Doing Easy Physical Exercises Will Cure Dyslexia, Say Experts

Daily Mail (London), October 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

Doing Easy Physical Exercises Will Cure Dyslexia, Say Experts


Byline: JENNY HOPE

A SET of simple exercises originally designed for astronauts could cure dyslexia, experts say.

The revolutionary treatment transformed the reading and writing skills of children with the condition - even allowing them to beat classmates with no learning difficulties in literacy tests.

The exercises are designed to stimulate co-ordination and include walking downstairs backwards with your eyes closed, throwing a bean bag from one hand to the other and standing on a ball.

The treatment also dramatically improved the behaviour of dyslexic children who suffered from attention problems and hyperactivity, according to the study.

Many of them currently have their behaviour 'controlled' by drugs. But it appears that the exercises could be far more effective - without any chemical side-effects.

One of the teachers who took part in the study said they had such a massive impact on the children that it had 'cured them of their learning and attention difficulties'.

The findings will give hope to the two million British children and adults who suffer from dyslexia.

Many of them are never properly diagnosed with the condition - which literally translates as 'difficulty with words' - and so struggle with reading and literacy problems all their lives. A significant proportion of sufferers also have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder so may be given drugs such as ritalin.

Last year, a total of 359,100 prescriptions were written out for Ritalin-type drugs, at a cost to the NHS of [pounds sterling]12.5million - with 90 per cent of them going to under-18s.

The revolutionary Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Attention Disorder programme is based on the idea that dyslexia is caused by lack of co-ordination.

Coventry businessman Wynford Dore discovered the technique in his search to find a cure for his daughter Susie, now 33, who suffered from dyslexia so severe she tried to commit suicide.

Technology that was originally designed for astronauts, who suffer from a form of temporary dyslexia, was used to develop the exercises.

Mr Dore's methods work using individually prescribed eye, balance and sensory exercises designed to stimulate an area of the brain called the cerebellum.

Professor David Reynolds of Exeter University, a leading Government adviser on education, and Professor Rod Nicolson of Sheffield University, carried out a three-year study to test the treatment's effectiveness.

Professor Reynolds said: 'In the 12 months of treatment, the children made 20 months' improvement in reading progress and caught up with their peers.

After the treatment, the children maintained their progress - in other words, the treatment provided a permanent solution to the problem.' The study, published today in the academic journal Dyslexia, tested 269 children aged between eight and 11 at Balsall Common Junior School, near Solihull, and identified 35 with dyslexia.

They were given a series of tenminute exercises to do at home twice a day.

Every six months, their progress was checked and they were assessed annually for their SATs scores in maths, writing and comprehension. …

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