Conducting research to support this unique and innovative approach is critical. If the arts have any hope of remaining relevant in our schools and healthcare, practitioners must be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of an arts-based approach across multiple dimensions, including cognition. Spencer and his colleagues have published several studies in peer-reviewed journals on topics related to education and healthcare.


Spencer, K., Yuen, H., Jenkins, G., Kirklin, K., & Edwards, L. (2022). Magic trick training program to improve social skills and self-esteem in adolescents with autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(1).

Yuen, H., Spencer, K., Kirklin, K., Edwards, L., & Jenkins, G. (2021). Contribution of a virtual magic camp to enhancing self-esteem in children with ADHD: A pilot study. Health Psychology Research, July 2021. 

Spencer, K. (2021, September). Hocus Focus: Magic as a creative art therapy. In S. Bailey (Ed.), Creative Arts Therapy Careers: Succeeding as a Creative Professional. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis. 

Spencer, K., Yuen, H., Jenkins, G., Kirklin, K., Griffin, A., Vogtle, L., & Davis, D. (2021). The magic of magic camp from the perspective of children with hemiparesis. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 14(1). doi: 

Spencer, K., Yuen, H., Jenkins, G., Kirklin, K., Griffin, A., Vogtle, L., & Davis, D. (2020). Evaluation of a magic camp for children with hemiparesis: A Pilot study. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, March 2020. 

Spencer, K. and Balmer, S. (2020). A Pilot Study: Magic tricks in the ELL classroom increasing verbal communication initiative and self-efficacy. English Language Teaching and Linguistics Studies, February 2020. 

Spencer, K. and Yuen, H. (2019). Content validation of a checklist to evaluate therapists’ competency in delivering magic tricks. International Journal of Applied Arts Studies, 

Spencer, K., Yuen, H., Darwin, M., Jenkins, G. and Kirklin, K. (2019). Development and validation of the Hocus Focus Magic Performance Scale for health professions personnel. Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions, 16(8) 

Spencer, K., Jenkins, G., Davis, and Yuen, H. (2019 May). When occupational therapy and magic collide. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 0(0) 1-3. 

O’Rourke, S., Spencer, K., and Kelly, F. (2018). Development and Psychometric Investigation of an Arts Integrated Assessment Instrument for Educators. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 14(1)., DOI: 10.21977/D914137309  

Spencer, K. and O’Rourke, S. (2018). Creative approaches to working with children with disabilities. In M. Burke (Ed.), Clinically oriented approaches for human trafficking. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis. 

Harte, D. and Spencer, K. (2014). Sleight of Hand: Magic, Therapy, and Motor Performance. The Journal of Hand Therapy, 27, 67-69.

Spencer, K. (2012). Hocus Focus: Evaluating the Academic and Functional Benefits of Integrating Magic Tricks in the Classroom. The Journal of the International Association of Special Education, JIASE, 13(1).