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.

Other

I did a server upgrade yesterday and one of the knock-on effects has been to break Myomancy’s RSS feed. It seems that all the news stories from around the world that I collect as part of the Blogroll are appearing as part of the RSS feed.

Sorry about this. I will try and get this fixed but I’m snowed under at the moment with work and I’m away for most of the next week for the Glastonbury festival.

Balance & Coordination, Rhythm Games, Wii Fit

A while ago I mentioned Audiosurf, in an article called Rhythm Games Are Taking Over The World

One of the award winning games is Audiosurf. Its not strictly a rhythm game but it music is an integral part of the game play. Its a simple premise, steer a spacecraft down a twisting, turning track collecting some coloured blocks whilst avoiding others. The twist is that the race track is generated from the music you choose to play from your MP3 collection. So you can have a fast and furious race course by selecting some thumping guitar or a slow, easy route if you choose a crooner like Frank Sinatra. What’s more, every time you race, the track and your score is uploaded to a server on the net and you can compare your music and your scores with others around the world.

I’ve have also mentioned the Wii Balance Board a few times, most recently in the article The Future of Cerebellum Training

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.

Now I get to mention these two great ideas in one go with Bodysurf. Using GlovePie as an interface, the balance board is connected to a PC and used to play Audiosurf. You can see it in action on this video clip.

For a different hack of the Wii balance board, check out this video of German researchers using it to surf over the word using Google Earth.

ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Medication

The Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research takes a satirical look at the science and marketing of psychiatry and its medication. Like all good satire it mixes humour with laser sharp observations about the products and how doctors works. Mock scientific papers like Therapeutic Efficacy of Cash in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders and entirely factual reposts, such this list of all 1195 side-effects reported by users of Ritalin and Concerta in a two year period, sit side by side.

One particular page may interest Myomancy though, a gallery of adverts for medication aimed at children. Several adverts for medications aim at treating ‘problem children from the early 1960’s shows how little has changed apart from the terminology. Ritalin adverts feature several times and demonstrates how good drug companies are at inventing new problems, such as Tired Mother Syndrome. The advert below is from 1988.

Ritalin Advert

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the link.

Nintendo Wii

Probably not something we will use in WyyMi but this is an interesting idea. It is a Wii Remote shaped like a spray can and was developed as part of a students degree.

Although still early in the development process, it suggests another type of game platform and a fresh twist on the tired “art” app. The success of custom controllers for specific titles suggests that gamers are interested in a more realistic interaction than permitted by a standard joypad. Lihs plans to integrate a communal wall for collaborative graffiti in the eventual software title, that would allow ‘players’ to work on the same art project.

Source: Wiispray prototype graffiti controller for Wii

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

ADD / ADHD

Spotted on the LJ Adult ADHD community, this 1954 film tells the story of Barbara, a disorganised teenage girl who doesn’t fit in. When invited to a popular girl’s house she embarrasses herself because of her poor hygiene and social graces.

The voice over is a patronising, authoritarian woman berating Barbara for failing to fit in with social norms. Nowadays someone like Barbara would be diagnosed with ADHD and given medication.

Watch the film: Habit Patterns. Its about 15 minutes long but you only need to watch 3 or 4 minutes to the idea. The comments and discussion are interesting as well.

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.

ADD / ADHD

This is all over the news media at the moment. At some I will find the orginal study and compare the news reports to what the research actually found.

Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder do 22 fewer days of work per year than people who do not have the condition, a study says.

The research, which looked at 7,000 workers in 10 countries, found an average of 3.5% had ADHD.

Writing in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Dutch team said workplace screening should be used to pick up people with the problem.

A UK expert backed the idea, but warned they should not be stigmatised.

Source: Adult ADHD ‘linked to lost work’

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.