Workshops for Parents/Carers of Autistic Children & Young People

We offer a range of free online autism advice workshops to parents and carers who live in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire, through the Berkshire West Autism & ADHD Support Service.

These evidence-based workshops, developed by Autism Berkshire’s family support team, provide information and support to the parents and carers of autistic children and young people aged up to 18.

Some are for parents and carers whose children have an autism diagnosis or are on the waiting list for a Berkshire CAMHS autism assessment. Others are also open to parents and carers of children with an ADHD diagnosis, or who are waiting for an assessment.

  • Please note that NHS funding rules mean we can only offer places at these workshops to parents and carers who are registered as patients with a GP surgery that is in the Berkshire West NHS area. Click here for a list of these surgeries.

The full range of online workshops and courses available is as follows – we recommend that parents and carers new to autism attend all three of the workshops about Understanding More About Autism, Sensory Differences and Supporting Behaviour, as the topics covered complement each other:

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:

  • To be advised.

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 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:

  • To be advised.

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:

  • To be advised.

Autism & Girls

This workshop is for parents and carers of autistic girls. Topics covered include the different presentation of autism in girls, navigating the before and after of diagnosis, the importance of having a diagnosis (finding your autistic tribe), masking – a help and a hindrance, and burnout (what it is and how to help). The workshop will be led by autistic advocate and author Sarah O’Brien, whose new book So I’m Autistic: An Introduction to Autism for Young Adults and Late Teens will be published in June.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • To be advised.

Workshops for Parents and Carers of Autistic Teenagers

This programme of four evidence-based autism advice workshops, developed by Autism Berkshire’s family support team, provides tailored information and support for the parents and carers of autistic children and young people aged 11 to 18, whether they have a diagnosis or are waiting for a Berkshire CAMHS assessment, and who are in mainstream education or home-educated and do not have learning disabilities.

We recommend that parents and carers attend all four sessions, as the topics covered complement each other.

Autism & Teenagers: This workshop looks at the challenges of being autistic in adolescence, including maturing behaviour and developing independence, as well as puberty and sexuality.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • To be advised.

Teenagers & Social Situations: This workshop focuses on the social situations autistic teenagers face at school, at home and online. It discusses how to support them to develop an understanding of other people, how to find and make friends, and the part that social media plays in their lives.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • To be advised.

Anxiety in Teenagers: This workshop considers why anxiety is so prevalent in autistic teenagers and the importance of self-esteem and resilience, and looks at strategies to support emotional regulation.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • To be advised.

Autism and Mainstream Secondary Schools: Many autistic teenagers find the mainstream school environment challenging. The workshop looks at the legislation around support at school and the opportunities and limitations of potential support strategies. Parents and carers will be encouraged to share ideas that have helped their child and may help others in similar circumstances.

Forthcoming workshops:

  • To be advised.

Autism & Early Years Children

The two-part interactive workshop provides tailored advice for parents and carers of children who have not yet started full-time school (ie they are not in Reception class) and who have a diagnosis of autism, or are on the Berkshire CAMHS waiting list for an autism assessment. Session 1 takes an in-depth look at autism in the early years, including communication, sensory needs and play, and explores ways to understand children’s behaviour. Session 2 looks at a range of strategies to support young autistic children. Parents are encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts and ideas about common issues, including difficulties with sleeping, eating and toileting.

Forthcoming workshops: To be advised.

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:

  • To be advised.

Eating & Mealtime Challenges

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:

  • To be advised.

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

  • 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.

These workshops are funded by the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire West NHS Integrated Care System 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.