There is a new resource for children with autism in West Hartford. A Springtide Child Development center recently opened its doors and is now offering diagnosis and treatment for kids in the area.
The center staff say there is an increased need driven by the pandemic. The space in West Hartford opened in the spring, and it's already making a difference for local families.
Ten-year-old Zanzi Martz did not know she had autism until about a year ago, when her mom started seeing warning signs.
“Up until the age of nine, school had been successful,” Sarah Martz, Zanzi’s mom, said. “We were not expecting the autism diagnosis. So it was a big surprise to us. And then when they kind of mapped out an autism spectrum disorder, it then was exactly our daughter.”
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When Martz learned about her daughter’s diagnosis, she sprung into action, contacting the new Springtide Child Development center.
“Saw that they were opening a center within a mile from my house. So I called immediately, and the center wasn't yet open,” Martz said. “That's kind of what got us in the door.”
The West Hartford mom said it was a relief, because finding care is not easy.
“You're told there was either no help in your area, or if there is, it's like a six-month waitlist,” Martz said.
Now, Zanzi visits the facility for three hours after school.
“The immediate changes in my daughter's behavior, and in the language we were able to use to describe her, or that she then had to describe herself, was huge. And it was quick,” Martz said.
Springtide Child Development CEO and Founder Jia Jia Ye said what sets the center apart is an integrative approach to treatment.
“We have ABA therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy all in house,” Ye said. “So when you bring your kids here, we'll coordinate for you so that you don't have to drive your kids into multiple locations, and you don't have to worry about multiple insurance forms.”
Ye said they chose the West Hartford location because they saw a need for high-quality services in the area.
Serving kids aged two to 18, Springtide partners with a child’s primary care physician and school system to also assess physical and mental health needs.
“It's really important for us to work with the families and the school system to be able to integrate our kids back with their other peers,” Ye said.
The center provides diagnosis, and Springtide staff say this is crucial because the pandemic delayed autism diagnosis for many kids.
“The earlier you're able to find the right pairing of care and treatment for your child, the better progress,” Ye said.
The holistic approach aims to turn a kid’s situation around. Martz said for Zanzi, the progress was instant.
“It was life changing quickly,” she said. “She started to shine. And so there are less frequent outbursts, because she has such confidence, which is amazing.”
The West Hartford space, located in Bishop’s Corner, is one of three Springtide locations in Connecticut. The others are in Trumbull and Ridgefield.