Balance & Coordination, Music, Science

What role does left or right handedness play in dyslexia? Some approaches such as
The Dominance Factor by Carla Hannaford argue that learning problems occur when children have mis-matched dominance. For example, right handed but left eyed. The data on this is very confused and no one really knows even the basics such as why are most people right handed but some are left handed?

The two hemispheres of the brain communicate using the Corpus Callosums. A thick bundle of nerves that links the two halves of the brain. Research has shown that its thickness can vary a great deal from person to person suggesting that some people are better equipped for cross-hemispheric communication. What difference does this make and what factors influence the size of the corpus callosum? BPS Research Digest has an interesting article looking at new research in this area.

…the callosum varied little between the sexes or between the left and right-handers (less than 3 per cent difference in each case), but varied significantly according hemisphericity, with right-brain dominant participants having a 10 per cent thicker callosum on average.

Thickness of the callosum was also independently related to something called ‘dichotic deafness’, a common characteristic of people with a left-hemisphere dominant brain . This is the inability of some people to hear two sounds presented simultaneously, when one sound is played to one ear and the other sound to the other ear.

The brain’s great connector

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Medication, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Auditory, Autism, Autism and Mercury, Autism Tests & Diagnosis, Autism Treatment, Balance & Coordination, Books, Commercial Dyslexia Centres & Treatments, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Testing & Diagnosis, Dyslexia Treatment, Dyspraxia, Food and Drink, Franchised Dyslexia Treatments, Games, History, Medication, Memory, Music, Science, Sports, Television, Visual, Web/Tech

Over the last few weeks this website has been attracting comments from various members and ex-members of staff of the Dore Achievement Centres. This has come to the attention of the CEO of UK branch, Bob Clarke, who has posted comments on Myomancy and also to Wynford Dore himself who has phoned me. Conversations with Wynford are always enjoyable but challenging because Wynford believes so passionately about what he does. So when Myomancy runs a negative story about the Dore Program he tends to forget all the places on Myomancy where I’ve said the Dore Program works and that it changes lives.

In light of all this I thought it wise to make a clear statement to all my readers about why I devote a considerable amount of time and money to running Myomancy.

  • The goal of Myomancy is to provide independent information on treatments for dyslexia, ADHD and autism so that parents and sufferers can make an informed choice about what is the best approach for them.
  • Myomancy is a blog, a personal web site. It represents my views and my views alone on all things connected with ADHD, dyslexia and Autism.
  • These views are researched and expressed on Myomancy to the best of my abilities but I am not a scientist, teacher or a professional writer. I am just someone who’s life was changed by the Dore Program and felt a need to express myself.
  • I believe in free speech which is why I allow anyone to post comments on the articles regardless of whether they are for or against my views. Only post that are illegal or purely offensive are removed.
  • Myomancy generates a small amount of income for advertising. I would like it to be more so that I can afford to spend more time on Myomancy. It is up to the reader to decide what, if any, impact that has on the independence of Myomancy.

With reference to the above I have removed one comment from the website that is highly critical of the Dore Program and, based on additional evidence I have at my disposal, is completely false.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Balance & Coordination, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment

The Dore Program has been coming under a lot of fire over the last few days with complaints about the way its sold and strong criticism of the scientific research. Now, five board members of the scientific journal Dyslexia that published the study have resigned in protest.

According to a Sunday Times article there was great concern over the validity of the research and the close links between the journal’s editor and one of the authors of the study.

Several academics raised concerns over apparent conflicts of interest. Reynolds was paid £30,000 in expenses by Dore to carry out the study, and was formerly a paid director in a company run by the businessman. Three quarters of the screening tests on the children were carried out by researchers from DDAT, a Dore firm.

Professor Rod Nicolson, a psychologist at Sheffield University and the study’s co-author, supervises the postgraduate study of Dore’s business partner, Dr Roy Rutherford.

Dore has also sponsored three PhD students in Nicolson’s department. Questions have also been raised over Nicolson’s working relationship with Angela Fawcett, editor of Dyslexia. They have written 30 articles and three books together.

Wynford Dore, the man behind the Dore Program, has attracted criticism ever since he started his approach to dyslexia and ADHD. He brought the skills he learnt as an successful entrepreneur in the hard and gritty industrial paint business to the more refined and cultured areas of science and education. His knack for self-publicity and willingness to take chances were always going to annoy many people and calling his new book The Miracle Cure was just pouring petrol onto an already large fire.

Central to this argument is an ethical question about commercial interests and science. This debate has raged in the pharmaceutical business for years. There is no doubt that drug companies have pushed the boundaries of science along and through their drugs helped many people. But the drug companies are also aggressive in selling their product and part of this is presenting favourable research in the best possible light. When does good marketing step over the line and become deception? This question is more complicated in Dore’s case because no one else is willing to research the Dore Program so the only research being done has to be funded by Dore, automatically creating a conflict of interest.

The criticism of Dore should be seen in a healthy light. It is a debate and most significant advances in science have been accompanied by long and often bitter debates. This is science in action and all parties deserve credit for their role in it.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Balance & Coordination, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment

The Dore Program has had a controversial history when it comes to its sales and marketing. Complaints have been made about its TV advertising and its online advertising has on one occasion been deceptive. Unhappy customers for whom the treatment didn’t work have been vocal on bulletin boards and on the radio. Much of the science used by the Dore Program to promote has been heavily criticized.

About two years ago I wrote an brief piece called Aggressive Marketing Tarnishing Cerebellum Based Treatments? Over the last few weeks this article has gathered almost thirty comments and become the center of a debate and criticism about the Dore Program’s selling methods. Many of these comments claim to come from members or ex-members of Dore’s staff, others claim to be from customers. There is no way of validating who these people are. They may be genuine or they may be people with malicious intent towards Dore for other reasons. However many of the comments talk about the new sales management brought in over the last 12 months and talk about the sales technique in some detail so I believe at least some of the comments are genuine.

Here is a representative selection of quotes from the comments.

“I am an ex Dore employee and can confirm that Dore have the hard sell approach…” – JackDore

“I have first hand experience of how [Dore’s] sale team works…. Their strategies and tactics are underhanded and deceitful. They are wolves in sheeps clothing beware!” – Oxy

“I then recived a phone call and was offered a home visit to explain what Dore did. I found it really useful and not in the slightest ‘salesy’ … Had it not been for [the Dore salesman] my son would have been starting the Senior school with his normal dose of ritalin” – olwen

“…just be aware that the person who visits you is not medically trained and working on commission.Thats not to say the program doesn’t work it does…..I too am an ex employee, loved the product hated the politics….I’m not sure Wynford actually knows whats going on” – Graham

“I think its a well known fact that this business has cost Wynford a lot of money and he is passionate about reaching all in need, for him its not about making more money…” – Mark

“I do believe Wynford’s sincerity and commitment.” – David

“I have been here 2 months as a Programme Advisor and can honestly say it’s the best job i have ever had. At no time have i been put under pressure to sell.” – current employee

“I am an ex Dore Programme Adviser and what can i say i have wasted over a year of my life with that company. The programme does work for many and that cannot be taken away however the underhand sales team does put a big black cloud over the programme.” – truth

“I genuinely believe Wynford has a passion about the program and is trying to do good, he has put in place a sales management team that has delivered good figures for the first time, however the sales management style is not in keeping with a caring company and they have ruffled a few feathers with the traditional Dore staff that helped build the company” – Bob

“The [Programme Advisors] are pushed and pushed to the limit you need to work 7 days a week late nights weekends etc in order to obtain the 16 a month target that you have.” – worried

“I too worked for Dore for some time and its so sad to see that all the good that wynford has done over the years being pulled from under his feet by the simple fact that the sales so called management are just conserned about the about of money” – mug

“Looks to me that this is just sour grapes by people who are no good at sales so get moved on. ” – steve

“The introduction of a new sales operation last year was initially viewed with scepticism but is now welcomed with joy. They are professional and informed and our clients certainly do not complain of under hand sales tactics.” – Annoyed and angry

I have asked Wynford Dore for an official response on these comments three times over the last few weeks. I have not received any response apart from a message from his secretary saying he is busy.

The marketing of the Dore Program has always been very effective at getting TV and press coverage by making claims that may be true but cannot be backed up by independent research. The Dore Program works. This blog would not exist if it hadn’t worked on me but the reputation of Wynford Dore, the Dore Prorgam and the science behind it is being seriously damaged by Dore’s approach to marketing.

ADD / ADHD, Balance & Coordination, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia

The Dore Achievement Centers published research has come under heavy attack from The Guardian‘s Bad Science column.

But what about this current study? Well, it’s a follow up of those original children. Jenny Hope in the Daily Mail says there were 35 children with dyslexia. In fact only 29 children were followed up in this study, and only 8 of those had a diagnosis of dyslexia or dyspraxia. Some were, in fact, reading very well – up to 22 months ahead of their reading age! – before the treatment started. If she’d read the study carefully she might have flagged up some other flaws in it.

There was no control group this time, all the children had the Dore miracle cure, so there’s no way of knowing if the improvements were due to Dore or some other factors (the passage of time, or the non-specific effects of receiving extra input and attention from the Dore program, and so on).

Read the full article on Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog.

ADD / ADHD, Autism, Balance & Coordination, Brain & Body, Dyslexia

There are many milestones in motor development as infants turn into toddlers but how important is crawling as milestone?

Education and developmental problems such as ADHD and dyslexia have been linked to infants not crawling or only briefly crawling before learning to walk. Key to this theory are primitive reflexes that help an infant learn to control their body but fade as the infant develops. In some children the reflexes are retained and they handicap the infant’s development just as stabilisers on a bike help a child to learn to ride but if they are left on, they hold the child back.

Continue Reading

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Autism, Autism Treatment, Balance & Coordination, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment

Looking for something completely different I came across Sensory Edge , an online toy-shop featuring stimulating products for small children. I was particularly impressed by their balance and movement section. These toys are great for developing the cerebellum and vestibular systems, areas of the brain that are weak in children with ADHD, dyslexia and autism.

Balance & Coordination, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment, Memory, Music

Talking about curing dyslexia can get a lot of people upset. Most professionals and most sufferers think dyslexia is incurable but is this right?

As always with dyslexia the starting point is what we mean when we say someone is dyslexic. If you define dyslexia as just a problem with reading then when a dyslexic learns to read they must be ‘cured’ because they no long fit the description of dyslexia. The reality is that dyslexia is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms where the sufferer needs to have several, but not necessarily all symptoms, to be diagnosed. These symptoms include reading, spelling and writing problems plus poor short-term memory, poor phonological abilities and poor motor skills (clumsiness). This definition of dyslexia as a syndrome makes discussion of a cure even harder. How many symptoms of dyslexia have to disappear or be reduced before the person is cured?

As there is no clear definition of dyslexia or what counts as a cure I’ve come with my own.

Dyslexia is cured when a person who has previously been diagnosed as dyslexic can perform a routine tasks such as school work, playing sports or social activities in the same length of time, with the same level of effort and with the same level of success as an average person.

Now we have a definition, is a cure possible?

Yes

Various studies using fMRI and other brain scanning techniques have shown that when a dyslexic reads, they use their brain differently from non-dyslexics. These same studies also found that when treated over a number of month with a phonic based reading program, the dyslexic’s brain changes to be more like a non-dyslexics.

If the brain can change when dealing with reading then the brain can change in relationship with the other symptoms of dyslexia. By combining multiple different types of training to tackle the multiple different symptoms then dyslexia can be cured.

Tackling each symptom one at a time is a long and slow process but by treating them in a sensible order so that the conquering of one problem makes it easier to deal with the next, some time and effort can be saved. Reading, writing and spelling are learnt by an average child after they have learnt about moving their body and how to hear. So it makes sense that a dyslexia cure would tackle the symptoms in the same order.

There are several approaches to treating poor coordination. The most famous is the Dore Achievement Programme. This is the programme I used and it was very effective but other approaches exist. Such as Learning Breakthrough and INPP.

The symptom of poor phonological skills is harder to treat. There are various phonic teaching systems but these are designed to teach reading. What is required is a way of developing the ear’s ability to differentiate between any sounds not just the sounds needs for reading. This is where learning to sing can help because you need to be able to hear the differences in the notes. It also has the added benefit of improving the sense of rhythm and is a good at building self-confidence.

Once the motor and phonological problems have been tackled it is very likely that no special training will be required to tackle the remaining symptoms of poor reading, spelling and short-term memory. Now the brain has mastered the basics of movement and hearing as well as average child it will learn academic skill with the same ease as an average child. If further work is necessary then phonic and multi-sensory reading programmes are recommend. There are also numerous approaches to improving memory skills.

Curing dyslexia is possible but it certainly is not easy. To tackle even one symptom will take months of hard work, day in and day out. To tackle all of them is a task measured in years.

Previously on Myomancy: Dyslexia and fMRI, Singing Cavemen and Amusia

On the Myomancy Treatment Database: Balance, Coordination

Research: Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI, Examining Rhythm and Melody Processing in Young Children Using fMRI [ PDF ].

ADD / ADHD, Balance & Coordination, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia

Critics of the Dore Achievement Centre‘s claim it is simply throwing a bean bag around. This gross simplification has an element truth. Developing hand / eye coordination is a major part of the programme and it does use a bean bag extensively. Now there is a game growing popular in the mid-west of the USA that is simple enough for anyone of any age to play and helps to develop coordination.

Cornhole is a cross between horseshoes and bowls. Players take turns throwing bean bags at a target, scoring three points if they get it through a hole in the centre of the target, or one point if the bag lands on the target. The first to 21 wins.

Why might Cornhole be good for people with ADHD, dyslexia or other learning difficulty?

Feedback and fun.

Children and adults with learning problems often are very poor at detecting feedback because their underdeveloped cerebellum is constantly being overload with sensory information. By having a simple rules and a simple scoring system, players have a simple measure of how well they are doing.

Cornhole can be played on your own or with any number of other people. There is also plenty of scope for making up your own rules to make the game easier or harder. This allows it to be molded to fit the players ability level, a critical aspect for any game to be fun. A game that is too hard or too easy will turn people off. A game that provides the right level of challenge, reward and skill development is fun.

Previously on Myomancy: Dore Achievement Centres
See also: Cornhole Players, Theory of Fun

Auditory, Balance & Coordination, Dyslexia

From this press release:

Youngsters who can lick their lips, blow bubbles and pretend that a building block is a car are most likely to find learning language easy, according to a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Psychologists at Lancaster University, led by Dr Katie Alcock, found strong links between these movement, or motor and thinking, or cognitive, skills and children’s language abilities.

I’ve found a link to the original research on the ESRC’s site but it seems to be having problems so I haven’t been able to read it.
However if the press release is to be trusted its just one more piece of evidence that motor and coordination skills play a large role in skills that we have previously considered unconnected such as hearing and comprehending language.