A new pilot program is supporting parents of toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. QuickStart Nova Scotia is a one-on-one parent-coaching program that uses play-based activities to help parents further develop their child’s communication and social skills. “Helping children with autism spectrum disorder early, before they start school, has been proven to have significant benefits on their development,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “The pilot is starting in Halifax and I’m excited to see the results and hear from the families taking part.” The pilot program is initially being offered in Halifax through Autism Nova Scotia. The QuickStart Nova Scotia program is a model adopted from the QuickStart Early Intervention Program in Ottawa in partnership with Emerging Minds. Additional partners include the IWK Health Centre, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, and Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services. The province is investing $2 million over four years to support QuickStart which will be delivered to up to 35 toddlers (12 -36 months old) in its first year, and up to 50 in each of the following three years. “When you have a child with suspected or confirmed autism, it can be overwhelming for parents trying to access supports,” said Cynthia Carroll, executive director, Autism Nova Scotia. “The QuickStart Nova Scotia program will help address a crucial service gap in our province while allowing parents the opportunity to oversee and participate in their toddler’s development.” Nine autism resource centres have also been created to ensure families in rural areas have better access to the information, supports and services available to them. The locations are: Amherst Halifax Hebbville, Lunenburg Co. Kingston, Kings Co. New Glasgow Port Hawkesbury Sydney Truro Yarmouth The autism resource centres opened in 2017. Last year 5,174 people with autism were supported in rural Nova Scotia through these centres. For more information, visit http://www.autismnovascotia.ca .