In the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, Professor Dorothy Bishop of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University has written an article questioning the validity of research done on the Dore Program.
Abstract: Dore Achievement Centres are springing up world-wide with a mission to cure cerebellar developmental delay, thought to be the cause of dyslexia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia and Asperger’s syndrome. Remarkable success is claimed for an exercise-based treatment that is designed to accelerate cerebellar development. Unfortunately, the published studies are seriously flawed. On measures where control data are available, there is no credible evidence of significant gains in literacy associated with this intervention. There are no published studies on efficacy with the clinical groups for whom the programme is advocated. It is important that family practitioners and paediatricians are aware that the claims made for this expensive treatment are misleading.
This isn’t the first time the research has been questioned and most recently it lead to five people resigning from the Dyslexia Journal’s editorial board. Though there are questions about why only those five, out of twenty plus board members, resigned.
Professor Bishop has a long and notable history of research into dyslexia, ADHD and autism. This includes research relating to motor control, timing and language problems that did find that a genetic problem could cause both language and motor problems.
A timed peg-moving task was used to assess motor skill. Children with combined speech and language impairments obtained poorer peg-moving scores than unaffected children. Bivariate DeFries-Fulker analysis found significant shared genetic variance for impairments on peg-moving and on a test of nonword repetition. It is concluded that genes that put the child at risk for communicative problems also affect motor development, with the association being most evident when speech production is affected.
Without access to the full text of Professor Bishop’s article its impossible to say how fair her criticism of the Dore research is. There are certainly problems with the research relating to control groups and how the children’s progress was measured but all research has issue, especially when dealing with children and a treatment that takes 12 months to complete. Check out this recent research that showed that many medical research papers have miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis to gauge the difficulties in producing research that cannot be criticised. As ever we need more research before we can find the truth.
Curing dyslexia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder by training motor co-ordination: Miracle or myth?Motor immaturity and specific speech and language impairment: Evidence for a common genetic basis