Workshops for Parents and Carers

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, our normal workshops in towns around Berkshire are suspended – instead we are providing online workshops.

Click here for details about our current services.

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.

We also provide additional support to parents and carers in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire, funded by Reading Borough Council’s New Directions College community learning service, with Wellbeing & Autism courses and workshops about Positive Thinking available.

  • 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 – which are being provided online during the coronavirus pandemic – are as follows:

Autism Seminars for Families

This programme of evidence-based workshops, developed by the National Autistic Society, provides information and support to the parents and carers of autistic children and young people.

Understanding Autism: Suitable for parents and carers of children aged up to 11, looking at what autism is, the assessment process at Berkshire CAMHS, where to get help, and other conditions associated with autism

Forthcoming Understanding Autism workshops:

  • To be advised.

Managing Anger: Looking at distressed behaviour and meltdowns in autistic children, how to cope and how to help children to understand and communicate feelings

Forthcoming Managing Anger workshops:

  • Part 1 Friday, June 25, 10am to 11.30am; Part 2 at the same time on Friday, July 2.

Meeting Sensory Needs: Looking at sensory systems and how they work, how autistic people may process sensory information differently, how autistic children may have different sensory experiences, and strategies to help with sensory needs.

Forthcoming Meeting Sensory Needs workshops:

  • Part 1 Friday, June 11, 10am to 11.30am; Part 2 at the same time on Friday, June 18.

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 workshop provides advice and ideas to parents and carers to teach strategies to help autistic and ADHD children and young people to manage their emotions, including using visual supports such as The Incredible 5 Point Scale and Comic Strip Conversations.

Forthcoming Emotional Regulation workshops:

  • Friday, July 9, 10am to 11.30am.

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 Food Refusal 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 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:

  • Friday, July 16, 10am to 11.30am.

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. Click the course names for full details and forthcoming course dates.

Wellbeing & Autism course

The Wellbeing & Autism course looks at supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and teenagers before and after an autism diagnosis, as well as the mental health and wellbeing of their parents. It is open to parents and family carers, including grandparents, who live in the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire unitary council areas. Click the course name for full details and forthcoming course dates.

Positive Thinking

This free workshop offers an insight into how to approach life’s challenges in as positive a way as possible and setting realistic goals, including ideas and exercises to try at home for yourself and your child. It is open to parents and family carers of children with additional needs, including autism and ADHD, who live in the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire council areas.

Forthcoming Positive Thinking workshops:

  • To be advised.

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.

Wellbeing & Autism courses and Positive Thinking workshops are available free of charge to parents and carers and are funded by Reading Borough Council’s New Directions College community education 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.