April 2019

“As a parent of an 8 year old boy with Down’s Syndrome and Autism, I was struggling to help him understand and interact with the world around him. His comprehension of concepts such as time and space was absent. He didn’t understand about the danger of roads for example or the need to follow daily routines for leaving the house in the morning.

Life for him was difficult and constantly challenging.

I was introduced to The Feuerstein Method through Vanessa Nichols and Breakthrough Learning. I trained in Basic 1 Mediation and have worked with my son using the Mediation Instruments.  Henry has flourished since we embarked on this path. He has become much more able to understand concepts we all use all the time and can understand now later, today and tomorrow. This understanding has removed much anxiety for him and others. He is keen to develop his speech and is much more emotionally confident and capable following the Understanding Emotions Instrument. We have adjusted the way we parent as a result and use a mediation approach in many of our interactions with him. I whole heartedly recommend the Mediation approach for helping all children with cognitive difficulties. It’s a life line to the world around them which is otherwise difficult to reach.”

Parent of a child with Down’s Syndrome and ASD

April 2019

“Breakthrough Learning supports several children at Daneshill school through an individual mediated approach. These children have different needs and are taught strategies to help them cope with day to day challenges that would otherwise overwhelm them. Children are able to concentrate better, become more independent and develop social skills that are otherwise difficult for them. Breakthrough learning gives them the skills that they need for a successful school life and beyond. Breakthrough Learning supports Daneshill in its ethos that education should support all of the children’s needs so that they can grow to be well rounded and successful adults.“

Daneshill School

April 2019

“Breakthrough Learning has been working weekly with my daughter for around a year. My 10 year old daughter is autistic, and struggles with social interactions, controlling her emotions and understanding other people. Historically  she has had problems concentrating in lessons and had ‘tics’ – whistling, kicking and tapping which were disruptive to both herself and the rest of the class.

The interventions take place in school time with engagement from the school  and the SENCO. The school have noticed a marked improvement in her behaviour and general courtesy and manners. Her awareness of other people has improved considerably as have her interactions with friends and family. She does still struggle in some situations but is gradually learning strategies to control her emotions.  The tics have mostly disappeared and only appear at times of extreme stress or excitement – which has made the classroom situation much easier.

Having sat in on sessions as an observer, I began to see how the interventions were working. The technique forces the child to make the step by step connections between different situations and outcomes. This allows them to ‘break down’ difficult or confusing situations, understand the problem  and generate strategies to deal with them. With my daughter this has been applied to her specific areas of difficulty – emotional intelligence, understanding her own moods and behaviour. I can see that she now will sometimes ask for time to think about an answer when she is struggling, or will ask another question to try to break it down for herself. I try to use this technique with her also, which has aided our communication immensely. There is still a long way to go and she is unlikely to ever be ‘neurotypical’, but the Feuerstein technique is demonstrably improving the quality of her day to day life and will hopefully equip her better to cope with the world as an adult.”

Parent of a child with autism


"Thank you very much for a very positive intervention. I have noticed some improvement in concentration, definite positive response to strategies to "unblock" him and get passed "no" and improvements in sleeping patterns. He has become more independent by starting to dress himself and occasional imaginative play. I've also become more patient with him."

Parent of a child with Down's Syndrome

August 2017

"Using Mediated Learning is not a quick fix solution, it is a way of life! It takes time and perseverance but the outcomes bring hope and joy."


June 2017

"Breakthrough Learning has made such a tremendous impact on how much our daughter enjoys learning and her accomplishments to be part of an inclusive classroom. We have been given creative ways to work with her that gave her a confidence and joy in learning. Vanessa successfully navigates ways for the teacher, child and us parents to work together in helping our daughter succeed. We would like to express our thanks to Vanessa for her help to our daughter and our family and that we are able to see a brighter future for her."

Parents of a daughter with Down's Syndrome