Members of the Bear With Me social group for autistic adults during one of the Wednesday evening sessions – the group’s co-ordinator Helen Harris and her son Scott, who is the facilitator, are in the centre of the top row
In normal circumstances, our services include an autism helpline, home visits to advise parents and carers one-to-one, a range of advice workshops about aspects of autism that are available in Berkshire’s major towns, a benefits advice service, plus leisure and social activities.
The Curve in Slough is a key location for our autism advice workshops and we provide benefits advice to borough residents at the Slough Shelter office, as part of the SPACE community advice project.
How coronavirus has changed the way we operate
The lockdown has meant that we had to reshape our services and look at ways to switch them online where possible. At first, the helpline and benefits advice services were dependent on email and telephone contact to continue to help people, but we soon began to use video calls to resume ‘Home Visits’ and provide face-to-face benefits advice.
Workshops have continued online with topics including: Meeting Sensory Needs, Emotional Self-Regulation and Managing Anger, Understanding Your Benefits Rights, as well as a newly-developed session about Food Refusal in Autistic Children..
The team is also running regular video support groups to help parents and carers connect and share concerns and ideas.
One mother said: “I can’t thank you enough. Lockdown has been the most challenging time I have experienced so far as a parent and the online seminars I have attended have changed life at home. I finally feel like I understand my son. I will never forget how amazing your service has been. Thank you from us all.”
For more information about all current services and to register for online autism advice and benefits workshops, visit the Autism Berkshire website: https://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/coronavirus-support-from-autism-berkshire/
For autism advice or to request a virtual Home Visit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01189 594 594 (option 1) and leave a voicemail message.
For benefits advice, email email@example.com or call 01189 594 594 (option 2) and leave a voicemail message.