Well, probably not, but it definitely improves the self-esteem of ADHD kids.
A study published in Health Psychology Research, and as reported on the University of Alabama website says, “[the study] is a collaboration between the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Institute for Arts in Medicine, the School of Health Professions’ Department of Occupational Therapy and illusionist and educator Kevin Spencer.
It shows the effectiveness of a virtual summer magic camp program in enhancing self-esteem in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Children with ADHD can experience low self-esteem.
Learning and performing magic tricks can benefit children and adults with disabilities. The approach promotes motivation and improves physical, psychological, perceptual or social functions in those who participate and has been shown to be an effective treatment technique. Magic trick programs have also been reported to enhance the self-esteem of children with severe emotional disturbances, and those with a diverse range of developmental disabilities such as communication difficulties, learning difficulties, (emotional) behavioral disorders, autism and ADHD.
The single-group study at UAB included six children with ADHD, ages 8-14, who participated in a virtual magic camp program designed for children with disabilities. The camp met three days a week, in sessions from 45 minutes to one hour, over four consecutive weeks, for a total of nine to 12 hours. Participants completed assessments before and after camp, and they and their parents were individually interviewed after camp to explore their camp experience.
Self-esteem scores after the magic camp were significantly higher than the self-esteem scores before camp. Findings were validated by the participants, who described gains in self-esteem after participating in the magic camp, and by the parents’ statements regarding the positive impact on their child’s psychological well-being.”
While this was a small group study, it does warrant further research. Magic almost always intrigues children and adults. It can hold their attention. However, learning magic, requires attention, social interaction, planning, organization, and decision making. These are all executive functions that are typically weak in ADHD children.
Using magic is a novel and fun way to not only increase self-esteem, but to teach executive function.
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