Summer of Helping Hands

For the past few weeks, lead by magicienne Julie Eng, we made one of our favourite stops to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab to bring some magic to the Helping Hands program.

Helping Hands is a modified constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) for clients with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) secondary to an acquired brain injury or stroke. Participants are required to wear a splint or cast on their non-affected hand. Activities that encourage the functional use of their hemiplegic arm, such as magic, help participants in their physical therapy.

Helping Hands aims to promote the use of each participant’s affected upper extremity through individually selected activities targeting specific movements and upper extremity function. This is where magic plays a vital part: while it challenges participants to use their hemiplegic side, it also provides them with a goal and feelings of accomplishment after performing a magical feat that warrants instant feedback, such as an audience applauding a performance.

Magic truly has a versatile effect to those who practice it, and we watched it all spring to life in our Helping Hands participants. Some of our “magicians” in this session were past participants, allowing us to dig deep into our bag of tricks and to come up with new challenges for them. We were able to further empower magicians by asking them to also to coach one another.

By the end of the session, we saw that magic built confidence, promoted control and discipline, and created great satisfaction in each magician’s individual and group accomplishments.

We hope the wonders of magic continue with each of our graduates, and may it be shared to other members of our community!

Thank you to the ever-amazing team of dedicated staff and volunteers at Holland Bloorview. It takes one-to-one support to make this sort of program successful. We are so lucky to have so many stellar coaches regularly at our sessions. Thank you, Team! It was a great one!

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