Magic program to help young people with cerebral palsy

The Arts Health Institute is very excited to be running our inaugural Brisbane Amazing Magic Club in July with the support of nib foundation. The Amazing Magic Club is an innovative, creative program based on Breathe Magic, an award-winning UK program that uses magic tricks to aid young people with spastic hemiplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

The 10-day Brisbane magic club, which is only the second of its kind to be held in Australia, will provide young people the opportunity to work alongside some of the country’s most talented magicians, Bruce Glen and Sam Angelico, to learn some incredible magic tricks while also improving their hand and arm movement.

Arts Health Institute Chief Executive Maggie Haertsch said cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in Australian children with a child with celebral palsy born every 15 hours.

“Spastic hemiplegia, which the program focuses on treating, is a form of cerebral palsy that causes paralysis on one vertical half of the body,” Dr Haertsch said.

“This unique program, funded by nib foundation, is a new approach to treating children with hemiplegic CP where the hand/arm is affected that uses the repetitive action of magic tricks to build up strength and dexterity in these areas. It is strongly focused on improving bimanual skills and the entire program is specifically designed to encourage the use of both hands,” she added.

One of the greatest proven outcomes for the program is the huge growth in self-confidence and communication skills of all those participating, as several mothers of participants of the first Sydney club have said:

"I would say, categorically, that the Amazing Magic Club has changed Richard’s life through changing his perception of himself. I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to take part in such a fantastic experience." Alison, mother of Richard who attended the Amazing Magic Club Sydney, January 2014

"Stevie has been so enthused and energised by this experience. Not only is Stevie saying to me 'look mum' when she uses her left hand and not only is she actually really 'wanting' to try to use her left hand but an added bonus is that her confidence full stop had been boosted." Natasha, mother of Stevie who attended the Amazing Magic Club, Sydney, January 2014

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch said they were proud to support the Australian pilot of the program which is designed to improve both the physical and mental health of its participants aged 7 to 16 years old.

“The intensive therapy program not only improves limb movement but also promotes social and emotional wellbeing as the child grows into adulthood which is an important part of these young people’s development,” Mr Lynch said.

Alongside learning some astonishing magic tricks young people will be playing lots of games, having meals using cutlery and creating their own costumes. At the end of the two-week residency they will be sharing their newfound skills with friends and family in a unique theatrical grand performance to be held at the Princess Theatre at 6:30pm on Friday July 11th.

The Arts Health Institute’s Amazing Magic Club will be running in Brisbane from 30th June – 11th July 2014.