There’s a new resource for children with autism in West Hartford. A Springtide Child Development Center recently opened and now offers diagnosis and treatment to area children.
Center staff say there is an increased need due to the pandemic. The West Hartford space opened in the spring, and it’s already making a difference for local families.
Ten-year-old Zanzi Martz didn’t know she had autism until about a year ago when her mother started seeing the warning signs.
“Until the age of nine, the school was successful,” said Sarah Martz, Zanzi’s mother. “We weren’t expecting the diagnosis of autism. So it was a big surprise for us. And then when they sort of mapped an autism spectrum disorder, then that was exactly our daughter.
When Martz learned of her daughter’s diagnosis, she sprang into action by contacting the new Springtide Child Development Center.
“I saw they were opening a center less than a mile from my house, so I called immediately and the center wasn’t open yet,” Martz said. “That’s kind of what kicked us out.”
The West Hartford mum said it was a relief because finding care isn’t easy.
“You’re told there was no help in your area, or if there is, it’s like a six-month waiting list,” Martz said.
Now Zanzi visits the facility for three hours after school.
“The immediate changes in my daughter’s behavior, and in the language that we were able to use to describe her, or that she then had to describe herself, were huge. And it was fast,” Martz said.
CEO and founder of Springtide Child Development, Jia Jia Ye, said what sets the center apart is an integrative approach to treatment.
“We have ABA therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy in-house,” Ye said. “So when you bring your kids here, we coordinate for you so you don’t have to drive your kids to multiple places and 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 children ages 2-18, Springtide partners with a child’s primary care physician and the school system to also assess physical and mental health needs.
“It’s really important for us to work with families and the school system to be able to reintegrate our children with their other peers,” Ye said.
The center provides diagnosis, and Springtide staff say this is crucial because the pandemic has delayed autism diagnosis for many children.
“The earlier you are able to find the right match of care and treatment for your child, the better the progress,” Ye said.
The holistic approach seeks to reverse a child’s situation. Martz said for Zanzi, the progress was instantaneous.
“Life changed quickly,” she said. “She started to glow. 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.