning performing artist who toured the world for more than 25 years, created Hocus Focus™ to support the learning of students, with varying degrees of challenges and abilities, through the art of magic. He brings his magic to UAB OT Magic Camp every year through UAB's artist-in-residence fellowship program.


OT Students Gain Direction With Misdirection

OT Students Gain Direction With Misdirection

Each year during his residency at UAB, illusionist Kevin Spencer works with UAB OT students and gives them their own bag of tricks – complete with magical props like ropes and wands – and then he shows them how to perform some basic magic.

However, the real trick is that the students are learning more than magic. They are learning to direct their clients’ rehabilitation in three key areas: dexterity, motivation and socialization.


Close Up Profile: Inside Magic Camp

Close Up Profile: Inside Magic Camp

A few years back, Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy, was asked to consider bringing illusionist Kevin Spencer to UAB to teach therapeutic magic to first-year UAB OT students. He remembers that "at the time I was extremely skeptical - I thought 'this is not occupational therapy'."

But after watching Spencer and his students work together, his attitude toward Spencer's magic act quickly changed. In this video, Jenkins talks about how his mind was changed and why the UAB Magic Camp was developed.


Magic Revealed: The Power of OT

Magic Revealed: The Power of OT

Early in his career, Spencer was nearly killed in a car crash. He says when he woke up he was in neurological intensive care. He had a closed brain injury and a lower spinal cord injury. It took him nearly a year in intensive therapy just to regain the skills he lost as a result of the crash.

In speaking to our first-year UAB OT students, he talks personally and passionately about the power of the OT profession and how grateful he is for their work. From first-hand experience, he tells the students: "You will hold in your hands - the power to change peoples' lives."


Magic Revealed: Ropes Trick

Magic Revealed: Ropes Trick

For the UAB OT students to teach their future clients magic, they must first learn the tricks behind the act.

In this video, Spencer teaches the students a "Ropes Trick" where he takes three ropes of different lengths (short, medium, long) and he magically makes them all the same length. And then magically returns them to their original lengths!


Magic Revealed: Wand Trick

Magic Revealed: Wand Trick

As we've mentioned, Kevin Spencer is an illusionist and artist who has performed magic in front of tens of thousands of people on stages in 34 countries on six continents.

Even so, his excitment in working on a "small stage" with our first-year UAB OT students never wanes. His enjoyment is evident in round two of his magic lessons as he walks students through the floating wand trick.


Behind the Scenes: UAB OT Classroom

Behind the Scenes: UAB OT Classroom

Spencer believes that sometimes people in therapeutic health professions forget arts can play a significant role in recovery. His program, Healing of Magic™, is a carefully designed, systematic approach in promoting and protecting human health.

Every year, Spencer, who is considered the leading authority on the therapeutic benefits of magic, entertains and educates first-year students in our Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program. His workshop is part of a four-day teaching residency at UAB.