Helping Families

IHC has been there for thousands of rural parents over the years. In every community around the country, IHC provides vital support and information during an extremely difficult time for families.

Kerry and Steve live on a dairy farm, in a rural community about an hour out of Nelson, with their three young children. They are Calf & Rural Scheme supporters and have also needed IHC’s help for their daughter Saryn.

Finding out your child has an intellectual disability can turn your whole world upside down.

Imagine the questions that run through a young mother’s or father’s mind.

When little Saryn was born with a fused skull, surgeons had to operate to put a plate in her head to make room for her brain to grow. But when she was 10 months old her mum Kerry suspected something else was wrong. Saryn wasn’t doing the things the other children were doing at that age.

After a huge seizure she went through a battery of tests. Kerry wasn’t expecting to be told Saryn had an intellectual disability. But tests revealed their beautiful little one-year-old had Koolen-de Vries syndrome, a very rare genetic condition that can cause multiple disorders.

“Saryn’s diagnosis turned our lives upside down.

We went through grief and anguish and it took us a couple of years to accept she had it,” says Kerry.

“We didn’t know what to expect, or what the future would hold for Saryn. We were desperate for information and went to the local library, but they didn’t have any. Then I found out about the IHC library and that has turned out to be a fantastic resource for us. They sent us a pack of information that explained about the things Saryn would struggle with and how we could help her.”

Saryn can only say a few words and uses sign language to communicate. She often learns new things from her brothers. “The boys play with her a lot and, without knowing it, teach her things,” Kerry says. “They’ve been helping her get her shoes on and off and now she can do it for herself. She watches what they do and copies them.”

Kerry doesn’t know what the future will hold for Saryn, but she and Steve want to give her as many opportunities as they possibly can.

“We want her to live a fulfilled, rich life. With IHC’s help we know she can do this.”


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