Dore Achievement Centres

Since Dore went into worldwide bankruptcy in 2008, a new Dore has risen from the ashes. It still offers the same range of treatments for about the same price. Unfortunately, it is still using the same unethical sales techniques.

Last month, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered Dynevor Ltd, the company behind Dore, to remove an advert from Google’s Ad Words programme. The advert read:

The DORE Programme … Need help with Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia or Asperger’s?

The ASA upheld a complaint that the advert breached several clauses of the ASA’s regulation including 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies) and stated:

… in the absence of any qualifying text to the contrary, that consumers were likely to understand the claim “Need help with Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia or Asperger’s?” to mean that the DORE programme could help treat the named conditions. We also considered that we would need to see robust, scientific evidence to support the claim.

The full text of the judgement can be read here: ASA Adjudication on Dynevor Ltd.

This is not the first time that the Dore treatment has got into trouble over advertising. See TV Complaints Upheld About DDAT and they have also made mistakes with web advertising before (Dore Deceptive and Abusive Advertising). There were also been complaints about the sales techniques used (see Dore Program Selling Accusations). Though the reincarnated Dore seems to have different staff and directors, it is making the same mistakes as the old Dore.

I will tell anyone who will listen that the Dore programme worked for me. Within three months of starting the programme my hand-writing and spelling started to improve and I have seen continual improvement in the five years since finishing the programme. The hypothesis that an underdeveloped cerebellum is a major cause of learning difficulties has strong evidence supporting it.

However, anecdotal evidence such as mine and a good theory do not constitute proof that a treatment is effective.

The old Dore’s failure to deliver overwhelming scientific evidence for his treatment coupled with an approach to selling that was not whiter-than-whiter alienated many potential supporters and customers. It seems that the new Dore has not learnt this lesson.

Many thanks to BrainDuck for alerting me to this.

Balance & Coordination, Brain & Body, Dore Achievement Centres

Despite the demise of the original Dore programme, evidence continues to mount that the cerebellum plays a critical part in the dyslexia.

A new study, in the BMC Neuroscience journal, has found significant differences in the right cerebellum in dyslexics when compared to non-dyslexic controls. The study looked at 76 adults, evenly split between dyslexics and non-dyslexics. The subjects were extensively tested to confirm the diagnosis and then their brains were scanned.

Overall, there was no difference in the amount of grey matter in the dyslexic and non-dyslexic brains. However in specific areas, the right right cerebellum declive and the right lentiform nucleus, there were significant differences between the two groups.

Not only does this support the hypothesis of the cerebellum as a factor in dyslexia but it raises the potential for a diagnostic test based on physical differences. Being able to accurately diagnose dyslexia via a brain scan rather than relying on subjective and culture specific spelling / memory test would be a huge advance. Especially if the technique can work on very young children, allowing the dyslexia to be treated before it has a major educational impact.

Source: Brain classification reveals the right cerebellum as the best biomarker of dyslexia

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, Dore Achievement Centres

The Dore theory of Cerebellar Development Delay has attracted a fair degree of criticism over the years. It is the idea that educational problems such as ADHD and dyslexia are caused by an underdeveloped cerebellum. There has been little direct evidence for this but new research using fMRI scanners shows it has potential.

In a long-term study of normal and ADHD children, researches have found that ADHD brains develop as much as five years slower than those of normal children. I haven’t got the paper’s reference yet but this science-lite video clip from Discover Magazine gives a quick overview of the project.

When I have more time, I will find the actual paper and look further into it to see what information it has on the cerebellum’s development. Potentially is has evidence to seriously prove or disprove the Cerebellar Development Delay hypothesis.

Thanks to Mind Hacks for finding this.

Dore Achievement Centres

Brainduck has published a comment by Dr Rutherford that originally appeared on The Guardian’s web site but was removed very quickly. This raised suspicions of censorship as it was in response to the Bad Science column’s attack on Dore. Though no reason was given for the removal it is probable it was due to comments made by Dr Rutherford about Brainduck which were libelous in nature. Brainduck should be congratulated for printing it and allowing the debate to continue.

When not making personal attacks on Brainduck, Dr Rutherford made several points about Dyslexia Action and their connection to Dr Snowling and the rest of the famous five. One key point made by Dr Rutherford is that whilst Dore conducted independent research that was peer-reviewed and published, Dyslexia Action have never published any research on the success of their program. Apparently a paper has been written but it was never published. According to Dr Rutherford this was because “the results were poor and did not reach significance. Even more damning was that those who were showing signs of significant dyslexic symptoms (for which the Dyslexia Action tutoring is designed specifically for) responded the least“. It is impossible for me or the worried parents of dyslexics to assess how true Dr Rutherford’s claims are because Dyslexia Action haven’t published any results.

As this whole debate is about scientific credibility, there is an easy way for Dyslexia Action and the famous five to settle this.
Publish the research
By publishing Dyslexia Action can send a clear message that their treatment is effective and that they are not afraid of scrutiny. If they do not publish then the credibility of the Famous Five and Dyslexia Action will be damaged.

I’m pretty sure that Dyslexia Action would not allow me to publish their paper but Brainduck is a student at the same university and (I think ) has some of the interested parties as lecturers.

I have therefore posted this comment of Brainduck’s blog.

I’m glad that you published this Duck as I was unable to for obvious reasons.

As a student at York of the department in question, could you do something that would make this debate clearer?

Request permission to publish the Dyslexia Action research paper (as mention by Dr Rutherford) here on your web site.

It would be very interesting to provide that research with the same level of scrutiny that Dore’s research has recevied.

By doing this we will be able to established if Dr Rutherford’s claims are correct or not. If the research does show a strong benefit then the rest of Dr Rutherford’s accusations are clearly sour grapes.

But if Dyslexia Action’s research is poor, then it makes Dr Snowling’s et al criticism of Dore look very suspect.

By publishing Dyslexia Action’s paper where everyone can see it, this debate can be moved on and hopefully a little bit more scientific understanding can be gained.

Brainduck, will you be able to do this?

You can read all of Dr Rutherford’s comments here: An open invitation to Dr Rutherford of Dore

Dore Achievement Centres

Labour MP Paul Flynn has raised this Early Day Motion about Dore

That this House is appalled at the gullible uncritical promotion by the media of Dore, a claimed miracle cure for dyslexia, in the absence of scientific proof of its value; notes that there were five resignations from the editorial board of the journal Dyslexia in protest at false claims published in that journal on the efficacy of Dore; welcomes Ofcom’s finding that Dore’s television advertisement was in breach of its rules on evidence,; calls on the Jeremy Vine Show, Channel Five News, Radio Five Live, BBC London, ITV Central, ITV Yorkshire, the Daily Mail, the Daily Record, Scotland on Sunday, Tonight with Trevor McDonald and You and Yours to correct the false impressions they broadcast on an unproven treatment; and congratulates the bloggers and journalist Ben Goldacre for exposing this bad science and other exploitative snake oil salespeople.

It is interesting that it mentions bloggers and five resigning scientists. I wonder how much publicity those same bloggers will give to the fact that fifteen or so other scientists did not resign or the five scientists’ connection with the UK’s largest seller of unproven dyslexic treatments.

Source: The ever entertaining but slightly hypocritical, Bad Science.

Dore Achievement Centres

Do you remember the video game Frogger? It was an 1980’s arcade the game where you had to guide a frog across a busy motorway and a dangerous river without getting squashed or eaten. Very simple game and crude graphics but it gave us something to do before the internet was invented.

At the Newport Aquarium, in their special Frog area, they have a game of Frogger set-up but rather than the traditional controllers, they are using Dance Dance Revolution dance mats. Rather than moving a joystick and pressing button, the player has to step from square to square.

Meanwhile, far removed from the kid-friendly Frogger game, Popular Mechanics has an article on how the US military is adapting computer game technology for use in combat. The multi-buttoned D-Pad controller found on Playstations and X-Boxes is ergonomically designed and proven by uncountable hours of game play. It is only natural that such technology is adapted for the high-tech 21st century warrior.

The point linking both of these two nuggets is how game technology can be adapted. With the Frogger game, a very traditional coach-potato style game is converted in to a physical and brain stimulating activity. The Army is taking computer games controllers and using them to make better soldiers.

This adaptation of technology is at the forefront of my mind as WyyMi slowly starts to take shape. Using game technology to help children learn is not yet widely accepted. In part because people are not very good at splitting the Form (what something looks like) from its Function (what it does). Therefore if something looks like a game, people have a hard time seeing it as beneficial. This is doubly true if people enjoy using it. There is a puritanical streak in some people that says learning cannot be fun and therefore anything fun is not learning.

I hope WyyMi will challenge both these ideas. I believe video games can be effective teaching tools because I have learnt thousands of things whilst playing games but so far 99.9% of what I’ve learnt is useless except for playing that game. I also believe that learning should be fun because people are more open to ideas and make better connections in their minds when they happy and relaxed.

Sources: Frogger: now with Dance Dance Revolution pads!; Wii All You Can Be? Why the Military Needs the Gaming Industry

Dore Achievement Centres

A couple of developments on the Dore front.

Firstly, the Dore New Zealand still appears to be operating and offering help & support to Dore Australia clients.

Secondly, I had an email from Dr Rutherford regarding the Dore closure. Obviously its a very sad time for him and staff at Dore, they are all now redundant, but many are still coming in to help clients as best they can. This includes a new web based exercise program. Here is what Dr Rutherford has to say about it:

The new My Dore site (which has actually been in development for 2 years in order to replace the current exercise booklet system) has been rapidly completed and is now active on the Australian and UK website. Currently this allows clients to access their current prescribed programme with some emergency exercises attached (the ones we normally hand out if the client has had to cancel appointments and which will take them forward for a further 1-2 weeks).

I am working with the IT staff that has come in voluntarily to help support and develop this system further to allow us to support clients in the longer term with updated exercise prescriptions based on predictive models (as we cannot perform the usual testing at the moment) until the administration process is complete.

As you know the administrators will be actively seeking buyers for Dore to take it forward as a going concern. We do not want to let clients down meanwhile if there is a chance that the reins can be picked up again and we can somehow save the programme.

I know this will mean a lot to those Dore clients currently left in limbo and offers some hope for future. It is also a testament to the staff’s belief in the program that after being made redundant, they are still coming in to help their clients.

Dore Achievement Centres

Not surprisingly Dore in the USA has also shut its doors. The fact that the whole worldwide operation has collapsed like a pack of cards makes it clear Dore will not be re-opening. If there was any chance of selling the business as a going concern, then one of Dore in the UK, US or Australia would of remained open.

My guess is that the business was fundamentally unprofitable and the faster Dore tried to expand in search of profit, the faster he lost money. The dream of “If only I can get big enough, I will be profitable” has sunk many businesses.

If there are any creditors of Dore UK reading this, please get in touch. As a creditor you will receive detailed financial reports on the Administrator’s work that will explain to you, why you will never see your money again. I would greatly appreciate a copy of these to place online so everyone can better understand what has happened. News of when the assets are being auctioned off would also be of interest.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Diagnosis, ADD / ADHD Medication, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Digital Fitness, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Testing & Diagnosis, Dyslexia Treatment, Dyspraxia, Medication, Memory, Music, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Rhythm Games, Wii Fit

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was interested in creating a cerebellum training program that was quicker, more effective than Dore. Myomancy was my notebook of interesting technology and relevant science. Over the years I’ve examined many different approaches to the treatment of dyslexia and ADHD. Some were simply nonsense, others had promise but were lacking the scientific, technological or business resources to make them viable. Some lacked the ethical honesty necessary when selling products to parents desperately worried about their children.

Slowly overtime I refined my ideas about how cerebellum training should work and how a independent company without much in the way financial resources could develop and sell such a product in an ethical manner. One main stumbling block has been the cost and availability of the technology necessary to track a user’s limb movements and balance. So I’ve been watching the progress of the Wii and latterly the Wii Fit with interest. The technology needed for cerebellum training was finally cheaply and readily available. What’s more many people already own it.

Originally I intended to make an announcement after slowly develop a proof of concept over the next few months but with the collapse of Dore and the shadow that will cast over the cerebellum training field, I’ve decided to move my plans forward. So I’m pleased to announced the creation of WyyMi, a project to create a free, open-source, open-science cerebellum training program.

What is WyyMi?
WyyMi is a project to develop a cerebellum training program to help people with dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia and similar educational problems.

Project Goals
To develop a system that cost nothing (or as close to nothing as possible) to use; to do it using open-source software; and to make freely available as much scientific evidence on its effectiveness as possible.

How Will It Work?
The idea is to use cheap and easily available computer hardware that can monitor and assess gross motor movements and balance. At the moment the Wii Remote and Wii Fit Balance Board seem the best candidates but they need to be adapted to work on PCs and Macs because the Wii console itself is difficult to develop for.

Using this hardware and software on the website, users will be perform a series of exercises. The amount of time spent training and the accuracy of the user’s movement will be logged on the server so that the user can track their progress and so the server can inform the user which exercises to do next. This data will also be aggregated, made anonymous and published so that it can be analyzed by any interested 3rd party. Ideally, symptom specific measures (e.g. spelling tests) will also be included so that the training programs effectiveness in treating educational problems can be measured.

Other than a broad statement of goals and the planned route for achieving them, there is nothing else on site at the moment. Progress is likely to slow, not least because I am working on another project at the moment as well maintaining my existing portfolio of web sites. If you wish to help in anyway, please see the announcement for ways you can contribute, not matter what your skills are.

Myomancy will be continuing to report on anything and everything I think is relevant to dyslexia, ADHD and autism. Obviously as I am planning to create my own training program, that might create a conflict of interest when discussing other people’s approach. I will try and be as unbiased as possible and make my conflict of interest clear.

Dore Achievement Centres

A quick round-up of developments and links

Brainduck has a good post giving an overview of what happened and has set-up an alternative to the Dore Talk forum to take over when the official Dore Talk forum goes down.
EDIT: Brainduck has handed over control to parents of children who are/were on the Dore program

Bad Science has a predictable take on the situation.

Gimpy is looking at the financial issues and the blame avoiding game Wynford Dore is playing.

The Dore Talk forums are busy including a message to Sit Tight. Dore insiders (e.g. Wynford’s daughter) are still saying that funding may be found to keep the clinics open. The situation in the non-UK clinics is not clear but a message from Barbados states that the clinic there is still open.

Inevitably there is a lot of criticism of Wynford (and I including myself in that) but one key fact should be remembered. It works for some people as this message on Dore Talk makes clear:

I’m in tears here. My son has only been on the programme for just over 3 months and we’ve seen huge improvements. I just can’t tell him what’s happening because he also believes in the programme and it will be a huge blow to him.

I sincerely hope that something can be arranged to allow him to complete the programme. I don’t want to go back to our pre-Dore hell.