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The Express Advocate
Friday 18 April, 2008 12:01am
THREE school merit awards are among the prized possessions of Berkeley Vale teenager Keiren Allen.
They rank slightly ahead of two school swimming carnival ribbons Keiren won earlier this year and they proudly hang in his parent’s living room.
Keiren’s merit awards contain teacher’s comments such as “impressive application” and “excellent ideas and contribution in class”.
A year ago Keiren, 13, couldn’t even complete a lap of a pool and teacher commendations were nothing more than a dream.
“The only award he ever received at school was for regular attendance,” his mother Elizabeth said this week.
A turnaround came last year when Keiren, a dyslexic with major learning difficulties, was enrolled in an exercise-based therapy program run by the Dore Centre in Britain.
It stimulates the brain’s cerebellum so that the thinking part, the cerebral cortex, does not have to work so hard.
Keiren was assessed by the Dore Centre and put on a 14-month exercise program.
Mrs Allen said the results were dramatic.
“Before the program, Keiren had difficulties keeping up in school and interacting socially with other children,” she said.
“By the time he was 11 he felt suicidal and after being diagnosed with depression by a doctor we looked for something that didn’t involve medication and that’s when we hit on this program.
“He’s now getting As and Bs at school and he’s so motivated.”