Center for Children With Autism Opens in Ridgefield to Help Families During COVID-19
Reflecting on Autism Awareness month and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CEO of Springtide Child Development said that the families of children with autism are not alone and that it is important to find the right therapist to suit their needs.
Following the opening of the company’s center in Ridgefield, Connecticut in March, co-founder Jia Jia Ye highlighted the role of the new location as the disruption and uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak has seen the behavioral regression of children with special needs. As children with autism “benefit from consistency and predictability,” there is a greater need for development centers that provide specialized treatment.
In addition, Ye emphasized the importance of autism awareness in helping children with special needs find the support that they need, including the fact that “nearly 1 in 54 kids are diagnosed with autism - almost 2%.” She said that autism in families is a very prevalent situation, and that many parents are in need of locating specialists that can give them personalized assistance.
According to the Springtide co-founder, the center is critical in providing convenience and support for children with special needs and their families.
“We’ve actually found that during COVID it’s been a great sense of relief for the parents,” said Ye, in regard to family members who are juggling the parental pressures of trying to “coordinate schedules, insurance and proper care” for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the course of the pandemic.
As per Springtide’s recent press release, the child care centers have practitioners who provide one-on-one in person support for parents to help them manage these tasks and tailor care to the specific needs of their children. The center helps to alleviate the struggles of their families by including multiple forms of treatment “in a single facility with a coordinated team” of specialists.
According to Ye, these services include ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy, which helps with socialization skills and school preparation, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Both of the company locations, in Ridgefield and their original center in Trumbull, are multidisciplinary and provide personalized treatment plans for children with autism.
While Ye said that there are no significant differences between the two centers, the company’s press release includes that the Ridgefield center is equipped with unique ocean-themed therapy rooms, including “flexible seating like bean bag chairs, couches, traditional desks and floor space so the children remain engaged and can find a space that is optimal for learning.” In addition, rooms are modeled after home and school settings to help kids adjust to “a variety of spaces.”
Adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, the centers are equipped with a variety of modalities, primarily operating in-person as an essential service. Additional options, depending on the needs of the children, include “parent coaching” and “in-home care.” Most parents preferred bringing their children to the center during the pandemic, said Ye.
The new Ridgefield center was opened to reduce wait times for the parents who seek the assistance of qualified care specialists. According to the Springtide CEO, there were not enough therapists to meet the demand in Danbury, Ridgefield, or Redding, which led to the decision of choosing a location in the Fairfield area.
“We saw that there is a lack of access and a lot of families are in waitlists from 6 months to even a year,” said Ye.
According to Ye, there are two more Springtide locations planned, including in the Boston, Massachusetts metro area and West Hartford.