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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 15:57 GMT
Dyslexic girl top of the class
Francesca Kerr
Francesca used to physically shy away from books
A 10-year-old girl has gone from the bottom of her class to the top in just a year after adopting a special exercise programme to help overcome her dyslexia.

The controversial treatment aims to stimulate parts of the brain using balance and coordination exercises which in turn are said to improve reading and writing skills.

Parents of Francesca Kerr, who had struggled at school and often hid her homework, said the treatment had transformed their child.

Her mother Gioia said the first change she noticed in her daughter was in her schoolwork.

"It was amazing, a child that was finding it so difficult to read a page in a book, who you could see physically backing away from it, is now reading a book in a day," she said.

Francesca added: "I hated school, I really hated it, mostly because I didn't understand anything - but now I love it."

Francesca attended the Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Centre, which created a treatment programme for her.

Wobble board
Balance exercises are said to stimulate certain parts of the brain
Wynford Dore, the centre's founder, claims to have a success rate of more than 90%.

He said: "There are cynics out there, but if you talk to the teachers, head teachers and parents involved they aren't cynical.

"They are absolutely thrilled and they are wanting more and more of it."

The treatment usually costs about 1,500 and there are centres in the UK, Australia and the United States which cater for dyslexic children.

It is still controversial however and has in the past been criticised as a money-making scheme.

The British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Institute said they welcomed new ideas but were still waiting for long-term research to validate the claims made.

Martha Fairlie reports
"Francesca used to hide her homework but now she's top of her class"

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