The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has published an article [Abstract, Full Text] by Dr Beverly A. Wright and Dr Steven G. Zecker. They have been studying how the brains of children with learning difficulties appear to be underdeveloped compared to child without learning problems. The idea of brain delay also could help explain anecdotal evidence from clinicians who work with learning disabled children that those children toilet train late, have difficulty learning to ride a bicycle, talk later, and generally appear less developmentally mature than their unaffected counterparts. Significantly at around 10 years old, right around puberty’s onset there was a halt in further development in the children with learning problems.
Private Eye magazine has a short piece in its ‘Street of Shame’ column about the Daily Telegraph‘s reporting on DDAT. As Private Eye doesn’t provide online access to its non-humor content I’ve reproduced in full below.
“SCHOOLCHILDREN suffering from dyslexia have seen dramatic improvements in their development thanks to a physical exercise programme designed to stimulate the brain… run by the Dore Achievement Centre in Kenilworth, called DDAT”, reported Nick Britten in the Daily Telegraph on 21 May.
“At the end of the study they were found to be free of dyslexia symptoms, no longer needed help in class, and could join mainstream lessons.”
Impressive. But perhaps Britten had himself had difficulty reading the words of the Telegraph’s education editor John Clare in his own paper just six days earlier, when Clare advised a parent to “waste no money on DDAT… Dore’s claim to have ‘found the answer to dyslexia and other learning difficulties’ is absurd.”
Given my history I disagree with John Clare’s advice and I encourage any parent of a dyslexic to investigate DDAT. It doesn’t work for everybody but for the many people it works for it profoundly changes their lives.
With eight clinics in the UK the Dore Centres are probably the largest company focusing on treating dyslexia via cerebellum and vestibular development. Having been through their programme I can say its worked for me.
Coverage on Myomancy.com
January 17th 2006:Dore Achievement Centres on TV
January 16th 2006:The Problem With Adverts, Commercial Interests and Learning Difficulties
January 11th 2006:Dore Deceptive and Abusive Advertising
January 2nd 2006:Dore / DDAT Posturegraph
June 5th 2005: “It Changed Everything”
February 2nd 2005: Useful Background Article on DDAT
November 27th 2004 Wynford Dore on BBC Radio 5 Live (Download Available)
September 3rd 2004: The Dore Foundation
August 10th 2004: Retrospective Study
August 3rd 2004: Dore Centres on US National TV
July 11th 2004: DDAT Response to Study Criticism
July 8th 2004: DDAT Trial Critique Part 2
July 6th 2004: TV Complaints Upheld
July 6th 2004: Critical Appraisal of DDAT Controlled Trial
June 16th 2004: DDAT, Private Eye and the Daily Telegraph
May 21st 2004: DDAT Release Latest Results from School Study
Whilst research is still being done on the full effect of video games on a child’s brain, one thing for certain is that children are spending a lot more time sitting in front of the television and computers. As movement is a vital part of the brain’s development, the loss of time spent being active may have a significant impact on a child’s educational progress. It also tends to lead to over-weight and unfit children which has a serious impact on their long-term health. An arcade game called Dance Dance Revolution in which the player has to dance in time and in step with the game’s directions is being put forward as an aid to weight loss.
Recently I’ve been looking into similar games to see if they can be used to assist people with under-developed vestibular and cerebellum. Eye-Toy Groove is a Sony PlayStation 2 ConsolePlayStation game where you have to dance and wave your arms about in time with music. There is no doubting its a lot of fun (especially for drunk adults) and if you are looking for a fun, simple way to get you or child moving, this is it. Its clearly not a replacement for a properly designed vestibular / cerebellum development programme but it could help someone learn to move their body more freely. The downside to this game is that even at its easiest levels it may be too difficult for some people and without a lot of help and positive support it could have a negative impact on self-confidence.
See Also: Watching TV ‘is bad for children’;Children’s progress ‘hit by TV’.