Drop-in Advice and Support Groups

 

 

Face-to-face advice for parents and carers

Autism Berkshire provides drop-in advice sessions or support groups for parents and carers of children and young people with autism, or whose children are waiting for an autism assessment, in Reading, Bracknell, Slough, Thatcham and Windsor.

Free drop-in advice sessions are held every week during school terms in Reading and Slough, plus the first Friday of every month at the Swings and Smiles coffee mornings in Thatcham, where our team will be happy to answer autism-related questions and talk about local support services for individuals and families living with autism.

Support group meetings in Bracknell, Slough and Windsor are free of charge, friendly and informal, with tea, coffee and biscuits provided, and give those attending the chance to talk, share experiences and learn new strategies in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

Visiting speakers will talk about topics relevant to parents and carers of children and young people on the autism spectrum and answer questions. Subjects covered include managing behaviour, visual support strategies, anxiety, emotions, social stories and benefits advice.

A number of these services are supported by the East Berkshire and Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Scroll down the page for details of what is available in your area.

Reading Drop-in Advice Sessions

These are held every Tuesday between 10.30am and 1.30pm in the Autism Berkshire office at 40 Caversham Road, Reading, RG1 7EB. These sessions are open to people living in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire. Click here for details of car parking and public transport.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: June 19, June 26, July 3, July 10, July 17.

For more information, call 01189 594 594 or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk

Please note that we are unable to offer advice about benefits at this drop-in session. Benefits advice is only available by appointment. Click here for more information about our benefits service and how to make an appointment.

Slough Drop-in Advice Sessions

These are held every Wednesday during school terms between 10am and 2pm at the YES Shop, Unit 61, Queensmere Shopping Centre, Slough, SL1 1LN. These sessions are open to people living in Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11, July 18.

For more information, call 01189 594 594 or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk

  • Advice about benefits for autistic people and their families is also available in Slough every Wednesday, but this is on an appointment-only basis. Click here for more information about our benefits service and how to make an appointment.

Bracknell Support Group

The group’s meetings are held during school terms on a Monday between 9.30am and 11.30am at Forest Park Community Centre, Horndean Road, Forest Park, Bracknell, RG12 0XQ. Gemma Coventry is the coordinator of this group.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2018: June 18 – the guest speaker at this meeting will be from Bracknell Forest SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service).

For more information about the group, call 01189 594 594 or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk

Slough Support Group

The group’s meetings are held during school terms on Fridays, between 10am and noon, at the YES Shop, which is unit 61 in the Queensmere Shopping Centre, in High Street, Slough, SL1 2TW. Clare Johnson-Alem is the coordinator of this group.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2018: June 29, September 14.

For more information about the group, call 01189 594 594 or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk

Windsor Support Group

The group’s meetings are held during school terms on Tuesdays, between 10am and noon at Windsor Youth and Community Centre, Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD. Sharon Fallows is the coordinator of this group.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2018: September 25 – the guest speaker at this meeting will be occupational therapist Sharon Wignall.

For more information about the group, call 01189 594 594 or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk

West Berkshire Drop-in Advice and Support Groups

Our local Home Visit Support Worker, Amanda Walker, attends the monthly coffee mornings run by Swings and Smiles in Thatcham to offer drop-in advice to parents and carers and answer questions about autism, our services and the workshops we run.

Swings and Smiles

Swings and Smiles is a charity based in Thatcham, which supports families of children with special needs, including autism, and provides purpose-built play facilities.

It hosts a monthly coffee morning for parents, giving them the chance to chat and share advice and information.

These are held at the charity’s base at A Place to Play, in Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3RR, on the first Friday morning of each month between 9.30am and 11am. 

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: July 6.

Meetings are free of charge. Children are welcome.

For more information about all Swings and Smiles’ services, including the coffee morning, email office@swingsandsmiles.co.uk, call 01635 285170 or visit their website.

Parents and carers of children with autism living in West Berkshire can also find advice and support at these other groups in the area:

Advice and a Slice

This group is run by Hungerford and Area Family Centre for parents and carers of children with additional needs, including autism, whether they have a diagnosis or not.

Meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month during school terms at the Family Centre, in The Croft, Hungerford, RG17 0HY, between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: June 14, July 12.

Meetings cost £1 per family, including refreshments. Pre-school children are welcome.

They are run on a drop-in basis, with no need to book, and offer the chance to talk and share experiences and advice.

For more information about Advice and A Slice, email office@hungerfordnursery.w-berks.sch.uk or call 01488 682628.

Sunshine and Showers

These groups are run by West Berkshire Council for parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum.

Meetings in Tilehurst are held at Downsway Primary School, in Warbreck Drive, on Thursday mornings between 9.15am and 11.15am.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: July 12.

Meetings in Thatcham are held at the West Berkshire Central Family Wellbeing Hub, in Park Lane, on Thursday mornings between 9.30am and 11.30am.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2018: July 5.

The meeting in Thatcham on May 17 will include a talk about funding and Education Health & Care (EHCP) Plans.

Meetings cost £1 per family, including refreshments. Children are welcome.

Melissa Hutchings, the council’s Autism Advisor for Families, will be available to answer autism-related questions.

Guest speakers attend some meetings to talk about topics relevant to parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum.

For more information about the groups, email melissa.hutchings@westberks.gov.uk or call Melissa Hutchings on 01635 503651.