DORE statement on Australia
DORE have at last put up a brief confirmation on DOREtalk that DORE Australia are not operating due to being in financial trouble. If you’ve come to this blog looking for information on that, please read the post below this one first, I’m updating it regularly with any & all sources I can find.
I’ve tried to keep people up to date with the situation on the post below, and let people know what is going on when DORE haven’t – as a DORE supporter put it: ‘It would be nice to hear from someone in the know, rather than ‘dore bashers’ to hear whats going on either way’. So well done to DORE for putting a bit of info up eventually, though DORE Australia staff seem to have been sent home with no warning whatsoever, and DORE USA staff ‘have not heard any details at all. I wish I knew what to tell you.’ My post below has more info on the current DORE Australia situation & all the links I can find.
I am, however, going to have to take issue with the explanation that DORE have given for their difficulties. Quotations below taken from the only DORE announcement so far, a short post hidden on their forums.
‘The issues of learning and attention are problems that the Government should be taking responsibility for. They don’t even automatically screen every child in our schools. Dore has spent huge sums of money developing screening tests and providing them for parents who are concerned.’
I agree more should be done in schools. The Dyslexia Screening Test, as developed by Prof Nicholson & used in most of DORE’s research, is admitted by Prof Nicholson himself to lack specificity. The tests which DORE uses to assess suitability for the programme & their own diagnosis of ‘cerebellar developmental delay’ aren’t screening for learning and attention, they cost ~£500 a time, and aren’t based on ‘NASA Technology’ as DORE originally claimed. Testing for working memory impairment is possible, there’s some interesting new research (some carried out here at York, research funded by the UK govt), & it’s certainly an important area to look at – but this is being done & funded, just not by DORE.
‘A project like this needs the support of Governments’
This has happened in Australia. DORE’s ‘ACE (Assessment of Cerebellar Efficiency)’ screening was trialled in Tasmania in 2006, and seems to have been rolled out further in 2007. I’ve not seen any research published based on this work, unfortunately – why not? Additionally, a town in Australia seems to have decided to integrate the DORE programme into its education system, launched by the Mayor. ‘The council established a $40,000 trust fund made up from a council grant and community donations to help subsidise local children through the program’. Given that DORE have only been in Australia a few years, that’s not so bad – the sort of pilot projects which *if properly evaluated* could support the wider use of an intervention programme.
‘We are doing our best to make it available now. If they came along today to put it into schools, we would help them all we could – and that is where it needs to be.’
If this was the case, then full information should be made available on all aspects of the DORE method – not hidden by ‘commercial confidentiality’, so that DORE can be properly evaluated. Any treatment needs to be researched and evaluated so the most effective methods possible can be used. If DORE really wanted to ‘help all it could’ and get the best treatments out there NOW, they would not use commercial confidentiality, and they would argue their corner with research instead of by sueing people.
I suspect that what’s contributed more to the difficulties of DORE is that the Australian press have been somewhat less uncritically accepting of DORE’s unsupported claims. In particular, ‘Four Corners: The Behaviour Business‘ did an excellent job of reporting on DORE, including making most of the relevant scientific papers available in full freely on their website. The programme’s still available to watch there, along with transcripts & related info, & I’d very much recommend checking the site out. It’s quite a balanced programme, including anecdotes from a family who believe that DORE worked for them, interviews with DORE staff, & a discussion of the Balsall Common studies & evidence by DORE researchers & critics. Probably the most informative 45 minutes you’ll spend if you are interested in the background to this.
I’ll leave the last words to Wynford Dore himself, in the ‘Four Corners’ programme:
“There is an attitude in Australia, kind of pioneering, straightforward, let’s get on with the job. If the Dore Program works then how do I get it? In other cultures they will look much harder for I want this research and that research and that proof and that evidence. The typical Australian is: does it work mate? Let’s do it then.”
And if it doesn’t work, what then?