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Motor Skills Roundup

April 9, 2010

Children with impaired muscle coordination may benefit from learning to perform magic tricks.


Magic tricks that help kids. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Children with impaired muscular coordination, from disease or injury, need to perform exercises to regain muscle control. But it’s hard to get kids to do boring exercises day after day. That’s why Dido Green at Tel Aviv University turned to magic. She’s found that teaching kids simple sleight of hand tricks motivates them to practice the tricks over and over. That, in turn, improves their ability to do other things, from buttoning a shirt to typing on a keyboard.

In related news, scientists at Rutgers University have created games for a Sony Playstation that help teenagers with cerebral palsy. The games involve performing repetitive fine motor tasks and have been found to improve the teens’ hand strength and range of motion. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.