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QuickStart — Early Intervention for Autism is a grassroots charity that began in Ottawa in 2008.  All programs with QuickStart are offered at no cost to the family.


KickStart Intervention Program: A Collaborative Program between QuickStart – Early Intervention for Autism and Emerging Minds

QuickStart – Early Intervention for Autism (QuickStart Autism) is a Canadian Registered Charity who funds the KickStart Intervention Program (KickStart) and Emerging Minds is the private service care provider who delivers the KickStart program.

The KickStart program is a one-on-one intensive parent-coaching program, with the parent(s) and the child.

When a family qualifies for KickStart, they receive individualized weekly sessions with: an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and an educator therapist.  Most appointments will be with one therapist only.

To be eligible for the KickStart:

  • Your child must be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Your child must be 24 months of age or under.
  • At least one parent must be able to attend and participate with their child at each appointment.  The appointments are held weekly during weekday working hours, and are between 1 and 1.5 hours.  The appointments must be attended, without interruption, for the full four-month period.
  • The child must not be receiving more than 10 hours per week of other autism-related interventions such as speech therapy, etc.
  • Parents must commit to applying the treatment strategies that they have learned at a rate of at least 2 hours per day.
  • Parents must be able and willing to complete an intervention log of their practice sessions with the child.

*If your child does not have an autism diagnosis and you suspect autism, please contact QuickStart Autism at 613-791-3757 or for information about diagnostic services in Ottawa.

If you feel you qualify for the KickStart program, please contact Suzanne at QuickStart Autism at or by phone at 613-791-3757 for more information.

If you have already been accepted into the KickStart Intervention Program and have any questions, please contact Debbie Ladisa at 613-728-3808.

Our KickStart program is offered at no cost to the family.  That doesn't mean it's 'free'.  To do this, we rely on donors, grants and community support.  QuickStart Autism receives no government funding.  Please help the children continue to reach their full potential by donating today.  To donate click here.

We are a family in Ottawa who have 2 boys under the age of four with ASD. They were fortunate enough to be able to go through QuickStart's Kickstart Program which has made a huge positive impact on all of our lives. 
Early intervention is so important, and as many parents of children with ASD know, there aren't very many options out there. Most options include an incredibly long wait list, or the parents have to pay for private therapy which would cost thousands of dollars.
Within 2 months of diagnosing both of our sons with ASD, QuickStart had them in an early intervention program called KickStart that included Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and a Parent Coach. This was at absolutely no cost to us and it provided our children with therapy that has helped them to learn new skills and has taught us to follow through on the therapy at home through parent coaching. There isn't anything out there like this. My youngest son, who is 20 months old, was not speaking at all when he started the program, within 3 months, he now has more than 25 words and is starting to put 2 words together. The parent coach also gave me the tools to prepare my eldest son for JK in September. We continue to implement socialization and imagination skills that we were coached on during the Kickstart program. 
We are incredibly grateful to QuickStart and to the charities that support this amazing early intervention program. We cannot express in words how much this has changed our lives! Thank you!
Catherine & Derek


Our sincere thanks to all our donors.  

Special thanks to Unity for Autism for providing a generous grant to cover the cost of the diagnostic assessment for 36 children!   

Our thanks also to the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa and Autism Speaks Canada, for their generous support of KickStart, allowing even more children to participate in our program!

unity  kiwanis

ReFresh ReStart a respite program for parents

QuickStart began this program in 2010.  We wanted to let the parents have an opportunity to have a break.  With the generous support of local hotels and donors, QuickStart is able to offer one and two night stays providing parents the rare opportunity to have some time to themselves.  On average, QuickStart offers 40 stays a year.    

*Please note this program is for parents only*

QuickStart provides funding to offset childcare expenses while the parents are away.  To apply or for more information click here.

Parent Workshops  

QuickStart offers free workshops Email to be added to our mailing list for future workshops.

We have posted our workshop videos on our QuickStart Autism Youtube Channel.  Thank you to Autism Speaks Canada for supporting this project!

Sensory santa

Sensory Santa is an opportunity for children with autism to visit Santa in a sensory friendly environment. This means Sensory Santa's are often held before the malls open on a Sunday morning, when it's quieter. The time set aside for Sensory Santa is exclusive for children on the spectrum and their families. The line ups are much shorter and children can come and go while they wait.  Often the music is turned down. No appointments are booked so parents have more flexibilty.

With the generous support of local shopping centres, we are able to provide an opportunity for children with autism to see Santa in a sensory friendly environment.  Click here for more information.



QuickStart held our first Autism on the Hill in 2013. 

Each year Autism on the Hill is held around World Autism Awareness Day, April 2nd**.  We invite our Members of Parliament and our Senators to attend and show their support for people with autism and their families.  

This rally is held each year on Parliament Hill.

FACES OF AUTISM BANNER:  Our Faces of Autism banner, featuring the beautiful faces of people with autism from across Canada, is on display each year.  In 2014 our banner was 12 feet long with over 160 beautiful faces of individuals, siblings and our first father & son photo.

From December to mid-March we invite Canadians with autism and parents to submit their high resolution photos.  To send a photo click here.

We invite everyone to come down to Parliament Hill at noon to show your support for people with autism.**

For more information and to see photos and our Faces of Autism banners go to

**Please note the date for Autism on the Hill changes each year due to it being held while the House and the Senate are sitting.  This means  Autism on the Hill can be as early as the last week of March or be held well into April.



Getting Started Services:  in partnership with the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre

In 2008, we formed our first partnership with the Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre (OCTC).  Our family had just personally experienced the long wait-times while desperate for help.  I didn't want another family to experience that sense of time slipping away, of helplessness, while trying to figure out how to help our grandson.

At that time all children required a diagnosis before they were able to receive services and therapy, before they were able to get help.  With diagnostic wait-times up to 18 months, children were losing valuable time and their parents were frantic for help and needed support.  

Through this partnership, as of 2013, now all children receive pre-diagnosis services and therapy through Getting Started Services!  

QuickStart is proud to have provided the initial $55,000 for the pilot project 'Getting Started Services' and to have donated over $300,000 to the Getting Started Services.

From Suzanne Jacobson, founder and President of QuickStart Early Intervention for Autism

QuickStart - Early Intervention for Autism (QuickStart Autism) is a grassroots charity in Ottawa founded by myself, Suzanne Jacobson.  My two grandsons are both diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but it was my eldest grandson, Alexander, who was the catalyst behind the founding of our charity.  Alexander missed out on life-changing early intervention due to the long provincial wait-times and a complex, confusing system.  While neither of my grandsons have benefited from our charity program, I began the charity because I didn’t want other children to miss this critical window of opportunity.

All QuickStart Autism programs are offered at no cost to the families. I donate all my time to operate the charity as a way of giving back to the community. Our charity receives no government funding. We rely solely on donations and fundraisers to support the children and their families.

Here's what we did last year thanks to our supporters!

  • We funded 36 toddlers in our leading edge KickStart program at $4,000 per child ($144,000) all at no cost to the family
  • We funded 36 diagnostic assessments shortening wait-times for services by upwards of 18 months ($21,600)
  • We funded 30 parents for a one or two night respite stays at local hotels, including childcare funding for while they were away ($12,000)
  • We hold free workshops for parents (we’ll be offering two this year)
  • We held our Sensory Santa in six local malls providing an opportunity for children on the spectrum to see Santa, many for the first time (350 children saw Santa)

If you have any questions about our programs or if you'd like more information, please email

We always appreciate your feedback on any of our programs.  



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