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ReFresh ReStart - a respite program for parents

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As a grandmother of two young boys diagnosed with autism, I personally see the day to day challenges families face.  We are pleased to be able to offer parents one or two night breaks giving them the opportunity to refresh and restart.  Suzanne Jacobson, Founder

QuickStart Early Intervention for Autism (QuickStart Autism) is a Canadian Registered Charity and we operate without government funding.  We sincerely thank our local hotels and generous donors for helping to make this program possible!  

Approximately 30 to 40 stays are awarded per year.

Respite program information: 

How the program works:

  • Parents must apply each calendar year but do not need to send in proof of diagnosis if it's already been sent to us in a prior year. 
    • Names will be entered into the draw once the application and proof of diagnosis have been received.  
  • Parents names will be drawn throughout the year (Feb to October), as hotel stays become available. 
  • Parents will be awarded stays of one or two nights based on their application request and availability of stays.  
  • Parents will be notified by email or by phone that they have been awarded a stay.  Please make sure your email address and phone number are current in the application form.  
  • QuickStart Autism arranges the stay for the parent.  The hotel is determined based on donated stays and the hotel availability to match the parent(s) requested dates for their stay.
  • The stays are for the parent(s) only.  Parents are responsible for arranging their own childcare while they are away.  QuickStart Autism funds up to $150 per night for childcare while the parents are away.  It may be a family member, friend, professional, etc.  We require an original signed receipt from the childcare provider for the parent to be reimbursed. 
  • The program is open to parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and who live in the greater Ottawa area.
  • Proof of an autism diagnosis is required by a medical doctor or psychologist or a qualified professional.  
  • To apply, fill in our online application form. Please make sure you answer each question in full and that your contact information is correct so we can notify you if your name is drawn.  If you have more than one child diagnosed with autism, then you may fill in an application for each child.  

If you have any questions, please email QuickStart Autism.

Parent Quotes:

“What can I say? We had a beautiful room facing the Parliament buildings...a clean and beautiful room with the most comfortable had a sound machine that lulled us to sleep for naps....NAPS!! We also slept through the night which is a rare occurrence....we had time to devote to each other and reconnect...we barely spoke about the children, which is usually our topic of conversation."

“I want to thank you for having given me the wonderful opportunity to enjoy a peaceful night at the beautiful hotel.  This time to myself meant so very much to me, a single mom who appreciates this gift with my whole heart.  What you and the hotel partners do for us parents of children with ASD means more than you can imagine."

“It was a wonderful re-charge to parent batteries - when sometimes I don’t know how we’ll cope - this gave us a renewed sense of support, relief, respite and we felt lucky for once in some time!  We so much appreciate this - thank you!"

“I want to thank you so much for the parents night out my husband and I had.  We both enjoyed it tremendously. The room was gorgeous and huge. We really appreciated that we could relax and have a quiet evening without having to worry about our children.”

“It was a wonderful re-charge to parent batteries - when sometimes I don’t know how we’ll cope - this gave us a renewed sense of support, relief, respite and we felt lucky for once in some time!  We so much appreciate this - thank you!"

When you are busy working full-time to support your family, and filling in all your free time advocating for services and support for your child - and for others affected by autism - it’s easy to forget to nurture yourself and your marriage.  QuickStart recognizes that helping the children with autism also means making sure the whole family is well and supported."

"You've put a little spring in my step.  I'm not even going to tell my husband that I applied until we find out.  So exciting even if we don't get it!  Little things like this go a long way in the daily struggles with funding, appointments, care, stress, worry, etc."

 "OMG a room downtown one night would be such a welcome relief from our usual routine.  Thanks so much ..."
“Thank you so much for giving us the wonderful opportunity of a night away!  That was our first night away in 6 years.  We feel rested and reenergized.  The hotel took exceptional care of us.  Your program is a lifesaving gem and we are SO appreciative!”
“Thank you so much for the evening out, child care, and hotel stay.  We had so much fun.  We went out for dinner, went to a movie, and got to sleep in (and had no interrupted sleep too)!  What was so nice, was that we got to enjoy each other alone, without kids, and realized how much fun we could have together….I really think we had forgotten." 

Current Participating Hotels:

 Albert at Bay Suite Hotel   Victoria Park Ottawa Hotel  The Westin Ottawa
Novotel Hotel Ottawa   Delta
Past Participating Hotels:
Lord Elgin Hotel  Radisson Hotel Ottawa Parliament Hill  Marriott Hotel

 Hampton InnMarriott Residence Inn Cartier Place


  Fairmont Château Laurier    Sheraton Hotels - Ottawa  Holiday Inn - Downtown Ottawa


 Marriott Courtyard - Downtown Ottawa

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