If Hans Christian Andersen had not been dyslexic, he may never have created the tale of The Ugly Duckling.

It is a classic story of the outsider 's struggle for acceptance, of an individual who doesn't quite fit in try as he might.

Similar setbacks are generally the norm for children with learning difficulties, children who are excessively clumsy or accident-prone and those who can only be described as behaviourally challenging.

Labelled as stupid, lazy or disruptive from an early age, children with learning or behavioural problems deal not only with greater problems in mastering social and academic skills but face a barrage of criticism or intolerance from their environment.

Some of them, like Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Whoopi Goldberg or Magic Johnson become even more determined to succeed others fall by the wayside.

In the U.S., for example, it is estimated that 25 per cent of male prisoners have ADHD.

I recently met Dr Jaqueline Stordy, a scientist who believes there are common biological markers between ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia (clumsy child syndrome)which can be influenced by diet.

Nutritionists are concerned about people consuming the "right" fats, because it has long been established that essential fatty acids, obtained from food, are vital for brain development.

They provide key building blocks for brain, nerve membranes and the retina of the eye and help to carry messages between nerve cells.

Dr Stordy says that supplementing with capsules or syrup containing LCPs (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids) can make children calmer, more focused and easier to teach.

What 's more,linguistic skills, dexterity and balance can also be improved.

She explains there are three key reasons for the lack of LCPs in today 's diet:

1)We are consuming vast amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils which impair the production of beneficial LCPs.

2)We are eating less of the foods naturally rich in beneficial oils such as cold-water fish and organ meat.

3)There has been an overall decline in breast-feeding which contains all the nutrients and fatty acids a baby needs, if the mother is well-nourished.

There is clinical evidence to support Dr Stordy's claims a recent trial by A Richardson and colleagues showed that supplementation with a mixture of fish oil and evening primrose oil relieved a wide range of behavioural and learning problems.

The LCP Solution The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment For ADHD, Dyslexia And Dyspraxia by Dr J Stordy and M Nicholl is published by Ballantine Books (ISBN 0-345-43872-8)

Essential reading not only for those afflicted, but every doctor, health visitor and teacher a land of ugly ducklings.