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Meet Brock, our 2016 Ambassador

On June 20, 2012, the Kurtz/Bassett family was blessed with its newest family member, Brock Easton Bassett. Brock was a happy, healthy baby boy delivered via a scheduled C-section.

“Brock was a great baby with no concerns other than a diagnosis of rotavirus at 9 months old,” said Jen Kurtz, Brock’s mom. “Brock recovered quickly from this and began walking and doing his best to keep up with his brother and sister shortly after.”

As the months went on, Brock became very needy. He would point to something he wanted and try to say it in his own vocabulary. If you didn’t understand him, he would get very frustrated and would start throwing fits. Jen did her best to keep Brock happy, not even realizing or thinking something wasn’t right.

In March of 2014, Jen took her 3-year-old Lane to get screened for preschool at Lincoln School in Oglesby. The office and preschool staff knew the family well as big sister, Kendal, already attended preschool there. While at the screening, Brock, who was 19 months old, started throwing a fit as Jen tried to fill out some paperwork. The preschool coordinator, Sue, suggested that Brock could be screened that day as well. Jen was surprised as she didn’t realize that at 19 months old Brock could be screened. The screening determined that Brock had a speech delay and needed early intervention services including developmental and speech therapy.

“I had no idea what these services were and how it could help my son’s tantrums. I wondered if I was a bad mom for not realizing he needed help sooner,” said Jen. Like many parents, Jen had no idea that there was an organization here in the area that could help with something like this or that her son needed help.

Ms. Kelly was Brock’s developmental therapist and she worked with him twice a week. Ms. Maria, his speech therapist, would see him once a week. Brock also attended Ms. Kelly’s 2-year-old toddler class that she taught two days a week. Jen was very thankful for all the help Brock was getting and hoped that because of this, Brock would be caught up by the time he entered preschool.

“Jen is an amazing mom and worked with us closely. She helped reinforce all that he was learning,” said Kelly Bault, Brock’s developmental therapist. “Jen’s involvement and hard work made a huge difference in his progress.”

When Brock’s therapy sessions began in June of 2014, Brock's progression was initially very slow going. Around September of 2014, Brock started going to Ms. Kelly’s toddler class, and he loved attending his “school.” His speech came slow, but it was increasing. He only had a few tantrums at school, but Ms. Kelly was able to stop them fast. As his speech was increasing, his tantrums overall were lessening. In April of 2015, Brock was accepted into the public school preschool program, but Ms. Kelly was able to keep him in her toddler class after he turned 3 since he had a summer birthday. This allowed him to continue therapies until school started.

Today Brock loves school and playing with his friends. His speech has improved greatly, and he loves to show his family what he did in class and share his stories from school.

“Brock’s teacher recently told me that if they were to evaluate him for preschool now, he would not qualify because he would no longer be considered developmentally delayed,” said Jen.

The Kurtz/Bassett family is so thankful to Starved Rock Regional Center for Therapy and Child Development (SRRC) and everyone involved with Brock’s progress. He has excelled so much and is a happier preschooler because of it.

“Brock is an example of what a difference early intervention can make,” said Paula Williamson, director of therapy at SRRC. “Children in early intervention have greater than expected growth, in that they acquire skills at a faster rate even after they leave the program. Nearly half of children leave EI functioning at age level, and do not need special education at kindergarten age.”