Workshops & Courses for Parents and Carers

We offer a range of free autism advice workshops and courses to parents and carers who live in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire, through the Berkshire West Autism & ADHD Support Service, funded by the Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Some are for parents and carers whose children have an autism diagnosis or are on the waiting list for a Berkshire CAMHS autism assessment, while others are also open to parents and carers of children with an ADHD diagnosis, or who are waiting for an assessment. The information they provide is relevant to parents and carers of children of all ages.

  • Please note that NHS funding rules mean we cannot offer places at these workshops to parents and carers living in the Bracknell Forest, Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead areas unless they are registered with a GP surgery that is part of the Berkshire West NHS CCG. Click here for information about our services and other Autism and ADHD support in these three council areas.

The full range of workshops and courses available is as follows (most are being delivered online for the remainder of 2021):

Autism Workshops for Parents and Carers

This programme of evidence-based autism advice workshops, developed by Autism Berkshire’s family support team, provides information and support to the parents and carers of autistic children and young people.

Understanding More About Autism: This single session workshop is for parents and carers who are new to autism or who want to update their existing knowledge. It explores the key elements of autism and introduces the concepts of sensory differences, executive functioning, emotional regulation and masking. It is a great introduction to our range of autism advice workshops. Those attending will receive information to keep for future reference.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • Friday, October 1.

Sensory Differences: This interactive workshop is delivered over two sessions online and looks at the sensory processing differences and difficulties which are thought to affect at least 80% of autistic people. Session 1 looks at how we all react to the sensory world around us and how this might be different for our autistic children. Building on this information, Session 2 looks at things you can do to help your child, and everyone is encouraged to share their own experiences. This workshop is really useful in understanding why our children sometimes behave in ways that surprise or challenge us. Those attending will receive information to keep for future reference.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • Part 1, Friday, October 8; Part 2, Friday, October 15 (10am to 11.30am).

Supporting Behaviour: A two-part interactive online workshop which aims to help parents to identify the reasons behind their child’s behaviour and to understand it as a sign of emotional distress. Session 1 explores different types of physical, verbal and emotional behaviour, and discusses how autistic meltdowns/shutdowns are different to age-appropriate behaviour. In Session 2, we’ll look at the strategies you can use to help your child to feel distressed less often and reduce the impact on the whole family. Parents usually find it helpful to have attended Understanding More About Autism and Sensory Differences before doing this workshop. Those attending will receive information to keep for future reference.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • Part 1, Friday, November 5; Part 2, Friday, November 12 (10am to 11.30am).

For parents and carers of autistic girls aged 5+, we offer:

Autism and Girls

This workshop is led by Berkshire autism advocate Carly Jones MBE. Two of her three daughters are also autistic. Topics she will discuss include the different presentation of autism in girls, the importance of having a diagnosis (finding her tribe), masking and anxiety.

Forthcoming Autism and Girls workshops:

  • Thursday, December 2.

Workshops developed by members of our expert team that are open to parents and carers living in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire whose children have a diagnosis of autism or ADHD, or who are waiting for an assessment, are as follows:

Emotional Regulation

This single-session workshop looks at specific strategies designed to help your child develop their ability to manage their emotional response to challenging situations, and using resources such as Social Stories and Comic Strip Conversations. To gain the most from this workshop we recommend that parents should attend our Supporting Behaviour workshop beforehand. The strategies explored are most suitable for parents of verbal children aged 5 and above.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • Friday, November 26.

Food Refusal

Issues eating a wide range of foods are common in autistic and ADHD children and young people. This workshop discusses the factors that underlie food refusal, some tips to help encourage new food choices and where to get specialist advice and support.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • Friday, November 19.

Workshops about Sleep Difficulties and Transitions to Adulthood are provided for the Berkshire West service by Parenting Special Children. Click here for more details.

EarlyBird Plus and Teen Life courses

We provide National Autistic Society EarlyBird Plus* and Teen Life courses for parents and carers of autistic children aged 5 to 9 and from 10 to 16 who live in Berkshire – these are also open to education professionals who support their children. Please contact us if you are interested in joining a course.

Due to high demand, we are operating a waiting list for Teen Life courses. Let us know if you would like to attend a future course.

  • Our next EarlyBird Plus course will run on Thursday mornings from September 16 until October 21, between 10am and 11.30am.

For more information about any of these workshops and courses and to request free places, complete the online contact form, call 01189 594 594 (option 1) or email contact@autismberkshire.org.uk – please include a daytime telephone member in your message so that our family support workers can contact you.

Most of these workshops and courses are funded by the Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and are available free of charge to parents and carers, along with other advice and support available from the Berkshire West Autism & ADHD Support Service.

*EarlyBird Plus courses, which are also free of charge to parents and carers, are funded by the Gerald Palmer Eling Trust, based at Hermitage, near Newbury.