Dore Achievement Centres

A week after Dore Australian went into receivership, Dore UK has followed suit. The following has been placed on the UK website.

It is with great regret that we have to announce that Dore has been put into the hands of advisors. As a result Dore is closing all of the UK centres which deliver the Dore Programme with immediate effect.

We are determined to find a way for every client who is on the program to have their treatment completed. We are presently exploring alternative arrangements to ensure every client is cared for.

We will be updating this page of our website every few days with news regarding alternative arrangements for continued programme delivery so please check frequently.

We still want to help people to identify any learning difficulties they may be struggling with, so we are continuing to make our online symptoms test available. We will provide you with a personal report that outlines any learning difficulty and the likely severity.

There will be a great number of anti-Dore people who will be rejoicing at this event, claiming that it is proof that the science behind Dore was rubbish or that Wynford Dore was some sort of con-artist. Neither of these is true, a fact myself and many others who have completed the treatment successful will testify to.

When the dust settles and the administrator reports, I suspect we will see that the real reason for the companies collapse was over-expansion. A symptom of Wynford Dore’s genuine enthusiasm and belief in the treatment. It appears that Dore never established a stable, profitable core business. A major factor in this may be that too many children failed to complete the treatment because the benefits take a long time to appear. A more cautious businessman may of kept the business small until this problem was cracked but not Wynford. I cannot be critical of this. Without him opening up centres across the UK, I would not of been on the treatment and my language, coordination and personal skills would not of improved beyond all recognition.

Having been involved in several failed companies over the years as employee, owner and customer, I appreciate that this is a difficult time for those involved and I wish you all the best. To all the staff who helped me, to those who helped many others and to Wynford Dore: Thank you for everything. You have changed lives in ways you cannot imagine.

Dore Achievement Centres

Wynford Dore has had some problems in the past with the UK and foreign bodies that regulate advertising and TV programs however he is clearly learning from experience. In this case a complaint against Dore was “not upheld” (i.e. no offense had been committed by the company) over an advert for Dore featuring Kenny Logan. The complaint was based on the fact that the advert did not state that Logan was a director of Camden Holdings, the shell that owns DDAT (UK) Ltd.

The ASA’s assessment was:

Not upheld

The ASA noted Kenny Logan had completed the Dore programme in March 2004 and had become a non-executive director of Dores holding company in December 2006, to assist Dores development of relations with the sporting industry. We noted he had no shares in Camden Holdings or Dore and had not received any financial remuneration or related benefit at the time of taking the programme.

We noted the ad referred to Kenny Logan as one of a number of sportsmen who had completed the programme and we considered that, because that was true and because he had not received any financial benefits at the time of taking the programme, readers were unlikely to be misled because the ad did not include a reference to his position as a non-executive director of Dores holding company. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code clause 7.1 (Truthfulness) but did not find it in breach.

The full adjudication

Dore Achievement Centres

As Wynford Dore or Dore UK have not made any statement on the collapse of Dore Australia I’ve been digging into Dore UK’s finances to see how secure the UK company is.

DDAT (UK) Ltd is owned by Camden Holdings Ltd (company No 04371455). The directors of this company are Wynford Dore (who also the company secretary), Dr Roy Rutherford and Kenneth Mckerrow Logan since 22/12/2006. A total of 150,000 shares have been issued; 125,000 are owned by Wynford Dore, 1500 by Dr Rutherford and 10,000 by trust funds in the name of Dore family members.

The account reveal little except that the holding company owns DDAT (UK). There is no mention of the overseas companies so they are presumably owned directly by Wynford or another holding company. One item of note is that there was a Mortgage Charge registered with against the company on the 18/10/2007 for the Bank of Scotland PLC. This implies that a loan has been taken out using Camden Holdings as capital.

Somewhere in the mix of UK and overseas companies is Convex Capital who have been appointed to the board of ‘Dore’ as CEO and Financial Director. Their statement does not identify which they mean by ‘Dore’. Is it DDAT (UK) Ltd, Camden Holdings or another company?

Dore Achievement Centres

Over on the Dore Talk forum there is some heated discussion about the collapse and Dore Australia. To be fair, most of the anti-Dore people such as PsyDuck, Gimpy and Podblack have been making useful and positive comments. It is the pro-Dore parents who are being rude and reactionary though there are exceptions on both sides.

The reason for much of this heated discussion is simply because Wynford Dore is not giving out any information. As the very public face of his company, he should have a made clear statement back on Friday when this all kicked off. The situation can be improved if he could answer these nine questions. I know staff at Dore read this and I suspect you have a list of questions very similar to this one so please let Wynford and the senior managers know about this post.

  • 1) Why did Dore Australia close so suddenly?

    The statement given out on the Dore Talk forum said that Dore Austrialia went into voluntary receivership so that the management could “evaluate different options for setting up a sustainable model for the delivery of the Dore Program”. This makes it sound like a carefully planned business move rather than something forced on the company. If the situation was not serious and urgent, why are clients being turned away and staff laid off?

  • 2) Will clients get their money back?

    If Dore Australia’s collapse was planned and not a financial crisis, will you, either personally or via the Dore companies around the world, refund Australian clients who have lost money?

  • 3) When, if ever, do you expect the Australian clinic to reopen?

  • 4) What impact will this have on other clinics around the world?

    There has been speculation that the New Zealand clinics will also close. What other closures can we expect?

  • 5) How secure financially is the whole organisation?

  • 6) Is it true that you subsidize each client by £1000?

    If this is true, how many more clients can you afford?

  • 7) Why is the Dore Australia web site still trying to recruit new customers?

    If the company has closed down, shouldn’t the web site be informing people of this fact?

  • 8) Why have you and the company failed to make a clear statement answering these issues before now?

    There is no mention of the Dore Australia bankruptcy on the Dore UK web page or on your own blog.

  • 9) Where does Dore the company and Dore the man go from here?

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ADD / ADHD Treatment, Digital Fitness, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia Treatment, Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit

With the financial collapse of Dore in Australia, it is inevitable that questions will be because its ask about the long-term future of cerebellum training. The financial problems are Dore will cast a shadow over this approach to dyslexia and ADHD but I don’t believe it will kill it. Why? Partly because it works for some people but mostly because Dore is irrelevant to the future.

One of Dore’s key selling points was a personalised program based on the six weekly check-ups using their hi-tech balance machine. However that advantage has gone or will be gone in the next few months. The worldwide release of the Wii Fit Balance Board put a hi-tect balance machine in people’s living rooms for £69.99.

The balance board is not any use without some software and the Wii Fit software that comes with it, whilst good for general balance training, is nowhere near a replacement for Dore. Unfortunately developing software for a console like the Wii is expensive because of licensing issues and the special tools need to write the software. So its unlikely any company involved in cerebellum training will have enough money to pull it off.

However, the Wii Fit balance board can also be made work with PC’s and Macs. At the moment the software is a hack, a quick & dirty solution, but over the next few months these will stabilize and become easier to work with. Now, any one with a bit of programming skills and a good knowledge of cerebellum training could create a great dyslexia / ADHD orientated training program. One that personalises the training plan every time it is used, not once every six weeks.

Of course, the any training program would need to be tested and validated. Once again, technology can allow the little guy to do this on a budget. Anyone using the training system can sign-up to be part of the trial. Via the internet they can automatically log their usage and fill out regular questionnaires on symptoms or take online reading tests. All this data can then be anonymised and placed online so that anyone, pro or anti cerebellum, can analyse that data. Such a study would have many problems, not least the self-reporting aspect of it, but if the training works there should be a strong signal in the data to warrant more detailed studies.

Dore Achievement Centres

It looks like all the Australian Dore offices have closed and staff have been told that they are redundant. PodBlack Blog has information and advice for any staff or parents caught up in this.

According to the documents from the Administrator (courtesy of PodBlack), they were appointed on Thursday 15th. Other reports say that parents were contacted on Friday if they had an appointment due in the next two weeks. It also seems likely that staff were told on Friday that they had no jobs.

For an administrator to close down the firm this quickly suggests that the company is in a very poor state of affairs. If it was hiccup in the cash flow that forced Dore to call in the administrators then the Administrator would not of been so quick to close everything. Instead they would of sought to keep as much of the company operating as possible as this would give the creditors the biggest chance of recovering their money.

The fact everything has closed all most certainly means that they will never reopen. I think parents in particular will find it very difficult to get any of their money back as the firm will have very few assets. The buildings will be reclaimed by the bank or the landlord. Any office equipment and furniture will be auctioned off but it is unlikely to raise much money, probably barely enough to pay the Administrator’s costs. Intangible assets such as the Dore brand name will not be worth anything either.

The one thing that may be worth money, and I suggests that anyone going to the creditor’s meeting raises this question, is who owns the intellectual property to the treatment? If Dore Australia has a formal license with Dore UK to sell Dore UK’s treatment then Dore Australia has no intellectual property assets to sell. On the other hand if there is no formal agreement, then the secrets of the Dore treatment may be up for grabs. If this is the case, the internal staff training books, the exercise plans given to parents and everything relating to it are all assets of Dore Australia and must be sold by the Administrator. That is one auction I would like to attend.

ADD / ADHD Treatment, Digital Fitness, Dore Achievement Centres, Dore Sport, Dyslexia Treatment, Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit

One of the short comings of the Dore program and all movement based treatments is the low level of feedback you get when doing the exercises. Without someone watching you and checking the instructions for an exercise, its very hard to tell if you are doing them correctly. This is a major problem for people who cannot tell left hand from right and could easy spend ten minutes doing an exercise without noticing they are doing it completely wrong. Of course having someone to help is ideal but for adults doing the course that isn’t always possible and for children, it demands a great deal of time from other members of the family.

Its partly because of this problem that I’m interested in how technology can help deliver training programs like Dore. Computers or games consoles are the perfect way to monitor the exercises and provide feedback so that the exercisers knows they are doing it correctly. This reduces wasted time, improves the rate of progress and most importantly, reduces the demand on the rest of the family. This all adds up to a more effective treatment with a lower drop-out rate.

One technological development that has a lot promise is the slowly emerging 3D cameras. These are not strictly speaking 3D cameras, instead they use a variety of methods to identify depth and distance. This information is then passed back to the computer which can use it to workout if objects are moving towards it or away from it. Something that is very hard to do with a traditional camera.

The best demonstration of this technology I can find is this Second Life demonstration. Second Life (SL) is a virtual reality world shared by many thousands of people. Using a mouse and keyboard the players moves their avatar through the world but in this demo, a 3D camera is used to track the players movements.

It is not hard to make the leap from this demonstration to a computer program that tracks how well the person does does an exercise. We are already seeing this sort of approach in Wii Fit. More demonstrations of the technology are available from the makers of the camera. Here, an on-screen avatar mimics the movement of a real person and in this one, the player is throwing and catching a virtual ball. More are available from 3DVSystems.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Treatment, Digital Fitness, Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit

The Wii is showing great potential for physical and mental skills training. The nature of the Wii’s controls plus the add-ons like Wii Fit‘s balance board mean its can be used to track and sense all sorts of movements and actions. Just to show the potential of the Wii, a grad student called Johnny Chung Lee has come up with a way to track your head movements. He’s used this create a prototype virtual reality system which you can see in the video below (skip to 2:45 if you are not interested in the technical stuff).

Virtual reality may be great for games but from neurological training point of view its not that interesting. Its the other potential uses for the head tracker that interests me. A Wii head tracking combine with the balance board allows the Wii to track many of the movements used in the Dore system and other movement based approaches to dyslexia and ADHD. A computerised system will have an advantage over the traditional approaches as it can give feedback on how well the exercise is being done and control its difficulty to reflect the skills of the user.

Dore Achievement Centres, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment

It’s ironic that dislexic (sorry, dyslexic) is such a hard word to spell and this could impact on the type of advice someone gets about the problem. A quarter of the people searching on the word ‘dyslexic’ in Google end up searching for the misspelt version. Personally I never had a problem with spelling the dyslexia even before my successful treatment. It breaks down into three strong, distinctive sounds Dis-lex-ia and as long as you remember it is ‘dy’ rather than ‘di’, its easy.

Along with many dislexics dyslexics, I could spell a reasonable number of apparently difficult words for the same reason. A distinctive pattern of strong sounds (phonemes) gave me a structure, a shape in my head that I could base the spelling on. The phonemes themselves had to be ‘easy’ phonemes, that is the phonemes and the letters used to represent them are consistent. So words with ‘p’ or ‘b’ are easier because the ‘p’ sounds is normally represented by the letter p (e.g. pen, spin, tip). Unlike the ‘k’ sound which can be represented by lots of different spellings, e.g. cat, kill, skin, queen, unique, thick.

However the sounds that were real killers to my spelling were the phonemes for ‘th’, ‘f’, ‘v’ and ‘ph’ or words with significant vowel sounds, such as ‘enough’. No mater how I tried I could not learn how to spell those words. For years I consistently spelt ‘manager’ as ‘manger’ which was always embarrassing as the word cropped up often in my line of work. Words such as those never seemed to have a shape, were slippery like an eel and I could not grasp how to spell them. Compared to spelling these words, there was never any danger of me spelling ‘dyslexic’ as ‘dislexic’.

This disconnection between the sounds and spelling is typical of dyslexics and has given rise to the phonetics movement. Up in the York University centre for dyslexia, Professor Snowling and her colleagues has researched little else. They have found that early intervention with phonetics program does help reading skills. Similarly, fMRI studies have shown there are neurological differences in the relevant language areas of the brain between dyslexics and non-dyslexics. This seems to have convince the Professor and her colleagues (judging by her appearance on The Myth of Dyslexia) that teaching a dyslexic child to read solves the problem despite the fact it does nothing to help other symptoms of dyslexia such as problems with short-term memory, coordination and hand-writing. Knowing I was dyslexic and not dislexic did not make my life any easier.

One of the interesting things I noticed as my spelling improved after the Dore treatment was that I could grasp the shape of those words with subtler sounds. My suspicion is that my improved cerebellum was better at slicing the word in to its phonemes than before. This turned words that had just been an amorphous mess into something manageable. With improved ability to control of my eyes so I could see the written word more consistently and a better short-term memory, the proportion of my vocabulary that I can spell has increased. However I don’t think my ability to actually differentiate the sound has improved that much leading me to suspect those areas of my brain are still weak. This is logical as during their critical years of development they were handicapped by a poor cerebellum. This leaves me with, what I suspect, is a lower than normal level of spelling for someone of my IQ and educational background. This is still pretty good and at least as good as the average school leaver but I do find myself occasionally falling back on the same coping strategies that help me know it was dyslexic and not dislexic.