Sidekicks: A New Service to Benefit the Autism Community Inspired by the best-selling book and award-winning documentary, Life, Animated.

Life-changing moments move us to see the world with new eyes. Sidekicks was created after a 20-year journey that started from one such moment — a conversation that tapped the passions of a barely-verbal child with autism and unlocked a new channel of communication. As shown in Life, Animated, embracing the strong interests or “affinities” of a person with autism can unleash untapped capabilities and open the gates to emotional connection. Based on advances in neuroscience and technology, Sidekicks has developed a new way for those with autism to engage with others and navigate a complex world.

The Sidekicks Story
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Passions as Pathways

Use your child’s passions to create pathways for growth

Sidekicks empowers parents and professionals to connect with their kids on the autism spectrum by harnessing the strong, self-directed interests that are a defining feature of autism. Latest research shows how those with ASD use even the narrowest of these passions as “code-breakers,” to decipher their feelings, identity and the wider world. Using an animated character on a mobile app, parents weave video clips from their kid’s favorite movies into conversations about social, emotional and practical topics, putting their autistic children on a path to personal growth.

We’re now inviting families with kids on the autism spectrum to use Sidekicks as part of a free, at-home Pilot Program. Sign up for our waiting list and we’ll drop you a line as soon as your spot opens.

Sidekicks never shares your information with anyone without your permission.

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“Sidekicks could help him with so many things…expressive language, conversation, social skills, and fluency. He had the biggest smile, loved the whole experience!”

A mother after trying sidekicks

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“When I was watching him he was connected emotionally and genuinely happy, like for 30 minutes he had a friend who was interested in him. The experience was intimate and real.”

Mother of Sidekicks Coach-on-Demand Participant

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“He’s opening up and expressing things that he hasn’t told us before! He likes it — he knows what’s going on and he wants to use it again.”

Sidekicks Pilot Program Participant

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“My son is absolutely loving it! I see so many possibilities for this app to help build his communication skills. This is exciting!”

Sidekicks Pilot Program Participant

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“Sidekicks helps me calm down, and then I have someone to talk to.”

A 14-year old boy with Autism

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“That was fun and I want to talk more like that.”

A 17-year-old with autism after trying sidekicks

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“Sidekicks has made him more confident and more social with his peers. It’s a great addition to his other therapies and activities.”

Mother using Sidekicks with her son

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“It was like talking to a friend.”

A 13-year old boy with Autism, after trying Sidekicks

What People are Saying About Sidekicks

“It has really made a difference in his communication habits and he loves talking with the characters.”

Sidekicks Pilot Program Participant

About Us

Sidekicks is built on the principle that every person deserves to lead a vibrant and connected life. Our mission is to unleash the hidden potential in every child with ASD by tapping into their passions. We are building a mobile virtual companion or avatar, known as Sidekicks, that serves as a mixed-media communications and content delivery platform for the parents (Coaches) of children with autism (Heroes). The service uses the Hero’s affinity for films or, eventually, other content to help Coaches connect and communicate in transformative ways. Coaches are now able to use film and other content to reach, teach, and support their Heroes and help them achieve social, emotional and practical goals.

Sidekicks’ Origins

As told in his best-selling book, Life, Animated, Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia, turned their son Owen’s affinity for animated movies into a pathway for Owen to express his passion for life and for his family… and it worked! Based on this success and the favorable response from other parents here and abroad, Ron developed Sidekicks, a revolutionary new service and app that will help millions connect with their children and loved ones in similar, transformative ways.

A feature-length documentary of Owen’s life – also entitled Life, Animated – premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The award-winning film debuts In theaters July 1st. Learn more about the movie and view the trailer »

Our Team

Join the Team

Sidekicks is uniquely positioned to bring together the smartest minds collaborating across technology, neuroscience, and psychology to build a movement to help every person impacted by ASD live a vibrant and connected life. If you’re passionate about doing good, the go-to-person on your team, and smart as a whip; we want to talk with you.

Our office is located in the heart of Harvard Square, close to the Red Line and buzzing with activity. Click the links below to apply. If you are passionate about the Sidekicks opportunity and don’t see a position below, send us an email with your resume and why working for Sidekicks would be your dream job.

Contact Us

What's Your Affinity?

Does your child love Harry Potter most? Or maybe they're a huge fan of superheroes, trains, or Disney movies like Frozen. Share your child's top three affinities below and we'll send the survey results to the email address you provide as soon as they're ready.