Struggling in School

By Lara Shane

“Time for school!”  What happens in your household when you call this out from the front door?  Do your kids come bounding down the stairs full of energy, backpacks flying?  Or do you have to repeat it a few times, a bit louder each time, before they finally emerge, grumbling the whole way out the door? No matter how your kids feel about school, we still send them, hoping they like their teachers, enjoy their classes, make some friends, and maybe even learn something!  And, for the most part, when they come home, they will tell you their school day was “Fine.”

But not all kids are able to navigate a typical school day.  “My son, Bryan, struggled in school from the start.  He refused to read and would cry often.  He also did not handle transitions well, becoming so frustrated moving from one class to the other,” his mother explains.  “He was behind his peers socially, emotionally and academically.  We decided to have him repeat kindergarten and knew we needed to find help over the summer before the next school year.”

Whenever there is a child struggling in school, odds are there are parents struggling to find the most effective help for that child.  Bryan’s mom goes on to say, “I sought help from our pediatrician who diagnosed him with dyslexia.  I spoke to other moms to learn what they were doing. The whole process became overwhelming and confusing.  I knew I did not want to medicate Bryan but I was having trouble finding the right help for him.”

Maybe what Bryan was going though sounds more like what your child is experiencing.  Until recently, if your child was having learning issues or was behind developmentally or socially, your choices were to medicate him, obtain accommodations at school, pay for special tutoring and in general, just learn to deal with it. But, there are other options.

Bryan began therapy with Brain Harmony in June 2016, which included a listening program called iLs (Integrated Listening Systems).  “I can’t believe the difference in my child after just a few months,” says Bryan’s mom. iLs is based on the fact that we can change our brain – we can essentially rewire it through specific and repeated stimulation, a concept known as neuroplasticity. As in building strength and endurance with physical exercise, we can build neurological pathways and synaptic activity at any age.

Before and after ILS:


The program starts off with music and movement. The exercises start off simple but become more challenging with time. These exercises work on hand/eye coordination, balance, attention, and auditory processing abilities. Later, the program incorporates language and cognitive skills. Most iLs Programs are 30-60 minutes in length to be performed 2-5 times per week over a 2-6 month period.  “Now Bryan loves to read and write and he can’t wait to go to school in the morning.  He moved from having trouble keeping up to the head of the class.

Bryan’s therapist and co-owner of Brain Harmony, Carol Garner-Houston, goes on to say, “Bryan’s outcomes are not unusual. One hundred percent of the children we work with make multi-year gains in just a few months with the addition of iLs into our therapy practice.”

Accessibility to care is a major problem for families not just on the Emerald Coast but nationwide and worldwide.  When Carol moved to the Emerald Coast in 2005, the only type of therapy available to children in Santa Rosa Beach was in a hospital. And even then, intervention was laborious and lengthy with minimal results.

Technology is making it possible for the science behind the results to reach anyone who needs it. “If you can’t get to us, we will come to you,” explains Carol. “We will ship the modalities and train parents through video conferencing. This also allows therapy to be more affordable.  We know our program works; now our mission is to make it accessible to everyone.”

Rosemary was in kindergarten when her mother found Brain Harmony.  She had a speech impediment which made her hard to understand.  Rosemary’s mother was devastated when her teacher told her that her daughter was not going to pass and that she would have to be retained in pre-kindergarten.

Rosemary began the home program at the start of the school year.  A Brain Harmony therapist had weekly video conferences with Rosemary’s mother.  “We created a custom listening program for her and coached Mom on how to incorporate listening into their lives. We coached Mom through behavioral issues at home and school.”

A District Discovery Assessment was completed before Rosemary’s Brain Harmony Home Program and then at the end of the school year.  Rosemary made tremendous gains in math and reading after four months of the home program.

At the start of the school year, although Rosemary ranked equal to other children in her grade throughout the school district, she was behind other children in her school. At the end of four months, Rosemary’s scores were exceedingly above the district and school’s average in math and reading.

Below - after 4 months:



We are proud of the results we are seeing and even prouder of the success our children are having.  “I truly have the best job in the world.  Imagine coming to work everyday watching children who used to struggle blossom!”

To learn more about how iLs can help your child, visit Brain Harmony at or call 888-BRAIN-50 or 888-272-4650.


Located locally in South Walton, Fort Walton, Crestview and Niceville