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Brilliantly wheat-free

MagazineOctober 2004 (Vol. 15 Issue 7)Brilliantly wheat-free

When Nathan Moscrop, a 12-year-old with severe dyslexia, suffered a bout of food poisoning, his GP placed him on a wheat-free diet

When Nathan Moscrop, a 12-year-old with severe dyslexia, suffered a bout of food poisoning, his GP placed him on a wheat-free diet. Almost immediately, his reading improved by leaps and bounds, and his attention perked up. Within a few weeks, his reading had improved by 18 months.

After these dramatic results, Simon Dalby-Ball, headmaster at Nunnykirk School in Northumberland - one of five schools in Britain devoted to dyslexia - decided to try removing wheat from the diet of the entire student body.

After six months, the children's annual reading and comprehension test results were extraordinary: 17 of the 22 day students made a year's progress in six months; 11 of the 12 boarders made more than a year's progress; and two of the boarders zoomed ahead by more than three years. The school's average attendee is about four years behind ordinary pupils of the same chronological age in reading. In Nathan's case, his reading ability leapt by nearly four years, making his reading close to his chronological age.

Teachers at the school have also noticed that the children are sunnier, and far more calm and alert. Dyslexic children often become frustrated or withdrawn when they cannot cope with the work. An improved mood and better results will boost self-esteem and further improve results.

In addition to the wheat-free diet, headmaster Dalby-Ball also gives the children fish oils and plays brain games. Nevertheless, the most dramatic response of all occurred simply by ridding the school of wheat.

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