It was billed as a miracle cure for dyslexia which could solve children's reading and writing difficulties with a programme of balance and co-ordination exercises. But the controversial Dore programme has now shut down all 13 of its UK centres because of financial problems.
The programme treated up to 40,000 children at a cost of £2,000 each with a regime of simple physical exercises such as threading beads, standing on "wobble boards" and catching bean bags. It also claimed to help attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyspraxia – the symptoms of which include poor co-ordination and a tendency to trip easily.
A statement on the company's website said: "It is with great regret that we have to announce that Dore has been put into the hands of advisers. As a result Dore is closing all of the UK centres which deliver the Dore programme with immediate effect."
The company's website was inundated with messages from distraught parents who regard the programme as the best hope for solving their children's literacy problems.
The scheme was invented by the millionaire paint entrepreneur Wynford Dore after he set out to develop a drug-free treatment to help his daughter, who had been diagnosed with severe dyslexia. Mr Dore's method was inspired by the work of Harold Levinson, an American psychiatrist. Based on the theory that dyslexia is caused by a fault in the cerebellum, an area of the brain controlling balance and muscle movement, it aims to form new neural connections in dyslexia sufferers by stimulating the cerebellum with repeated exercises such as catching bean bags or wobble board routines.
The collapse of the company might seem a surprise. Only recently the rugby and Strictly Come Dancing star Kenny Logan was touring television and radio studios to promote the Dore dyslexia programme with his own personal testimonials.
But the company had been kept afloat by injections of cash from its founder. In the end Mr Dore decided he could no longer subsidise the programme.
The Dore program is one of a number of unusual approaches to dyslexia – which may affect about six million people in Britain – ranging from fish oil supplements to flashing lights.
The company's PR advisers said: "Mr Dore intends that the programme will continue in some form. Wynford certainly has not given up on the programme."