Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dore: The $4000+ Cure For Learning Disabilities

The Dore program (the therapy created by multimillionaire Wynford Dore to cure a disease that Dore also created - Cereballar Development Delay) has been busy in Australia promoting itself on the basis of its claim to be wellfounded science. The radio runs scare advertisements telling already worried parents that the government has warned them off ADHD drugs (since they cause heart attacks and stroke), they've appeared in reputable scientific journals such as New Idea (a woman's magazine), on television shows, on talkback radio, on, as well as the 7:30 report.

EoR has also been viewing their propaganda DVD (go on, order your own copy - it's free and the Dore corporation can certainly afford it) which is pretty much full of the same stuff: some science, a lot of fear and scare, claims to have "the cure" for ADD, heaps of testimonials, and repeated calls for government to fund their business so they can rake the money in from everyone (not just the wealthy who can afford their exhorbitant fees - let the taxpayers donate to them as well).

They also make much of the Parkes Council (that's the same Parkes that has the radio telescope) declaring itself a "Learning Disability Free Zone" and heavily promoting the Dore woo. Apart from the fact that councillors are not scientists and almost certainly have a different agenda and aims in determining what is best for a local community, EoR went along to the Parkes Council website and did a search for "Dore" and "learning disability free". Nothing. Why is the council hiding this groundbreaking event? The 7:30 Report transcript provides details of this wonderful partnership, including a $40,000 trust fund - in effect, a subsidy to get more customers for Dore.

Questions are being asked on various learning disability forums as a result of this media blitz. Amongst frequent comments expressing dismay at the cost, there are also the testimonials that Dore don't include in their advertising material, such as that from Lyn Reeves:

We tried my son who has AS with the DORE program a couple of years ago. It was very expensive and we couldn't claim on any medical insurance or medicare. The program appeared to be simple with just doing simple exercises 10 mins in morning and night. But our son became so stressed with it all, he started developing physical problems and we just stopped the program. Our psychologist stated that it was focusing on what he "couldn't" do and not what he could do. Before we saw the psychologist everyone in the family were doing the exercises so our son wouldn't feel targetted. This didn't work though. Unfortunately I can't say if the program is successful or not, but it wasn't successful for our son at all. The best thing would be is to talk to your psychologist who your child is under and see what their opinion is. Our psychologist stated that this system and AS don't mix well.

It should be noted that Dore is being promoted heavily as a "cure" for Asperger's Syndrome, complete with a "family case history" on the DVD. Lyn Reeves also mentions the cost for initial assessment and a follow-up assessment: $A1150. Elsewhere posters quote costs of $A4600 and (at the 7:30 Report) $A12,000. jwise states $A4000 had to be paid up front, as well as emotional pressure being applied by the salesman ("if I didn't do this for my child, what chance would he have at adulthood").

The Dore technique seems to include techniques more commonly associated with high pressure sales (or even some cults), as petercrispin states:

I am a teacher with a son with preliminary diagnosis of Aspergers. I had a presentation yesterday from the Dore Programme. It was high pressure, what else are you going to do give your child dangerous drugs, etc. I have found out at least one lie and am investigating sources ( people they quote as being supportive).
I have cotacted Proffessors at Unis today and everyone IS SUPER SKEPTICAL. I can not see any evidence that it does anything for ASPERGERS or ADHD.

It should be noted that one of the families on the DVD remarks postively about the constant contact from the Dore people: phone calls and birthday cards.

In passing, EoR was also rather concerned about brain gym being recommended instead of Dore on these pages.

A psychologist at All Kinds of Minds has his doubts as well about the claimed "cure" for dyslexia:

I have yet to see any legitimate independent research group using valid research methods find anything of significance with the Dore method. Since a large part of dyslexia appears (per functional MRI'S [fMRI]) to be related to the phonetic bridge between your visual and auditory processing centers, I don't see how the method has a chance of making a signficant impact.

As for the "cure" for ADD, some people are also less than impressed:

Emma: We tried this with our 10 year old son and spent about a year on the programme. There were some improvements but not of the core ADHD. So would not really recommend it. However, quite a few people I know said their children's dyspraxia and dyslexia improved. Many said it didn't.

tess: Hopefully I will get a refund on the Dore program. All they are doing is introducing EXERCISE into peoples lives.. I can do that on my own.. I have paid $4200 on the program and I am disappointed.. They tell you they give you all the equipment and yet I didn't get half the equipment.. I called them and they told me that some of the equipment they don't provide.. They were able to provide the pilates ball and the wobble board but couldn't provide the tennis ball and the playing cards.. so I have $4200 for what exactly? For some exercises that I may not get any advantage out of.. They stand in shopping centres and con people like me.. I feel so stupid..

Many posters recommend the Learning Breakthrough Program, claiming that Dore effectively took their exercise program from them and commercialised it, and at more than ten times the cost. Perhaps this statement from the Learning Breakthrough site could be interpreted as a sideswipe at Dore Achievement Centres:

The past few years have seen an expansion of "achievement centers" around the world whose research gives the Learning Breakthrough Program as the example of the basis for the development of their offering. We are glad to see others providing the powerful principles that make up our program. While we have no doubt the exercise program these centers provide clients to complete at home each day can have a positive impact, we urge caution to clients who hear claims of a "permanent solution" or "cure". People desperate to find relief from the effects of ADD/ADHD are vulnerable.

Margaret Hardy provides the transcript of the Channel 9 spruiking of Dore:

"They are simple exercises, but they are targeted very specifically at specific parts of the brain where help is needed," says Wynford Dore, from the Dore Achievement Centre. The multi-millionaire British businessman is responsible for the Dore program. His therapy centres put patients through exercises targeting the cerebellum, located at the base of the brain. The Dore program operates on the theory people with learning disorders have a cerebellum which is not fully developed. "We find out where the areas of under-development of the cerebellum are, and the exercises we give target those specific areas of the cerebellum," he says. "Now the Dore group says up to 1 in 6 of us suffers from cerebella development delay resulting in learning difficulties. Yet in many cases, the condition goes undiagnosed," says reporter Lisa Honeywill.

How much bad science can you find in that short excerpt? How are the exercises "targetted"? How is it determined which parts of the cerebellum (not the whole brain - Dore claims all ADHD, AS and dyslexia evils are the result of cerebellar problems) are involved? How is the Dore process a "theory"? Is there a learning disability epidemic (similar but far, far worse than the autism epidemic) if 1 in 6 of us suffers from this condition (in reality, a whole range of conditions, but Dore has helpfully boiled it all down to one). And here are the two viewpoints on this method:

"If I told you I could cure XYZ condition by you standing on your head and scratching and rubbing and you really believed that was true, almost certainly you could improve significantly on what you were worried about," says Dr McDowell. [...] "We've had to beg borrow and steal to do the program ourselves, but the thing is if you're going to have children, you try and do the utmost for those children," says Dennis Chapman.

Which is exactly what Dore is playing on: fear, desperation, and the parents' search for something that might work, no matter how unsupported or how expensive.

The transcript at the 7:30 Report also includes a number of specialists who point out that the research purportedly "proving" this "cure" is unpublished and flawed. Remarkably, even Professor Rod Nicolson (who appears on the Dore DVD in their "Science and Research" segment) is also becoming less supportive:

NATASHA JOHNSON: The original authors defend their study, but Professor Nicolson concedes more needs to be done to answer this question.

PROFESSOR ROD NICOLSON: In my view, the first thing you do is you demonstrate there is some value there. Having demonstrated there is some value there, then you can let the scientists get on and try to tease out exactly what causes what.

Dore, like all alternative therapies with little proven efficacy, cries poor:

NATASHA JOHNSON: Despite promoting the treatment as "proven", medical services collector Glynis Howard admits there's a lack of independent evaluation of the therapy to back up Dore's claims.

GLYNIS HOWARD: They are absolutely right. There hasn't been enough. In my own capacity as a professional, I am frustrated by that.

NATASHA JOHNSON: Don't you think you should do that before you start selling the program for $4,500?

GLYNIS HOWARD: Well, we've got to start somewhere. I mean, how can we do that research when we don't have any money to do it?

No money! EoR ROTFL.

GLYNIS HOWARD: We're not causing any harm.

NATASHA JOHNSON: You are costing parents $4,500.

GLYNIS HOWARD: Certainly and there is no pretence in any situation. Nobody is forced to do this.

No: emotional pressure and claims of miracle cures is not force. Just deceptive.


  1. I have a gifted child with dyspraxia- upper motore body co ordination issues that were well looked after in junior school- in high school he is not reaching his ful potential when being tested as he ponders the questions to long and is loosing self esteem- we live in Australia is there a Dore centre in our country or a way which I can assist him through these methods
    Thanks for your help

  2. Liza: Dore exists in Australia, the UK, the US and New Zealand.

    However, if you've read this post you should realise that the Dore method is primarily about marketing and is unproven (not to mention extremely expensive).

    If you wish to give your money to a wealthy businessman in the belief that it will make your child improve,then it's a free country.

    EoR suspects you'd be better off consulting a Learning Disabilities professional (ask your GP for a referral).

  3. I took the Dore program and it changed my life. I would have paid 2X the cost. It worked for me.

  4. Anonymous: EoR is pleased for you. He also assumes you undertook no other form of therapy of any sort whatsoever so that the miracle is solely attributable to Dore, and that there was a control as well so the cause of the effect could be isolated.

    It's desperate people like you who are, unfortunately, willing to pay any price that leads to the proliferation of unproven marketing of methods such as Dore.

  5. DORE has done miracles for our whole family! I believe that what works for some may not work for all, and that includes all "treatments", whether it is medicine, alternative treatment, herbs, and accupuncture etc.. I think whom ever posted these comments obviously either works for a competitor, has too much time on their hands, or simply has tried the DORE program and unfortunately didn't successfully complete the program. Therefore this individual has a grudge against DORE. DORE doesn't claim there program works for everyone, but why doesn't the author of this page post some of the testimonials that are positive. Let people decide for themselves on what they want to believe. Instead the publisher has to badger the person before me who stated that the program worked for them. Basically undermining their intelligence as to seeking a second opinion, the author of this page, seeks to try and destroy the testiomony of this anonymous commenter. WHY? What is your hidden ajenda??????? You claim Mr. DORE has one, why not share yours?????


  6. Why on earth would EoR want to post testimonials for Mr Dore? Testimonials are not proof or evidence of a causal relationship, nor is this site a commercial offshoot of Dore's enterprises. If you want to browse amazing miraculous tales, go along to Dore's websites. There are testimonials aplenty there.

    EoR doesn't have a hidden "ajenda". He is not running a commercial enterprise like Mr Dore.


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