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, whether they already have an autism diagnosis or are on the waiting list for a Berkshire CAMHS autism 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.

Click here for dates of all our forthcoming workshops and courses and to request free places, complete the online contact form, call 01189 594 594 (option 1) or email – please include a daytime telephone member in your message so that our family support workers can contact you.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Eating & Mealtime Challenges

Issues eating a wide range of foods are common in autistic 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.

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

Workshops for Parents and Carers of Autistic Teenagers

This programme of five 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.

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.

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.

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.

Mental Health and Social Struggles of Teenagers: This workshop will be led by Sarah O’Brien, the author of So I’m Autistic: An Introduction to Autism for Young Adults and Late Teens and an engagement and co-production specialist. She was diagnosed autistic at the age of 18. In this workshop she considers the challenges of adolescence and the impact that this has on young people’s mental health.

  • 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.