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​Corin Wiscombe

photo of corin wiscombe playing lego with his dadCorin Wiscombe is an eight-year-old boy whose life has been transformed by a very special relationship.

Corin lives in Kirkcaldy, Fife, with mum Liz, dad Billy, and five sisters, and attends Rosslyn School. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

When Corin was aged five, Liz embarked on an internet search for support services which would open up new opportunities for Corin and allow her and her husband to devote more time to their other children.
The family’s doctor gave her a leaflet about ENABLE Scotland, which signposted her towards the Lend a Hand project.

Since October 2012, Corin has been linked to short break carers Louise and Sam Foster through Lend a Hand.

Initially, he enjoyed day visits with the couple once a month and, from May 2013, this developed into overnight stays. 

Explained Liz: “Having managed on our own since Corin was diagnosed, things were becoming a bit much. As Corin was getting older, more behavioural challenges developed. He gets more frustrated and has more meltdowns. He was facing more new things and was finding it difficult to adapt to unfamiliar environments.

“We couldn’t take him out much because it completely stressed him. That’s hard when you have so many kids because there is barely any flexibility about what you can do and when as a family.”

Liz continued: “Our older girls, Ashley and Gayner, cope with it quite well. We explained everything about Corin’s condition, and they researched in online and are well-informed. Our third daughter, Laura, is great with him too. She just accepts Corin as her ‘special brother’. The younger ones probably don’t think much about it one way or another!”

One of Corin’s sisters, Zahra, has recently also been diagnosed with autism – so his overnight stays with Louise and Sam allow his parents to focus on her and her sisters.

“I received a call about contract carers who may be suitable for Corin: Sam and Louise. We met them a few times at their house and ours. At first, Corin went for day visits and decided almost straight away that he wanted to stay with them! It was such a great match. He took to them very quickly. Now he stays with them overnight once a month,” explained Liz.

“Sam is just so laid back, which is how Corin needs someone to be and Louise is absolutely brilliant with him. Soon after they met Corin, his dad and I, together with Sam and Louise, took him to Ravenscraig Park, and he wasn’t interested in us being there at all! He was more excited about having fun with them, which made me feel comfortable and confident that things were going to work out well. I wanted him to be as settled as he could be.” 

Sam and Louise take Corin to the park, the beach and to soft play areas - and they’ve taken him to the Bo’ness model railway. Whichever the destination, they always ensure he has lots of fun.

Because Corin loves to take pictures, the couple also bought him a memory card for their camera. Liz says her boy gets so excited when he knows he’s going to stay with them, and the minute they arrive, he is itching to get in the car.

“The impact on Corin has been great,” says Liz. “He’s a bit more laid-back and accepts new things more easily. He’s less frustrated and looks forward to doing things rather than dreading them. Sam and Louise have seen a lot of progress with his confidence and he’s trying new things like climbing up on the frames at the park instead of just watching other kids do it.

“He’s becoming more independent. He’s also doing really well at school. His language has come on leaps and bounds and he’s meeting all his targets. He is getting out and about and can adapt to different situations more easily. We can actually take him shopping now and we couldn’t have done that before because it just overloaded him.”

Corin’s parents say his sisters can now invite friends home without worrying that his behaviour may become challenging. The experience has given the whole family more freedom.

“For his dad and me, it’s a chance to have a break. But at the same time, we don’t have to feel bad about that because we know he is happy and having fun with Louise and Sam, and that means a lot to us. It’s benefitting him as much as us.

“We’re so happy with how things are going. There are plans for Louise and Sam to extend Corin’s stays to a full weekend, which he will love. As a family, we take things one day at a time - and all we really hope is for him to be happy.” 

Corin now stays two overnights once per month with Louise and Sam.  Friday evening through to late Sunday morning.  

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