Coronavirus: Support from Autism Berkshire

Get help from our family support team over the summer holiday period

Autism Berkshire’s family support workers are still available to help autistic people and their families in July and August.

Our Helpline service will be available throughout the summer to provide advice about autism and related matters, including challenging behaviour, food refusal and sleep, and signposting to specialist support services for issues including education and schools.

We will also be offering Virtual Home Visits, by video link, to provide in-depth advice on a one-to-one basis.

If you need advice at any time, or would like to request a Virtual Home Visit with one of our family support workers, you can contact us in the following ways – please make sure to include your email address and a phone number in your message:

Please note that as our team are working from home, we may not be able to reply immediately, but will respond to all enquiries as soon as we can. Phone calls will come from mobile phone numbers rather than our office, so please answer even if it is an unfamiliar number.

  • We have been running Online Autism Advice Workshops by video link since April about topics including Meeting Sensory Needs, Emotional Self-Regulation, Managing Anger and a brand-new one looking at Food Refusal in Autistic Children. These will be taking a break over the summer holiday period, but we may still run a workshop if there is sufficient interest in a particular topic from parents and carers.

Benefits Service

Benefits advice is still available for autistic people living in Berkshire and their parents and carers by email, phone and video link, along with some free online Understanding Your Benefits Rights workshops.

Further free online workshops about applying for benefits will take place from September. Details will be posted here once arrangements are confirmed.

Email benefits@autismberkshire.org.uk or call 01189 594 594 (option 2) and leave a voicemail message if you need advice about benefit applications, mandatory reconsiderations and appeals or our workshops. Remember to include your contact details. One of our advisers will get in touch to help you. Click here for more details of the Benefits Service.

Bear With Me social group

Members of our Bear With Me group for autistic adults in Maidenhead can take part in online video sessions on Wednesday evenings and get advice and information by phone, while the weekly meetings at the Bear pub are suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The online sessions are on Wednesday evenings, starting at 7pm. All members of the group have been invited to join in and will get updates about what activities are coming up for future sessions. To take part, they should email helen@autismberkshire.org.uk

Helen and Scott are available to talk to members by telephone every Wednesday evening between 6.30pm and 7pm on the following numbers:

  • Helen: 07923 910108
  • Scott: 07923 910100

Group members can also get in touch with Helen by email at – helen@autismberkshire.org.uk

197 Club social group

Members of our 197 Club for autistic adults in Reading can take part in online video sessions on Monday evenings and get advice while the fortnightly meetings at pubs and restaurants in the town remain suspended.

The first session online will start at 7pm on Monday, July 6. All members are welcome to join in. To take part they should email Kevin Jackson at 197club@autismberkshire.org.uk to request a log-in link.

Face Covering exemption card

While face masks are mandatory when you are in shops or using public transport, the Government has allowed a number of exemptions to this rule – notably for children aged under 11 and for those who find wearing a face covering difficult due to a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability. Click here for the full Government guidance.

University of Reading graphic communication graduate Eden Sinclair has designed a Face Covering exemption card for us that you can print and show when you are shopping or using a bus or train, if anyone asks why you do not have a mask.

Click here to download the card.

Top tips for autistic and ADHD children returning to school

Autism Berkshire and fellow Berkshire charities Parenting Special Children and The Autism Group have teamed up with the East Berkshire and Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to create a list of top tips for parents and carers of autistic children and children with ADHD to help them get ready for the expected return to school in September.

  • Click here to download the East Berkshire version
  • Click here to download the Berkshire West version

Useful links

We are posting regular updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages and have compiled helpful links on a range of topics in two special coronavirus pages on this website.

Click here for advice and information for parents and carers.

Click here for lots of online and offline activities for children and families.

  • We would like to thank Berkshire Community Foundation for helping with the costs of adapting and running these services with a grant from their Vital for Berkshire Coronavirus Fund.