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‘A totally different kid’


After facing medical challenges as an infant, Harvey Starin is making huge strides.

As he approaches his second birthday, Harvey Starin is getting closer to taking his first steps.

Every time he toddles across the room, holding on to his parents’ outstretched hands, his face lights up with a big smile.

“He’s so proud of himself,” said his mother, Laura Starin.

Harvey has come a long way in the last year. When he began receiving Early Intervention services from the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD)  in December 2016, he barely had the strength to get off the floor, let alone sit up or crawl.

“He’s a totally different kid than when I started working with him,” said LCBDD physical therapist Annie Green.

Harvey, of Newark, was a happy, healthy baby for the first six weeks, but then he became seriously ill. By the time he was 10-weeks-old, doctors had diagnosed him with liver failure.

Harvey had developed biliary atresia, a rare disease that causes the bile ducts of infants to fail. A surgery to try to save Harvey’s liver was unsuccessful and it became clear that a liver transplant was the only thing that would save his life.

When Harvey’s parents, Laura and Kurtis, were unable to be donors, a family friend from Columbus stepped up to be a living donor. Harvey received the left lobe of her liver in a successful transplant when he was seven months old.

Despite being ill and spending months fighting to stay alive, Harvey was a very happy baby, Laura said. But being almost constantly bedridden in the hospital, and having intensive abdominal surgery had taken its toll.

“His abdominal muscles had been destroyed, he couldn’t even roll over,” Laura said. “He had very little motivation to move. He was pretty happy and content to stay still.”

A childhood friend of Laura’s told her about LCBDD’s Early Intervention services and the Starins were able to get connected.

Early Intervention provides in-home services for children birth to age 3 with a developmental delay, disability or a medical condition likely to result in a delay.  Services are provided at no cost to Licking County families.

Since he began receiving physical therapy and speech therapy, Harvey has come a long way, Laura said.

“I’m just so excited to see him hitting his milestones,” she said. “I’m just so excited to be able to see him grow up and have a future.”

Laura and Kurtis are looking forward to seeing Harvey walking and communicating with his older sister Alice and the other children in his daycare class.

Because Laura and Kurtis work in Columbus, Annie not only visits with Harvey in the evenings when they are home from work, but also has gone to his daycare to provider services there.

“The flexibility in scheduling has been very good for our family,” Kurtis said.  “Being able to do it in the home is very beneficial. The kids are more comfortable and they are more apt to learn and participate.”

Having a program that is accessible, regardless of a family’s financial situation, has been huge, Laura said. LCBDD has also been able to connect them with community resources, such as the Licking County Family YMCA and The Works, which have helped the whole family spend time together and be healthier.

After all the struggles their son faced in the first seven months of his life, having a supportive team from LCBDD to help him develop and grow has made a big difference.

“They are always very positive,” Kurtis said. “They are optimistic as well as professional.”

For more information about Early Intervention, go to lcountydd.org/early-childhood/.




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