- Age: 15
- Problem areas: Writing, balance, concentration, organisation, fine motor skills.
- Completed Dore: February 2010
By the time Harry was 5, his mum, Mandy, had already noticed that there were some development problems with his motor skills. A simple task like undoing a button or tying a shoelace was almost impossible for him. Mandy would always have to help, and usually ended up doing it for him because ‘it was quicker’. It also saved him from getting frustrated and tearing his clothes as he ripped them off because buttons were too difficult for him.
The problems continued at junior school. Harry couldn’t ride a bike like the other children – and when he tried to play football, he would run at the ball and trip over it! He had problems copying written work in the classroom from the board and his writing was painfully slow; 20 minutes of homework would take him two hours! Harry struggled with organisation skills and had difficulty packing his bag for school. There were arguments because he was never ready on time.
When Mandy spoke to his teachers about her worries, they insisted that there was nothing wrong – and that with a few more years and some close attention, he would be fine.
Mandy was becoming convinced that Harry was dyslexic, but an assessment at Dyslexia Action showed that his symptoms were more closely related to dyspraxia. The NHS Occupational Therapist Department told the family that they couldn’t offer Harry any support, although the school did finally put Harry onto an enhanced learning programme.
Coming across the Dore website, Mandy decided that the programme had to be worth a try. In October 2007, he embarked on a series of specific and targeted exercises.
The programme took longer than expected because Harry broke both his arm and his foot during that time. Despite the setbacks, he stuck to the exercises as regularly as he could and Dore gave him assessments to monitor his progress.
There were improvements in his balance almost immediately. The initial assessment had identified that Harry had slow eye-tracking hence his problems copying from the board and writing, so Dore gave him card exercises to speed up his eye movement. Very quickly, his football skills and general co-ordination started to get better.
Harry has come on in leaps and bounds. He is far more confident with people and has discovered a really sociable side. “When he was younger, Harry would hardly ever make eye contact,” says Mandy. “Now he’s able to engage in adult conversation and looks directly at the person talking to him.”
Harry’s memory has improved and he can even remember lists of items. “Before the programme, I’d send him to the shop to get eggs, milk and bread,” says his mum, “and he’d come back with lemonade, soap and butter. That’s why he found it so hard to pack his school bag – but now he does it without thinking!”
He has just received an “A” award for his first year GCSE in history and plans to stay at school for his ‘A’ levels because he has so many friends there.
“I don’t think Harry would be the boy that he is now without Dore.” Mandy, Harry’s mum.