Support Groups

Parent and Carers Support Groups

Autism Berkshire runs local Support Groups for parents and carers of children and young people with autism in Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Slough and Windsor.

Meetings 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, social stories and benefits advice.

In West Berkshire we regularly attend support groups for children with autism and additional needs run by other organisations to offer support and advice.

Scroll down the page for details of your local groups.

Reading Support Group

The group’s meetings are held on a monthly basis during school terms on a Friday between 9.30am and 11.30am at Autism Berkshire’s office at Unit 7 Richfield Place, 12 Richfield Avenue, Reading, RG1 8EQ. Tracy White is the coordinator of this group.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2017: December 1.

The meeting on December 1 will be a Christmas lunch at the Toby Carvery Caversham Bridge, just down Richfield Avenue from the Autism Berkshire office.

2018: January 5, February 9, March 9.

The meeting on January 5 will include a look at positive behaviour management.

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

Bracknell Support Group

The group’s meetings are held on a monthly basis 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: January 8, February 26, March 19.

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

Maidenhead Support Group

The group’s meetings are held on a monthly basis during school terms on the last Tuesday of each month, between 10am and noon at Larchfield Children’s Centre, Bargeman Road, Maidenhead, SL6 2SG. Sharon Fallows is the coordinator of this group.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2017: November 28.

The guest speaker at the meeting on November 28 will be Christina Cook, from the Shine team, which supports children with autism aged 4 to 18 in mainstream schools in Windsor & Maidenhead and trains school staff.

2018: January 30, February 27, March 27.

The guest speaker at the meeting on February 27 will be occupational therapist Sharon Wignall.

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

Slough Support Groups

We offer both daytime and evening support group meetings in Slough. Clare Johnson-Alem is the coordinator of both groups.

The daytime group’s meetings are held on a monthly basis during school terms on Fridays, between 10am and noon, at the YES Shop in the Queensmere Shopping Centre, in High Street, Slough, SL1 2TW.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2017: December 8.

2018: January 12, February 9, March 9.

The evening group’s meetings are held on a monthly basis during school terms on the last Monday of each month, between 7pm and 9pm, at the Community Room in Tesco Extra, Wellington Street, Slough, SL1 1XW.

Forthcoming meetings are:

2017: November 27.

2018: January 29, February 26, March 26.

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 on a monthly basis during school terms on the first Tuesday of each month, 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:

2017: December 5.

The guest speaker at the meeting on December 5 will be occupational therapist Sharon Wignall.

2018: February 6, March 6.

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

Grandparents’ Support Group

The group is open to all grandparents living in Berkshire who are the primary carers for grandchildren with autism spectrum conditions. New members are always welcome.

Meetings take place on a monthly basis and lunch is provided.

The next meeting will be a Christmas lunch on Wednesday, December 6, from noon to 2pm, at the Toby Carvery Caversham Bridge, in Richfield Avenue, Reading, just down the road from the Autism Berkshire office.

Help with transport to the meeting may be available. Please contact the office for details.

For more information about the group or to register for meetings, please call the Autism Berkshire office on 01189 594 594 or email tracy@autismberkshire.org.uk.

Craft Group – Reading

This group gives parents and carers an opportunity to socialise, get creative, learn new skills and help Autism Berkshire to raise funds.

Cushions, decorations, lavender bags, candles and other items created by the club’s members are sold at events we attend across Berkshire.

The group meets on Tuesdays during school terms, from 12.45pm to 2.45pm, at the Autism Berkshire office at 7 Richfield Place, Richfield Avenue, Reading, RG1 8EQ.

Forthcoming sessions:

2017: November 28, December 5, December 12.

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

West Berkshire

Autism Berkshire does not run any support groups of our own in West Berkshire, but our local Home Visit Support Worker Amanda Walker regularly attends groups run by other organisations to advise parents and carers and answer questions about autism, our services and the workshops we run in Thatcham and Hungerford.

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 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Forthcoming sessions are:

2017: December 14.

2018: January 11, February 8, March 8.

Meetings cost £1 per family, including refreshments. 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

This group is run by West Berkshire Council for parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum.

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

Forthcoming sessions are:

2017: November 23.

2018: January 25, March 15, May 17, July 5.

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 group, email melissa.hutchings@westberks.gov.uk or call Melissa Hutchings on 01635 503651.

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 A Place to Play, in Lower Way, Thatcham, on the first Friday morning of each month between 9.30am and 11am. 

Forthcoming sessions are:

2017: December 1.

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.