When Devi Renkuntla’s son, Ram, was born premature, at 25 weeks, with an intraocular brain haemorrhage, she was scared. She wasn’t sure what to do or where to turn. “I was in hospital with Ram for 103 days,” she said. “The brain haemorrhage left his left hand and left leg weak.”
Thankfully, Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital talked to Devi and educated her about the NDIS. Devi then met with a planner who assured her not to worry, there were many great services she could turn to for support.
The planner connected Devi with Kudos, a South Australian Early Intervention Early Childhood (ECEI) provider. It meant she could get Ram into an array of therapies he needed, which, now at six, he still gets to this day.
Devi said working with Kudos St Mary's has been such a blessing. The continuity of supports – the speech, occupational, physio and hydro therapies and the orthotics – have all been really beneficial for Ram, and he has surpassed all their expectations.
“Now I see a vastly different boy from before,” Devi said. “He is talking, walking. He is such a happy, active boy. He loves school. He even wants to go on weekends!” she said with a laugh.
“Now he is achieving all his goals. I can’t imagine what life would have been like without the NDIS.”
Devi said, for her as a mother, she felt well supported throughout their unanticipated journey.
“Staff have always worked closely with us to make sure all of Ram’s support needs are met, he is achieving and I am confident in navigating the NDIS process. They have become like family. I know if I have any issues, they are always there to turn to.”
Devi said Ram’s birth was quite unexpected, and having migrated from India her family were all overseas so they had to rely on a small friend network and their NDIS ECEI team.
“We are just so grateful for all the support we have been able to get and the difference it has made to Ram’s life and to his future,” Devi said.
“In India, if you have a child with disability it is very hard. You do not have much support. In Australia, we look at a person’s abilities, not their disabilities. We understand some people may do things a little differently to others but it is okay,” she said.
Wanting to share her experience, and help to other Indian mothers living in Australia, with children with disability, Devi has shared her phone number with all of Ram’s previous therapists.
“If they call me I can help explain to them Ram has been using these services for years, it’s been really beneficial.
“It’s my way of giving back for all the life-changing support we have been able to get!” Devi said