Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:31AM
Dodd Vickers


An estimated 1 in 150 children -- or about 1 percent of all children -- are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. According to ABC, a new stdy on the disorder is enlisting the assistance of magicians in the search for a cure.

About a dozen magicians have joined the researchers, including Apollo Robbins, known as the "gentleman pickpocket." 

Robbins can tell when someone in his audience has high-functioning autism, like Asperger syndrome, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"I have to pull the attention more," he said. "It's like throwing a ball and trying to get the dog to go after the ball. You don't pretend, but you have to pay attention and account for and adjust what you are doing."

The researchers' findings may also lead to treatments for other neurological conditions like brain trauma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer's disease.

"It's not help with magic tricks, it's helping them in other learning situations," he said of the possibilities.

Article originally appeared on The Magic Newswire (
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