Profile: Off the Vent and Yearning to Learn (Brent Kurtz)

by Margaret Wahl on May 31, 2001 - 5:00pm

Brent Kurtz's story was told in "High-Tech Babies, Hands-On Coping," (Quest, February 2000).

Brent Kurtz, 2001Brent Kurtz today

Brent, who has nemaline myopathy, won't be 3 until October, but he's already going to school, through an Ohio-based early intervention program.

The son of Doug and Tina Kurtz of Dayton, Ohio, he's able to be off the ventilator while he's awake and is getting occupational, physical and speech therapies as part of his school day.

He's also learning sign language so his communication skills won't suffer while he catches up on speaking. "Tina and I feel he's just like a sponge now," his father says of Brent's new rapid learning phase.

Tina continues to work as a high school social studies teacher and cheerleading coach. Doug, who stayed home with Brent during his first year, now works part-time. In July, he plans to start nursing school.

The Kurtzes have nursing care for Brent 18-and-a-half hours a day and have him to themselves in the evening. Doug and Tina recently took students from her school on a three-day trip to Washington. The trip took three months of planning, but was worth it.

"Parents need that time to get away and recharge their batteries," Doug says

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