Our success Stories
Real stories from people who have benefited from the Performance Breakthrough Programme
My name is David Callaghan. Myself & my wife Kerry were recommended the program by another family member, whose own son was dyslexic. We considered the idea carefully; I would acknowledge that, in the first instance, the proposition may sound strange. My advice is don’t let that put you off. Only when we went to meet Susan did we fully grasp how the program was designed, how it should be applied and the potential benefit to our son James.
We signed up to the Learning Breakthrough Program (now Performance Breakthrough) and explained to James that we’d all commit to do this on a daily basis. It’s important from the outset that everyone “signs up”, as it genuinely takes discipline and commitment across a sustained period (15 minutes per day).
It helps that the program can genuinely be fun; our son, who was ten years old when he started, really enjoyed the fact it is a “physical” program and not a pure bookwork exercise. For him, there was a physical challenge, mastering the balance board (try it, not easy) and then becoming really competitive (with himself) about how well he performed the various tasks. Over the course of 14 months, James took a real pride in doing this to the best of his ability.
So what made this work for us?
The credit here goes to my wife, who integrated this into our daily routine and really ensured that James did his exercises each day (with minimum fuss). A tip here; it’s not perfect every day. On some occasions it just wasn’t fun – too tired, impatient, exasperated if all the elements didn’t work to perfection. But the next day would be back to a positive. Making it fun really keeps up the interest levels for everyone.
What really helps & reassures the parents and child about “are we making progress” are the regular visits with Susan. We visited 3 times after our initial consultation; progress was assessed via a checklist of simple questions – all done with James, very participative. I have to commend Susan for her skills in this area, really empathetic and asks questions in a way that gets the child and the parents really thinking and assessing progress
So what impact did the program have for our son James?
This is the big question, right? I recently was discussing this with a friend at work, who had asked me about the program and subsequently signed up – I asked all the same questions of my cousin, when we originally were considering the idea. So here’s what we think, reflecting on 14 months work; James’ concentration has improved, he fidgets less, he can listen better and understand instructions better. We know this from both his application at school and in his homework, but in other ways too, such as his swimming coach commenting “I only need to explain things once now”.
Of huge significance to us, James’ reading has improved. He doesn’t “skip lines” and has become a more comfortable reader. In addition, his handwriting has improved. Again, this is very noticeable. The importance of this to a ten year old, given the academic tests in Northern Ireland, will be obvious to all parents in this country.
One other “side benefit”, but a good one, the element of hand to eye co-ordination and balance. James was already very sporty, but we’ve definitely noticed an improvement in his peripheral vision, his handling and dexterity. The skills involved and the repeated practice are no mean feat, as any parent who has tried it would agree I’m sure.
So what would my advice be to anyone considering this?
Firstly, be open-minded about the program. It’s different, that’s for sure, but that’s a good thing, especially for our son, who perhaps would have rejected more conventional support that could have involved “bookwork”. Next, go and listen to Susan, who is a very skilful coach; it’s worth an hour of time to really understand the benefits and what’s involved in the program.
Next, once you make a decision, really commit – it takes daily discipline, as I’ve said. Also, stick with it; after 4 or 5 months, we found it tough going, but the visit and consultation with Susan, realising that James had made progress, really encouraged us all to stay with it.
Finally, make it fun; I credit my wife Kerry with the patience here and encouraging James to enjoy the exercises. The variety of tasks available helps this too.
We would commend this program and Susan’s work.
Susan Steele established the company in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland in 2010. The reason for this was that her own 2 sons had struggled at times in school, although they were both very bright.
One son, who was kind, funny and great with young children, struggled with low concentration, had difficulty sitting down to do homework, he forgot books, couldn’t get to sleep, was a fussy eater and had trouble understanding consequences – he was shouted at a lot!
Her other Son, who was very mature for his age, played very fairly and was never in bother in school. He was a very slow, hesitant reader who yawned and rubbed his eyes as soon as he lifted a book. He couldn’t retain spellings and had great difficulty writing a story that made any sense. He had great ideas for a story but couldn’t prove it on paper.
She didn’t realise that there was a specific problem until the children were 12 and 10 years old. “In-fact, I felt that I was a bad parent; thinking I must be working too much, I’m not dealing with these situations properly, I shout too much, I don’t shout enough, etc!!!”.
Susan was called to the school with her eldest and told that the teachers were getting increasingly concerned and if he didn’t pull his socks up within 2 weeks he would lose his place in the top class. As for the youngest, when tested by an Ed. Psychologist his reading and comprehension age was 2 years 6 months behind and his spelling age was 3 years 6 months behind…His IQ was 121!
At this point Susan knew she had to do something. She searched the internet and found a balance and movement exercise programme that described the traits that both boys were displaying.
“It simply made sense. It wasn’t medication or injections so I felt it was worth a try”. Especially when Susan’s eldest asked her, “Does this mean that I don’t have to feel like this for the rest of my life?”.
Susan enrolled her sons on the balance and co-ordination exercise programme. They did the exercises every day for 12 months.
Within weeks their eldest felt happier, teachers noticed that he was much more focused and by 6 weeks he was coming in from school and just going and doing his homework. He was more organised and could get to sleep much quicker. Most importantly, for his self-esteem, he stopped getting shouted at at home and at school. He is now a very well ‘balanced’ happy adult who is a fully qualified chef and is now working with Susan helping families and children find the same peace he has.
Her youngest son has since qualified as a surveyor for a large firm in N. Ireland and passed his HNC with a Distinction/Merit!!
Having witnessed such a difference in her own children and home life in general, Susan wanted to provide the programme to other families. A chance conversation with her friend led to her 28 year old son becoming Susan’s first ‘guinea pig’. He had struggled with Dyslexia all his life, had blocked out primary school as it had been so hard; He was sent to another school for extra English while his classmates went swimming or did art.
His parents had tried everything from flashing light therapy to changing every light bulb in their house to natural light bulbs – none of which worked for him.
The reason he agreed to be the ‘guinea pig’ was that he had started to stutter at 28 and was becoming quite withdrawn. He wouldn’t go for interviews in work and as a result could not reach his full potential. He diligently did the exercises for 15 minutes, once per day for one year.
After a couple of weeks of doing the exercises his stuttering stopped. A few weeks later he was able to just go to bed and go to sleep (he had been lying awake for hours before starting the exercises). He was more motivated and organised and he no longer has problems with his memory. At 7 months he noticed that he was retaining spellings and read his first book ever on holiday.
This year he completed a Business Management Course in the BMC in Belfast. He went for that interview and got the job!!! He sent a text to Susan saying; “I wouldn’t have even thought of applying for the job before as I couldn’t have managed the interview”.
Everyone who has completed the course has seen improvements across the spectrum. We’ve seen children move up classes and been able to cope with the more difficult work.
They’ve received awards for the best improved child in literacy, moved up reading and spelling groups, been able to stop medication, been able to take part in the Christmas play instead of having to sit on the teachers knee and not take part, they can now throw and catch a ball, ride a bike, join the local football club, understand the rules, run in a straight line at sports day and actually get a cheer from their classmates!!! Confidence and self esteem rise and meltdowns and tears at homework become a thing of the past as the child is no longer frustrated.
Where It All Began
In September 2016 our Son, aged 13, was in year 10 at secondary school.
He was getting angry and frustrated and generally getting into trouble almost every day. I dreaded the 3.30pm phone call from the school about persistent low-level disruptive behaviour and our son’s over reactions to sanctions. We knew he was a good kid but he didn’t seem to be able to control his anger and he certainly couldn’t think before reacting.
We were at the end of our tether and went to the GP, yet again, for help with his emotional instability and mental health; we were really worried for his future.
Over the years we have been repeatedly to the GP asking for help with his anger and inability to cope with his emotions. We have seen CAMHS, private psychologist, councillors and social workers. We eventually got a diagnosis of Dyslexia, which explains some of our son’s frustrations at school.
Then in November 2016 we found Learning Breakthrough’s website (now Performance Breakthrough) and spoke to Susan Steele. Having had that initial conversation, we knew we had to try this exercise programme as it didn’t involve drugs and it sounded very promising.
After just 6 weeks Dan noticed a definite difference with his concentration levels at school and said he could stay focused for longer. Then around 3 months his reading ability increased by 2 years with more fluency and intonation. Best of all, he started making sense of what he was reading and it no longer sapped his energy levels to do his homework.
We are now at the 6-month stage and we are seeing vast improvements in Dan’s academic ability.
Dan wrote two lists of how he felt before starting the programme and how he feels now, 6 months later:-
Before (6 months ago) After (Now)
Felt angry all of the time Good reading
Badly behaved (school and home) More confident
Falling behind in school Positive comments from teachers
Unhappy (Home and school) I have a better vocabulary
Hated school and teachers Much better exam results
Bad spelling Spelling is easier
Didn’t really know times tables Much calmer (less meltdowns)
Reading was hard Can concentrate for longer
Couldn’t concentrate in school or at homework
He was top of the class in most subjects and English has gone up by two grades. He is still working on his school behaviour and gets into trouble with teachers (mostly talking back and reacting to sanctions when he feels he’s being blamed unfairly) but these are much less frequent than before starting the programme. At home his behaviour is noticeably better and we are getting on a lot better as a family – everyone’s stress levels have reduced and the house is calmer.
Dan also has some OCD tendencies and we are noticing that this programme is helping with these behaviours too.
We are continuing with the exercises every day for 15 minutes and we are very pleased with the progress so far. Dan has certainly benefited from the exercises and I am really grateful that he is calmer and more confident in his ability to read and do well at school. We can now see that he has a bright future and has generally got his anger and emotional meltdowns under control.
My 8 year old son, Will, was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome 3 years ago. He attends mainstream school with his own classroom assistant.
He has been exercising, with the Learning Breakthrough Programme (now Performance Breakthrough), for 8 weeks now and already the school has remarked on the improvement in his behaviour. He has become calmer, less anxious with less use of inappropriate language and body movements. He is more settled in class, concentrating better on his work, enjoying P.E. and behaving well at lunch-time. His handwriting has become smaller and neater and he is now engaging in conversation with adults.
Will is happier within himself and only last week his Cub Scout Leader noticed how he is more tuned-in with fewer tantrums. He is less aggressive and has started smiling once or twice in the last week”.
UPDATE Jan 2013 – My son has just finished 12 months of the exercise program. I am delighted with his progress – he is now so calm, pleasant and empathetic. He is chatting, giving eye contact, can hold a knife and fork and even ride a bike. He is 9 years of age and has been transformed into a much less demanding and angry little boy! His SENCO teacher had said that school had despaired in Oct 2011 as Will wasn’t coping at all and they didn’t know where to turn. Since starting the Learning Breakthrough Programme they have seen a dramatic difference and are very happy that he has now settled in school,
4th February 2012
We have just come to the end of the 12 months and I still can’t quite believe the changes that I’ve seen Oliver and in our home.
We began the program full of worry, concern, frustration and if truth be told maybe a little skepticism. As a health professional I had some understanding of the theory behind the program but to my husband this was like a fish out of water.
After our initial meeting with Susan he said ‘How can this wooden board change things for Oliver in school, it sounds too good to be true’.
How wrong he was!!! Within weeks the difference was obvious and now at the end of the program our initial concerns have all but disappeared. Oliver is happy and settled at school, his work is steadily improving and our home feels less like a battle ground particularly during homework!!
Susan is truly amazing. She supported us every step of the way but more importantly she was like a mind reader. She had been where I was, she had been through it all herself, she got it, she got me and that was invaluable.
My advice to others is keep going. I’m not going to lie it isn’t always easy. Oliver wasn’t always keen to practise and it was sometimes hard to fit the exercises in on busy days but it was so worth it and sometimes it was even fun!!!! We are glad to have reached the end and are full of hope for the future. The sky is the limit for our future little scientist Oliver.
We will miss you Susan xx
Susan’s Experience – her eldest son John.
My own Son had ADHD until age 12. Needless to say, I was continually in the Head Masters office, he couldn’t sleep, eat, sit still, organise homework etc. After 1 year of balance and co-ordination exercises he no longer has the symptoms.
Half way through the programme he came to me to say that he knew that he had been letting us down every time we were in the head master’s office but that he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He also told us that “the harder he tried the worse it got”.
Incidentally, he has no bad memories of being shouted at as a child – laughingly he told me recently “It all went in one ear and out the other”. We count ourselves very lucky that our child has a bright future.
That was 12 years ago and he has a very bright future ahead and I am delighted that in January 2019 he joined us at Performance Breakthrough as a Breakthrough Coach!
Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough), based in Newtownabbey, provides a neuro-development programme that helps children and adults with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism Spectrum Disorders reach their full potential in life. Since forming in 2010, Learning Breakthrough has worked closely with over 200 families in Northern Ireland with positive results, such as Jack’s family in Newtownabbey.
His Mum tells the story: “We always knew there was something different about Jack and as he got older certain traits became more apparent. Inability to concentrate, unable to sit still and feet moving constantly (something we affectionately termed ‘happy feet’) were just a few of the characteristics that Jack displayed. A P2 parent/teacher interview brought to light that his teacher also had concerns in these areas that resulted in Jack having difficulty with his school life and school work. After lots of tears and gratitude for the school’s support, followed a GP referral and an appointment with a Doctor specialising in Spectrum Disorders. Our wonderful boy was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Despite us being resistant at first Jack was started on the medication Equasym XL twice a day with the intention of helping to correct the chemical imbalance in his brain. Improvements were soon apparent both at home and at school and Jack was a different boy. He was a lot more settled and able to concentrate in ways he had never done before. However the unpleasant side of the tablets soon raised their ugly head. Disruption to his sleep pattern, his loss of appetite, constant nausea and he looked sickly. Jack also said he felt different from his school friends as he had to be excused daily from class to take his tablets. Life continued for the next few years but as parents we were hopeful there was something out there that could help make our son’s daily struggle easier. We were also concerned about the consequences of a teenage son refusing to take his medication!! A chance mention of Jacks ADD to neighbours pointed us in the direction of the Learning Breakthrough Programme. After lots of research we made an appointment for an initial assessment with Susan Steele.
Susan put us right at ease and it was reassuring that someone truly understood what we were going through. We commenced the programme one year ago and we can honestly say it has been the most emotional but wonderful journey we have ventured upon. Within 3 months of completing 15 minute exercises using an adjustable balance board, bean bags and various balls, twice daily we were noticing wonderful changes within Jack. He was calmer, able to concentrate better and able to control himself and his emotions. School also remarked on the positive progress Jack was making. The improvements in Jack’s home and school life continued at pace and by the sixth month mark of the programme we as parents felt confident enough to take him off his ADD medication completely. The Learning Breakthrough Programme has totally changed our lives. It is the most wonderful feeling as a parent to wake up each morning and to not have to worry about our son’s future. The future is certainly bright.
One year of completing the programme and Jack’s life has improved remarkably. He is achieving exceptionally well in school and his teachers are very impressed at how focused and well he is working in class. His confidence is growing and he is willing to give the harder work a go, giving him a great sense of satisfaction. He is so proud of himself!
He is gaining control of his life and in the words of our 10 year old son “The noise inside my head is no longer there and I feel like a completely new boy.” Our son Jack is the most beautiful boy inside and out that anyone could wish for. He is loveable, caring and funny and we are so proud of the wonderful young boy he has become despite the obstacles and frustrations he has had to face and overcome. Our family will be forever grateful for the Learning Breakthrough Programme. We have received wonderful support and understanding from Susan.
The scheduled reviews and problem solving ideas made the programme that bit easier and she was always on the end of the phone with invaluable advice. The programme has enriched our lives immensely and has given Jack back control and a new found sense of confidence and self-esteem. We would urge any parent who is going through what we went through to do the programme with their children. It has been truly life changing!
To find out more, get in touch!
Thanks to Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) our Autistic son has been able to show emotion in ways we never thought possible. He expresses love, I am regularly covered in kisses and he tells me every day “mummy – I love you so so much”. We always have a good chat at bedtime and recently when I kissed him and told him I loved him he said “mummy – you made my heart grow”. A rather profound statement for any 5 year old but for a child who barely spoke a year before it felt like nothing short of a miracle.
It has been a hard road from when I first started to notice my son wasn’t reaching his milestones when he was about 2.5. His speech and understanding of language weren’t progressing, he was a very strong willed child, emotionally volatile, preferred his own company, had poor balance and spatial awareness, refused most foods and began to hand flap and twist when excited – all red flags for ASD.
As time went on his autistic traits became more pronounced and I felt like I was losing my son. He found it difficult to engage in conversation and to make eye contact. He paid very little attention to his little sister and wouldn’t let anyone do anything for him except me. He refused to go anywhere, his anxiety was taking over all our lives – he wouldn’t go to the park, to visit family, to soft play areas or birthday parties ….. all things a 3 year old should enjoy. Not to mention the things a 3 year old doesn’t enjoy – paediatrician appointments, assessments, occupational therapy, speech therapy …. it was a nightmare for both of us.
I have always loved and accepted my son for who he is but what I’ve refused to accept is that I can’t do anything to help him. I began researching anything and everything that could help my beautiful boy. A friend told me about an advert she heard on the radio about the Learning Breakthrough Program. I decided to go along to an information evening where I listened to Susan describe her journey and the science behind the LBP. I left that night full of hope and certain that I had found the answer to helping my son.
Susan came to visit us in our home where he would feel comfortable and relaxed – he had just turned 4. We discussed the exercises that he would be capable of doing given his age and I started with a few minutes once a day building up to ten minutes a day. He wasn’t able to catch so I started with blowing bubbles and getting him to pop them whilst balancing on the board. Gradually he learned to catch and has become an expert at the pendulum ball and bouncy balls. We can’t do all of the exercises yet but he’s only just turned 5.
I can tell you it is hard work and is not for the faint hearted but neither are the challenges of raising a child with autism – the daily battles of teeth brushing, dressing, going to school, dinnertime …. I thought, what’s one more thing to add to the day when it could potentially make all those other struggles disappear?!
Within weeks of starting the program he began to become an adventurous little boy – my son learned to ride a bike, something I thought I might never see! Rather than cry in the car outside the park he asked to go and climbed everything he could without fear. He started school in September and has settled in so well and coped with the curriculum without difficulty. His teacher told me recently that he’s a very popular member of the class and he comes home every day with stories of everything he’s done and who he’s played with. Going to parties fills him with excitement and I watch him join in with his friends and it fills me with pride – these are the things that other parents might take for granted, as I’m sure I would have too had my precious son not taught me what really matters in life.
I cannot remember the last time he had a serious meltdown, he still gets upset and frustrated but he expresses his feelings now rather than letting them get the better of him. He has a lovely relationship with his sister now and he has become very close to his dad whereas before he didn’t really let anyone get too close except me. He was recently discharged from community speech therapy because his assessment scores had improved so much, his speech therapist also commented that she didn’t see the same anxiety problems and unwillingness to cooperate.
I couldn’t have done this without Susan’s encouragement and support. Her office sign reads ‘Unlock your potential’ and that is exactly what has happened to our child – he is no longer ‘locked in’. She truly wants the very best for every family that she works with. I am so grateful that Susan and the LBP came into our lives. Previously the future filled me with overwhelming fear, I still worry – as every mother does, but not to the extent that I used to. I’m happy knowing I’m doing my best for my son and I’m watching him grow into a wonderful little man.
We’re one year on and I’m aware that we still have a long road ahead as he still has some problems but I watch my son now enjoying his life – laughing, singing and dancing and I think to myself that anything’s possible …..
Fiona Bradley – Newtownabbey
At age 7 my daughter Maddy was diagnosed with Dyslexia after an Educational Psychologist assessment. She was also referred by her GP to an Occupational Therapist to help with tying her shoe laces, using a knife and fork etc. From P3 she had an IEP which was revised every term. She attended the school SENCO for one to one lessons and we also paid privately for Maddy to attend the N. Ireland Dyslexia Centre.
Maddy still fidgeted, couldn’t sit still, was easily distracted and had no consequences of her actions. She was very disorganised, just read the words on the page like a list and didn’t understand the story. She couldn’t retain spellings and basically wrote as little as she could get away with! Every evening homework was a battle and would never have been completed only for myself or her Dad sitting with her throughout. A game of cards would result with the cards being on the floor!!!! It was all a big strain on the family life, not just for us but for Maddy too. We noticed she was becoming more and more disinterested in school.
After years of struggle to help Maddy to read and retain spellings etc we found Susan and the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) Programme. We started the 12 month programme doing 15 minutes of balance and co-ordination exercises once per day. After a few months we noticed improvements in concentration, memory recall and motivation. As we continued, we noticed improvements in all the areas that had previously caused us concern and best of all, she was happier.
Maddy is now in high school and got top marks for her class in both Maths and English! She was commended by her teacher for being so organised and a pleasure to teach – not a report expected for our child with Dyslexia!
We have no doubt that this result would not have been possible without the Learning Breakthrough Programme. We would not have completed the programme without Susan’s unending support, encouragement and guidance. We really have a lot to thank Susan for.
We would recommend the programme to any parent who is struggling to help their child through the battleground of trying to learn with Dyslexia.
Our 10 year old Daughter’s mind used to be in chaos. Homework especially proved to be a real challenge. Whenever Sophie came up against something that she didn’t understand she would have a severe frustration tantrum. The homework would have to be cancelled altogether and the whole family was affected for the rest of the evening.
In the mornings, if her Dad asked her to do a couple of things she would fly off the handle, cover her head with her hands and say “I can’t do all of that, stop talking!”
Apart from all of this going on she found it impossible to read, spell, was very disorganised, had no concept of time or the need to hurry up. Her writing was painfully slow, with no spaces, letters all different sizes and words moved about on the page. She was very easily distracted, tired all the time, she found it hard to get to sleep which added to the tiredness and in speech, she knew what she wanted to say but just couldn’t get the words out. All in all she was very unhappy and constantly feeling frustrated.
Our Daughter has been doing the Learning Breakthrough Programme for 6 months now. It involves standing on a balance board, once a day for 15 minutes and doing exercises that co-ordinate Sophie’s body, strengthen her eye tracking and focus and literally re-organises her brain! We have noticed magnificent differences in just 6 months; the chaos has gone so she feels calmer overall. In her words, she can now think straight! Recently she asked her friends to have a reading out loud competition – she felt confident enough to try. Her friends all agreed that her reading was the best!
The most significant change is that she is in control of her emotions. Even though she still gets frustrated at times, she is able to go away to her room, sort it out in her head, calm herself down and come back and do the task she was asked to do without any fuss.
In addition she is willing to take on more school work, she no longer gets lost in her speech, she has quickened up in her writing, getting dressed, doing her homework and is generally processing information at a normal speed. Her reading is fluent and she has mastered her times tables. (She used to need time to work them out on her fingers).
We are more than pleased with her progress and we are very happy that we took on the programme.
Proud and relieved parents – Peter and Julie
School has always been very difficult for our Son, Ben. He has been on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) since P2. He received 2 years’ peripatetic support in primary school and attended a tutor once a week.
At the end of P6 Ben received a Statement of Special Educational Needs which stated that he had a Significant Specific Learning Difficulty with Dyslexia. At this stage Ben had great trouble with reading, writing and spelling. He could learn spellings on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but on Thursday he would have to learn them all for a test on Friday and it would be like starting to learn them all over again.
Ben’s concentration span was limited, he had difficulty retaining information and in group work he would become withdrawn as he knew what he wanted to say but couldn’t get the words out on time. Homework took a very long time to complete, he found it difficult to mix with and make friends and his sports ability in team games like football were not of a high standard; all of which did little for his self-esteem.
On the plus side Ben is a very funny, loving and practical boy who loves being outside. He enjoys gardening, fishing, cycling and walking in the mountains. He is a great help on the building site with his Granddad and uncle and has a great sense of fairness towards others.
I read about the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) Programme in NI4kids and talked my husband into going to see Susan. I had my mind made up that we were going to do the programme but my husband was a bit skeptical. Having met with Susan, my husband agreed that it was the right thing to try for Ben.
The programme consists of 15 minutes per day of balance and co-ordination exercises that re-organise the way the brain processes information. Thankfully it didn’t involve more of what Ben already found difficult i.e. extra spellings or reading.
We started the programme in the August 2015 and Ben started 9th year junior high school in that September.
In the Christmas exams Ben got five 1st places.
By March he won the Boys Brigade bible quiz cup.
In the May exams Ben got six 1st places.
And in September he moved up a class in school!!!!
His dad and I weren’t sure if we had made the right decision in agreeing to Ben moving up. We were worried that he wouldn’t be able to cope with the work but Ben himself wanted to move up as it got him within one class of some of his new friends. He was even talking recently of getting moved up again.
Well … we shouldn’t have worried at all. In this year’s Christmas assessments Ben got two 1st places and three 2nd places!!!! What an achievement. We are very proud parents.
The teachers are now talking about Ben doing GCSE’s, something I thought would never happen. That’s not all; Ben has also been made Prefect for the next year. His form teacher commented on his report:-
“Ben is a well-mannered, trustworthy and respectful member of class. This is reflected in his appointment as a school prefect. His excellent exam results have also been recognised with the Class Prize Award. Well done Ben!”
Having finished 12 months of the programme we now have a son who came first not last. His confidence has soared and he has become a real whizz on the computer.
We now have a son who started year 8 with a reading age of 6yrs and 10mths and at the end of year 9 he has a reading age of 10yrs and 6 months. What more can I say?
It takes commitment to keep going with the exercises but it’s worth every minute when your child comes home from school with good news and a smile on his face knowing that his hard work is paying off.
What would I say about the Learning Breakthrough Programme?
It is a programme that we would strongly urge other parents to try. It has certainly unlocked our Son’s potential and had made a massive difference to Ben’s life and to our family as a whole.
Julie O’Neill – Armagh
on at a normal speed. Her reading is fluent and she has mastered her times tables. (She used to need time to work them out on her fingers).
We are more than pleased with her progress and we are very happy that we took on the programme.
Proud and relieved parents – Peter and Julie
A mum and her 11 year old son arrived for their evaluation yesterday. After a short chat I asked him.
“Do you realise that you are smart?“
He looked at me and very slowly nodded his head and whispered “Yes“.
His eyes then filled up with tears and as one fell I said to him;
“You’re right. You are smart but you find it difficult to prove it when you are trying to put a story onto paper or tell a story“.
Again, he nodded.
“You are also working ten times harder than you should have to to complete your work“. He smiled, realising that I knew how he was feeling and how frustrating school and homework was every day for him.
I explained the reasons why he finds it so hard to remember spellings (even though he has gone over them every night). Why the wonderful idea for a story just won’t go down on paper, why he interrupts when his parents are talking, why he can’t get to sleep at night and why he can’t sit still and skips and jumps continually when he walks etc.
I then explained how the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) Programme will enable him to prove exactly how smart he is with a tenth of the effort he is currently putting in and without tears and frustration.
When he had lifted the balance board kit into the car he turned and hugged me – No more tears!
Prior to starting on the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) programme, our 20 year old son was what you could probably describe as a lost boy.
He had no real concept of consequences for his actions and although not bad in himself he would end up in situations and could not comprehend why these things always happened to him.
He was regularly led astray by manipulative people looking to take his money, get him to buy drugs from strangers in car parks and generally treat him badly.
He was deeply unhappy and withdrew into himself. He knew something wasn’t right but didn’t know what was wrong and didn’t know how to help us to understand. As a result the whole family was suffering and tensions were continually high at home. We knew he was on a slippery slope and had a constant fear that the door would be knocked by the police telling us that something terrible had happened to him….We were living a nightmare mostly because we felt helpless.
When he talked to Susan at Learning Breakthrough he bought into the idea of the course very quickly. He felt understood for the first time and it was as if Susan already knew him. He actually ended up laughing by the end of the assessment. Once he started doing the exercises for just 15 minutes, once per day the results were quick.
He noticed that he was able to concentrate more, his whole attitude changed and he was happier than we had seen him in years. He started to become more aware of himself and his actions – even texting us if he was going to be late!!! We have had some slips, generally when he has not done his exercises but a quick session and he is back on track.
He knows the benefits of the course and the positive effects it has had on him.
He has found himself again and we have rediscovered our Son.
He has been off all forms of drugs for over a year, has been able to hold down a job and is studying towards professional qualifications.
Phoebe and James Welsh
I have written this account of my son’s journey with Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) so that other parents will know that there is hope out there for our kind, loving but misunderstood children.
Before our 10 year-old son started the Learning Breakthrough programme life was hard for him and the whole family.
These are the areas that have improved for our son in just 10 months: –
He is now organised in the morning and the shouting has stopped.
He can be given a list of instructions and can carry them all out without asking “What did you just ask me to do?”
Instead of me telling him “Go and get your shoes on” 5 times, he now realises that we are going out shortly and goes and gets his shoes on himself….without being asked once.
Homework used to be nightmare – now he goes and does it himself and even gets up in the morning if he needs to finish anything off – the fighting, frustration and tears have stopped.
He used to have meltdowns and throw things – We can’t remember the last time this happened and he can’t imagine even getting that angry.
He is finding it easier to make friends and is more willing to approach other children to play.
He can wear any types of clothes now as they no longer annoy his skin and we can actually enjoy going shopping.
We no longer have to pre-warn or prepare him before going somewhere new.
He has started baking and following the recipe himself. He insisted on bringing carrot cake buns to Susan on our last visit!
Throughout the programme Susan was great, especially when, in the first few weeks our son seemed to go backwards with frustrated outbursts that were quite hard to handle – When Susan phoned to see how we were getting on she assured us that this sometimes happens and that in our son’s case it had to happen as he could not stay in his ‘bubble’ of being unaware of what was going on around him. She further assured us that the outbursts would settle within a few weeks – We kept going, they did settle and we now have our happy, calm, funny and smart son that we always knew was locked in there.
Doing this programme has transformed my husband’s and I’s lives. We have 4 children but the house is no longer manic. His Dad is much less frustrated with him as he no longer has fears for the future.
We are so pleased now that everyone else, family and friends, can see the lovely boy that we always knew he was but couldn’t always show in front of others.
We would recommend this programme to all parents whose children struggle in school and at home in the ways our son did. It takes commitment of 15 minutes per day but it is well worth it and certainly the bet money I have ever spent.
If you are reading this and you want to talk to a Mum who has walked in your shoes and is now on the other side of the nightmare, please let Susan know and she will put you in touch with me.
In regards to Ryan we can definitely say that we have a different boy since he started on the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) programme.
Before Ryan started the programme he had quite a number of learning and speech difficulties and was getting a lot of support through school, speech therapy, occupational therapy etc.
Ryan, like most children with speech and learning difficulties had a lot of temper tantrums, sleeping issues, difficulty interacting with other children and as parents we always had to be careful when taking Ryan out to cafes, shopping etc as he would get upset very easily over the slightest thing.
I hate to say it now but it was safer to not take him out most of the time.
It’s hard now to recount all the problems, as so many have eased or disappeared completely, but he did have quite a few difficulties.
When Ryan started the programme we started to see changes with him within a few weeks. The lovely part of his personality really started to shine through as he became less frustrated with things in general, less temper tantrums and he started to be able to communicate with us better but also with others outside his family circle. After a few months on the programme we witnessed him have an actual conversation with an adult for the first time ever, where both Ryan and the adult knew what each other was talking about! This was a major milestone for Ryan as he always became hugely frustrated when people didn’t understand him.
We also had glowing reports from his school, speech therapists and occupational therapists who have also seen great improvements in Ryan all round. Ryan’s concentration greatly improved which really benefited him in school. I really think the programme helped with this as it was clear how as soon as he started to focus better on the exercises this correlated with his improved focus in school work.
Socially now Ryan is great and we can do so much more with him and without any nervousness. His sleep patterns are absolutely normal and tantrums are pretty much non-existent.
Ryan still does present with some delayed learning issues but he has made so much progress in all areas whilst on the programme. We had great delight to hear from his teacher last month that Ryan’s reading had advanced by a full year between June and September this year. He had no additional therapy over the summer other than the programme and some reading at home.
Again Ryan’s confidence and his overall personality has completely changed in the last 18 months and we are so thankful for all the support from Susan and the learning breakthrough programme.
Susan has been fantastic at giving us additional support, words of advice and suggesting other exercises that help Ryan with his concentration and helping with his co-ordination.
Ryan’s occupational therapist also shadowed Susan for a time and then started employing a number of the exercises from the programme into Ryan’s OT sessions. I think this is absolute testimony that the programme works.
There’s probably lots of other really obvious changes in Ryan that I’ve missed but I would recommend the programme to anyone who has children with similar issues.
Michael Mackin – Newtownards
I am happy to recommend Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) which is a complete balance and co-ordination exercise programme that encompasses every aspect of a child’s learning and sporting ability. It is also unique in that it offers 12 months of parental advice, support and guidance.
Susan Steele has provided the programme for 7 years with over 600 children having made permanent progress in areas such as academic achievement, social awareness, sporting ability, behavioural issues, low concentration, difficulty sleeping and eating and many more symptoms. Many children have been able to cease medication for ADD and ADHD after just 6 months of completing the exercises.
I have followed the progress of this programme for the past 3 years and have heard many parents praise the work that Susan and her team do and the progress their children have made on the programme.
Dr Anish Anish – Paediatric Consultant (Head of ADHD services)
Having had a diagnosis of ADHD for our 8 year old son & not wanting to put him on medication, we were struggling with his behaviour and the effect it was having on our family, our marriage, our world! We didn’t feel there was any hope for a better future; it was as if we’d been given our lot & we just had to get on with it the best we could.
It was then that I saw Susan’s Facebook advert for Learning Breakthrough (Performance Breakthrough). Everything she described fitted with our own experience. It seemed like a perfect solution. So why didn’t I phone her immediately to get started? Because I was cynical. It sounded too good to be true. Why hadn’t the healthcare professionals referred me to her? Why hadn’t I heard of this before?
Thank goodness I saved her page and gave her a call! Susan has been there with her own children, she knows exactly what you’re going through & she can answer all your questions because of that & the training she has done with Dr Belgau herself. I ended that phone call with a huge feeling of relief and hope, and after signing up & receiving the equipment we were on the way to our new future.
I urge you to please give Learning Breakthrough a chance. If you have any doubts please ask Susan to put you in contact with me. I want to protect my son’s anonymity therefore this is an anonymous post but I promise you I am a real person & Learning Breakthrough really does work!
A lovely thank you from a parent!
It’s so rewarding when my clients write to me about the transformation their children experience after working with us. This is exactly why we do what we do…
8 Jan 2018
Diane Burrows here. I’m finally getting around to emailing you about Andrew, sorry it’s taken so long but our internet connection is terrible and I haven’t been able to send emails from home in ages!
Before Andrew started the programme he was finding school work very difficult. He was very easily distracted in class and when trying to complete homework. He was quite clumsy and found riding a bike and playing throwing and catching games difficult. He was always keen to do well and worked very hard at all tasks but no matter how hard he tried he always seemed to struggle and often got frustrated which lead to tears and tantrums and in the end he would just give up.
The Learning Breakthrough Programme (now Performance Breakthrough) has helped Andrew in so many ways. His concentration has greatly improved which has helped him both in class and when completing homework. He has made progress in both literacy and numeracy. His balance and coordination has improved and he has become more active and is much more keen to get involved in team games and sport in general. He has become much more confident and was given a speaking part in the school Christmas play which he was so proud of. The programme has been a great help in general and we are all really grateful to you for all your help and advice Susan so thank you again for everything and wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy 2018!!!!!!
We just received this review from Lucy’s Mum…
We are very pleased to be working with Joanne and Lucy and making a real difference in their lives…The improvements range from reading levels increasing to being able to ride her bike with her friends. Lucy no longer has to sit and watch the others whizzing about!!!
When I contacted Learning Breakthrough 8 months (now Performance Breakthrough) ago we were very concerned about our bright 7 year old daughter Lucy’s progress at school. The message we got from school was that although Lucy ‘had potential’ she was not realising it. Every school interview was almost entirely negative. She had recently been diagnosed with dyslexia and although her reading was good she had difficulty retaining spellings and maths facts. Her spelling was around 2 years behind for her age. We had continual feedback that Lucy was not concentrating and listening in class. She also struggled to control her emotions and would overreact in the classroom. Homework was a real battleground and a 30 min task would take three times as long. Another difficulty was she struggled to ride her bike without stabilsers as she could not find her balance.
From the first phone call with Susan it was such a relief as finally someone got where Lucy was coming from! Susan was so reassuring that it was not our fault as parents but it was the way Lucy’s brain was working that made her react in certain ways. Although Lucy was not always the most willing participant we have persisted with the exercises and have seen real progress. Our most recent interview with her class teacher after 6 months doing the programme was the best and most positive in 4 years. She is concentrating better in class and no longer overreacts in the classroom. Lucy is happier, calmer and interacting better with the teachers and the other children. After 8 months on the programme she is now retaining spellings a lot better and has caught up lost ground. She is not far behind her age level. Another benefit of the exercises is she can now ride her bike without stabilsers which is a great confidence boost!
We are extremely pleased with the progress Lucy has made in 8 months and feel she is well on the way to realising her full potential.
School is out and one boy in particular is polishing his medals from this year’s sports day….
Last year, 6 year old Ryan wouldn’t even take part….He was afraid of failing and became very anxious when the other children were shouting and screaming.
He started the Learning Breakthrough programme (now Performance Breakthrough) 6 months ago and his Mum has just phoned to say that he won the bean bag toss (he had to throw bean bags into 3 different sized bowls – one of which was the size of a cereal bowl). He was the only child in the school to get all 3 on his first go!!!
He also came 2nd in the running race and 2nd in the egg and spoon race – He didn’t drop the egg once.
On the morning of sports day, his Dad had explained to him that it was the taking part that was important. Ryan replied.
“There’s not much point in taking part if I’m not going to try to win Dad”.
Ryan’s Mum and Dad could’t believe the effort he put into trying and it certainly paid off.
Does your child get anxious or refuse to take part in sports?
Do they lose concentration and wander off the pitch because they can’t take in the instructions?
Get in touch – we can help!
We received this post this afternoon – a lovely update!
Hi there, my name is Paula, and my wee boy Ross started this programme only 7 week’s ago. Ross has had a diagnosis of “high functioning autism and also adhd” double whammy which is pretty common in these case’s.. I would like to say a massive thankyou to Susan for her help and support.. When I first spoke to her on the phone, she told me in her words “I promise u, ur at a turning point and thing’s will get better for u, Ross and ur family????Ross as I say is nearly 7 week’s on this programme and boy have we all seen such an improvement with his general behaviour, he’s so calm before getting his medication in the morning’s, more focused and has a lovely relationship now with his younger sister Jenna, who before couldn’t have been left alone in the same room.. At last the anger, hyperness and frustration has eased tremendously???????? Susan ur a fantastic lady, and have been a true God send in our family.. Can’t wait to see the result’s at the end of his year???? xxxx
Happy Friday Update – 21st February 2014
“I can concentrate now”!!!!!!
From the age of 7, Josh had problems concentrating in class. He was unsettled and he did not like school. He had particular difficulties with math and needed extra help. He would produce incomplete work and was very easily distracted. He would often interrupt in conversations and get into trouble for this in class. Josh found it difficult to retain information and because of this, asked a lot of questions.
When he started 1st year in secondary school, we knew that he could shine and was capable of much more than he was producing on paper. He lacked confidence in his own abilities. The teachers felt that he wasn’t at a stage where he needed additional support, they thought he just wasn’t trying!
We enrolled Josh on the Learning Breakthrough (now Performance Breakthrough) Programme and started doing the exercises (which don’t involve any writing, reading or maths thank goodness). As we have two other children, in the beginning it was difficult to fit the 15 minute exercises in with football practice at 3 different times etc, but we persevered and it is now part of our daily routine.
Within a few months we have noticed positive changes in Josh. His confidence has improved. He is willing and able to try harder at his school work.
He said himself “I can concentrate for longer and the work just seems easier”.
He is seeing great results in school achieving 100% in Maths in his Christmas test!
He appears to be content and a lot happier within himself. He gets his bag packed himself and he does his homework independently, without any assistance. His friend recently phoned him at home to ask for help with a maths question!! That would never have happened before!!!
It takes commitment but it’s definitely worth it.
HAPPY FRIDAY UPDATE – 14th February 2014
3 months ago I told you about a lovely child who was so sensory she couldn’t wear pants, socks, school uniform and she couldn’t touch paper, pencils etc. She found it difficult to concentrate, read, write, spell and so on – her self-esteem had taken quite a battering and home life was very difficult!
The family came for the 3 month assessment today:
Her sense of touch has nearly normalised in that she can now wear any outer clothes she wants, even new shoes. She’s almost there on the socks and pants. She can touch pencils and paper, polystyrene, the bean bag and the pendulum ball for the exercises (Dad used to put cling film round them). She is more willing to try new foods, gets to sleep quicker etc.
Apart from the sensory issues, the child had great difficulty focusing – her eyes flicked when she tried to track an object in front of her. This was making it nearly impossible for her to read, retaining spellings/times tables, write neatly and generally process the world around her. Homework was a shouting and crying match. All of these have improved in-fact I asked her today what is 6 times 4 and she immediately said 24. Then her sister said ‘I don’t know what 7 times 7 is and again the child immediately said 49!
She is getting the homework done in 15 minutes, is volunteering to read out loud, asks her Mum to go over her spellings as she is now getting them all right. She is also retaining the spellings from the week before.
Mum said “She is just happier and more contented. Her confidence is up and she is no longer frustrated – the atmosphere in the house has totally changed”.
Her sister said “She shares better when she’s playing with me”.
My son James is 13 years old and has Aspergers Syndrome and Dyslexia. James started The Learning Breakthrough Programme (now Performance Breakthrough) on 7th May 2012.
Before James started the programme he found it very hard to focus on anything, especially activities relating to school. He was always getting himself into trouble by shouting out, fidgeting and distracting others in class. His writing was unreadable, he didn’t leave spaces between each word so his written work looked like a lot of letters on a page. At home there was a lot of shouting as we constantly had to repeat instructions to James like, “Wash your teeth,” or, “Don’t walk on your tip toes .” Since starting the programme, James’ reading has gotten better and he will actually pick up a book and read quietly to himself. He has not had any negative remarks in his homework dairy since starting his new school. His homework diary used to be full of negative remarks, so many that some days he had no room to write his homework in and his writing is also getting better. Home life is happier too.
When I met Susan for the first time, she was so confident that this programme would fix my son’s problems. I must admit, I was secretly saying under my breath, “You could tell me anything and I would want to believe you.” Realistically, however, I didn’t and couldn’t believe her because we had tried a lot of things for my son and none of them had worked for him. The reason we decided to go ahead and try this programme, was firstly because Susan was so convincing, and secondly because we would go to the ends of the earth to give our son a future. I thank God every day that Susan came into our son’s life, as James now has a future.
If anyone is thinking of starting their son or daughter on The Learning Breakthrough Programme, my advice is, don’t think about it, just do it. Neither you or your child will look back because the only way is forward.
A very grateful parent,
Susan Mc Keown
As a result of behavioural problems Daniel experienced during his Nursery year he was referred to Community Paediatrics and was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder shortly after starting P1. Daniel has remained in mainstream education and has a classroom assistant.
We started Daniel on the Learning Breakthrough Programme (LBP – now Performance Breakthrough) in the summer holidays between P3 and P4 and in the hope that the exercises would have a calming effect on him and improve his behaviour and ability to focus both in his home life and at school.
Within a couple of weeks of starting the LBP Daniel was noticeably calmer during the day and was settling down to sleep at night much more easily.
On Daniel’s return to school in September we saw a wonderful improvement in his handwriting. He was also significantly more settled in class.
Daniel is a bright child and in his first three years of primary school he excelled at numeracy but found literacy more challenging. He would have great ideas about what to write but struggled to get his thoughts down on paper. He was very interested in books and loved being read to but struggled to read himself. As P4, and the LBP, progressed so did Daniel’s ability to read and write and by the end of P4 his literacy had caught up with his numeracy. It’s now hard to get Daniel to put a book down!
The LBP has been a very positive experience for Daniel and for the rest of the family. We have all benefited from the calmer, more contented child that Daniel has become.
Stuart was an intelligent, well behaved little boy. When he was in P6, aged 10, he was diagnosed Dyslexic and his parents gave him all the help they could find.
As an adult, Stuart is very frustrated by his Dyslexia. He doesn’t like reading out loud and still can’t sound out words to spell them. He feels that his grammar is poor. His confidence is low. All his life he has found it hard to get to sleep and feels like he is constantly ‘on the go’.
Stuart started the programme on the 13th July 2010. He had felt as if he was actually getting worse as he got older and he had started to stutter, something that he could not hide from friends and colleagues at work.
When I met up with him after 3 weeks of starting the Learning Breakthrough Programme, Stuart noticed that he was more organised within himself and had stopped ‘putting everything off until tomorrow’.
At the 6 week stage, the stuttering had stopped, he was no longer lying awake, not able to sleep, he is more motivated and his confidence has increased.
Stuart feels that he is no longer ‘running like a motor’. He is therefore able to think more clearly and be more organised in everyday life.
He has now started the next series of exercises and I will update the website with Stuart’s progress as he continues on his journey.
10th January 2011 – Stuart has now been on the Learning Breakthrough Programme for nearly 6 months. He has noticed an amazing difference in his ability to spell words that he previously struggled with. He has found that he can retain what he has learnt and uses much less mental effort to complete tasks that he previously had difficulty with.
During his 6 monthly review, I noticed that Stuart was much more talkative and confident about what he was saying. He was able to talk about events in sequence and was generally more relaxed and happy now that he can see that the programme is really working for him.
Stuart’s Mum stated that; “He is now much more relaxed/calm in that he is not anywhere near as restless as he was. Stuart can now watch television without constantly moving about, talking and generally being distracted.”
Stuart is amazed at his own progress, stating ‘it’s unbelievable’. Of course it’s not unbelievable to me as I know that he has diligently completed his exercises every day and is seeing the results of his effort.
June 2011 update – Stuart can now talk to others freely about his experience and can now state ‘When I WAS Dyslexic’.
Brendan would be very repetitive in his speech continually asking what he is doing next and where he is going – as if his brain is running ahead of him.
Brendan started on the Learning Breakthrough programme (now Performance Breakthrough) just over a month ago with Susan and I adapting the exercises to meet our four year old’s capabilities. My Husband and I have noticed he is a lot more calmer, he is not as repetitive in his speech and seems happier
He is now saying a few nursery rhymes from start to finish (maybe missing just 1 or 2 words) which he had not been able to do before starting the programme. His attention has improved and he will now watch a short DVD. He is also now beginning to be more imaginative when playing with his toys and will say sorry when he knows he has been a bit bold.
Brendan wants to do the exercises each day which is a big plus so fingers crossed for a bright future.
Geraldine (Brendan’s Mum)
Update on Brendan – 16th June 2011
Brendan took part in sports day. He was one of the few who didn’t drop the egg in the egg and spoon race and kept a bean bag on his head in a walking race. His teachers are noticing and telling his Mum how calm he now is and I was able to understand every word when he spoke to me on the phone recently.
Ashleigh is a very well behaved, articulate, confident, bright and sociable child but when it came to reading, writing and spelling all these qualities seemed to disappear. We as parents began to notice that something was starting to go wrong for Ashleigh at school around the end of P2. Looking back, we didn’t know why or what the problem was.
The teachers at the school recorded on Ashleigh’s report, on numerous occasions during her Primary School years, that she lacked concentration, day-dreamed and the grades she received each year were gradually getting worse. We all dreaded the homework. On many occasions when Ashleigh was completing homework she got herself into inconsolable states, crying and hitting her head off the edge of the table and continuously muttering that she was stupid. We found this painful to watch but nothing could be done to help Ashleigh’s poor self-esteem.
We felt that during Ashleigh’s Primary School years she somehow got lost or forgotten and was failed by the education system. This was when we decided to take things into our own hands.
Since meeting Susan and introducing Ashleigh to the Learning Breakthrough Programme (now Performance Breakthrough) our lives have changed. Ashleigh has been on the programme for just over 6 months now and she has quickly skyrocketed at school. She has made the transition from Primary to Post Primary school effortlessly. She is experienceing being top in her class in all her subjects (a first). She organises her homework diary and completes her homework well within the time, independently and with ease (no more tears).
Susan has been our ‘Guardian Angel’ and we are so thankful for her guidance and support during our journey and we look forward to watching Ashleigh grow up to fulfil her full potential (a goal that every child should be afforded)
As written by Asheigh’s Mum and Dad.
June 2011 update
Ashleigh’s reading scores have risen 3 years and 3 months since September 2010!!!! She was top of her class in every subject except English, in which she still scored well above average.