The campaign group Sense about Science have started to attack the spread of Brain Gym through the UKs primary schools.
Sense About Science has been receiving calls from parents and teachers who are concerned about the use of ‘Brain Gym’ – a programme of teacher-led physical exercises claimed to improve cognitive abilities – in primary schools.
These exercises are being taught with pseudoscientific explanations that undermine science teaching and mislead children about how their bodies work.
Whilst I’m favour of movement based programmes and want to see teachers being more aware of how movement and learning go hand-in-hand, some of the claims made by Brain Gym are bizarre. More importantly they are not back by proper peer-reviewed science.
The BBC’s Newsnight program did a segment on the Sense about Science’s campaign and Brain Gym. It wasn’t very flattering.
I predict a lot of publicity (good and bad) for Wynford Dore and his Dore Treatment Centres over the coming weeks. The ex-Rugby player who has been on the Dore program to treat his dyslexia is appearing on Strictly Come Dancing. Kenny Logan has spoke out about hows the Dore program changed everything on several occasions. Wynford Dore has stated that Kenny Logan (and fellow celeb Toya Wilcox) that they attended the program as ordinary customers and were not approached by Dore.
Source: Rugby Star Kenny Logan On Strictly Come Dancing
Dr Temple Grandin has a legendary ability to read the animal mind and understand animal behaviour when no one else can. But this is no feat … of telepathy; her explanation is simple. She’s convinced she experiences the world much as an animal does and that it’s all down to her autistic brain.
This is a documentary broadcast on the BBC earlier this year that I managed to miss but I’m delighted to find that it can be found on Google Video. I’ve heard Dr Grandin speaking on the radio and she is very engaging so I’m looking forward to watching this.
The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow
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.
Autism Speaks is a charity dedicated to raising money for autism research into the causes and treatment of autism. In just its first year it has raised around $40 million. The organisation has received lots of mainstream television coverage as well as featuring on packets of Kellog’s breakfast cereals. This high profile may be to with the founders, Suzanne and Bob Wright who were inspired by their grandson was diagnoses with autism. Bob is the vice chairman of GE and chairman and CEO of NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News.
The money raised by Autism Speaks is directed into a range of research projects. They vary from developing realtime monitoring of body-rocking and hand-flapping in autistic children to understanding the genetic basis of autism. One thing Autism Speaks is not researching is the role of mercury or chelation in Autism. They have a very sensible statement on the role of mercury in autism.
I have a love hate relationship with TV. I spend hours watching Discovery and the History channels and through these I’m informed and educated. I also know that sitting still on a couch doing nothing is not good for my body, especially as my work has me sitting still for hours in front of a computer screen.
Now there is a TV program that entertains and works my body. Dance Revolution is a show based on the computer game Dance Dance Revolution (DDR). Unlike most computer games DDR involves physical activity as players have to step with feet on a special mat in time with music. Apart from being great physical exercise it also trains a sense of rhythm and improves coordination. Both of these have been shown to help increase academic performance and ADHD.
The new TV show will feature kids performing their dance moves in front of judges whilst at the same time encouraging viewers at home to try out the moves. This combination of encouraging a competitive spirit, providing role models (the winning performers) the viewers can aspire to and helping the viewers learn the moves is a powerful combination.
The show seems to be part of a the remarkably sensible Saturday morning line up:
As part of “CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party’s” balanced active lifestyle theme, the block will feature unique animated and live-action interstitials threaded throughout the morning block to promote healthy eating and balanced, active lifestyles for kids. The messages, which will promote nutritious eating habits, will be created in consultation with Baylor College of Medicine’s Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC), an internationally renowned institute devoted to pediatric nutrition studies.
CBS and DIC Entertainment Debuts New Series, ‘Dance Revolution’, on ‘CBS’s Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party’
Previously on Myomancy: Video Games Are Good For You (If They Involve Movement)
The Dyslexia Myth, broadcast last year, generated an uproar in the dyslexia community, mostly because it said dyslexia did not exist. Consequently people complained to OfCom, the body in the UK that regulates TV and now OfCom have published their findings.
It looked at two main questions, did the programme mislead viewers and was it duely impartial? In both cases OfCom felt that the programme had suitable under the relevant broadcast regulations.
As much as I disliked the programme I think this is the right decision. As OfCom note:
“…it is not for Ofcom to decide what are the causes of reading difficulties. However we are satisfied that Channel 4 based this programme on detailed research that is of public interest. Some may wish to challenge the evidence and the conclusions drawn from it…“
Ofcom broadcast bulletin, Issue number 58, 18 April 2006 [ PDF ] (page 20).
The Mirror Neurons are key area of the brain for empathy and have been linked to autism. The PBS program Nova has a good introduction to the subject including a video and audio download.
Using statistical analysis of data collected from 22,000 youngsters who started kindergarten during the 1998-1999 school year researches have found no meaningful link between the amount of television watched and ADHD.
“Methodologic issues, including participant age, the measurement of ADHD symptoms, and evaluation of the importance of variables, may explain the differences between the present study and the results of others who have found television exposure to be related to attention problems. The measurement of ADHD symptoms through the use of longitudinal databases is an important limitation, because only a small number of items can be selected to represent symptoms. Future research is necessary to address these issues“.
This goes against previous research that has noted a link between TV and ADHD.
Abstract: There Is No Meaningful Relationship Between Television Exposure and Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
The Dore Achievement Centres (DDAT) were featured on ITV’s This Morning Show. See a video of the appearance. I haven’t been able to watch the video myself because its Windows file and I have a Mac so please help out fellow readers by posting a comment about its contents.
Update: Here is an article from the Daily Mirror on Dore Achievement Centres.