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School Program Helps Teen With Rare Brain Disorder

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HASLET (CBSDFW.COM ) - Kaitlynn Curtner is a musically gifted Haslet teen with a collection of guitars and a voice as good as any recording artist.

But Curtner has to work hard to have harmony in her life. A rare condition caused a cluster of blood vessels to burst in her brain when she was twelve.

Now, at 15, it is a struggle for her to remember even basic information.

"I have to see things multiple times in order for the information to go from short term to long term memory," Curtner said.

The music part of her brain was unaffected, Curtner found she could remember information singing songs over and over.

"Sometimes if I don't remember the materials I need about chemistry I'll write a song about chemical formulas," she said.

School became almost impossible for the teen. She couldn't remember lessons and her grades plummeted; even basic tasks seemed overwhelming.

"It can be very difficult trying to transition from class to class without getting lost," Curtner explained.

But now on school days Curtner sits at a tidy desk in her bedroom in front of a computer.

"Next, determine if the two reactants are in the correct ratio," the instructor said over the computer.

Curtner is attending Grapevine-Colleyville ISD's iUniversity Prep and the instructors' voices are like music to Curtner's ears. It has live classes she can attend from home. But a single, live class is not an effective way of learning for Curtner.

"It's really nice since the live lessons are recoded. I can go back and watch them as many times as I need to," Curtner said with a grin. "And then I can go back to each lesson if the content didn't sink in. It's nice!"

The classes are tuition-free and available to anyone in the state from fifth grade up. The classes are taught by certified instructors. And the repetition allows Curtner to show her rare condition can be overcome.

Her lowest grade is a 97.

"I'm an overachiever so anything less than an A is not okay in my book," Curtner laughed. "I have to work hard for it. But, it's worth it!"

Now Curtner plans on attending college to study music therapy to help bring harmony to other people's lives.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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