A CORK woman is working her magic on the healthcare sector by introducing a unique and quirky form of therapy for kids.
Danielle Blower Kelly from Douglas, provides individualised and personal care through a team of health professionals at her company Allied Healthcare. While the service is nurse-led, the mum of three has now added a magician to her team.
The CEO and former clinical nurse manager has worked in various specialties over the years. One of her main passions is finding new and innovative ways to help children with specific needs.
It was a friend of her and her husband’s, Leon Andersen, who allowed her to see the benefits of magic in a healthcare setting firsthand.
Magician Leon trained under the watchful eye of illusionist Kevin Spencer, who first developed the concept of magic therapy and is recognised as the leading authority on the therapeutic use of simple magic tricks. Leon previously earned a diploma in autism awareness before completing a course to become a special needs assistant.
The magician has now managed to bring his two loves together with the help of Danielle. They are planning to help children with special needs and issues like anxiety, through group and one-on-one magic classes. Danielle hopes to have magic therapy available in locations all over Ireland in the near future.
She explained the benefits of magic for children with specific needs.
“You are making something fun without the child realising you are actually helping them,” she explained. “It’s a huge passion of mine to come up with different ideas that are outside of the norm.
“This is all about bringing therapies down to a child’s level and making it fun for them. Our attitude is that anything that can potentially help someone should be tried and tested. This is carefully designed with a specific systematic approach for therapeutic use only.”
She described how magic can empower children with a number of conditions, including anxiety.
“There are an awful lot of other things outside of the ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) spectrum that children struggle with. These are kids who would also really benefit from magic therapy. Many children with anxiety have a tendency to fidget and this helps them channel that energy into something creative.
“Additionally, magic tricks promote communication and self-esteem for children, improving their hand-eye coordination, memory sequences, attention span and concentration as well as their fine and gross motor skills. Even the knowledge of a simple trick can leave them with something they can use to communicate with people. A child’s social skills can also really benefit.”
Danielle is enjoying her time collaborating with Leon.
“Leon is amazing with kids and magic is something that really grasps a child’s attention.”
In time, Danielle hopes to expand the magic therapy to benefit other healthcare settings such as nursing homes, hospitals and residential care centres.
“Magic therapy really helps with the memory so it would also be very beneficial to older people. As an organisation, we always say that we look after people from birth to retirement.”
To find out more about magic classes available around the country in the coming months visit the Allied Healthcare Facebook page.