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July 18, 2024

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Belle Meade Success Drives Major Antioch Expansion for Wellspring Learning Centers

Wellspring Learning Centers, a child-led ABA therapy center based in Nashville, TN, is making waves. With a unique approach centered around empowering preschool-aged children with autism through engaging play and individual intervention, Wellspring has established itself as a beacon of hope for families seeking specialized autism care.

Grand Opening Success in Belle Meade

Wellspring Learning Centers celebrated the grand opening of their Belle Meade center in September. The event marked a significant milestone in their journey towards providing quality ABA therapy to young children with autism. Eric Yetter, the founder of Wellspring Learning Centers, states, “My goal with Wellspring was to create a solid operational foundation that attracts and retains the best clinicians in ABA – and empowers them to elevate ABA therapy for our clients. Given that objective, we made very heavy investments in Belle Meade and our corporate operations, both financially and in attention to detail.”

With these goals at the heart of the center’s foundation, Wellspring is proud of its early success in Belle Meade. Throughout the week, the center is full of happy children and staff that are working toward the same goals. Yetter continues, “Our initial approach has worked better than I could have imagined; we have some truly exceptional people who are very engaged with our mission. That includes our entry-level technicians all the way up to senior leadership.”

An Innovative Approach Backed by the Nashville Autism Community

The innovative techniques of child-led ABA therapy at Wellspring have garnered support from a variety of autism professionals in greater Nashville. Chrissy Schenk M.S. CCC-SLP, a co-founder of Mindful Voices Autism Consulting, expressed “As a professional working in the autism field, I have seen a drastic increase in families in need of support and services in the Nashville area. ABA can be a critical component to a child’s success, as the school systems here are often understaffed and unable to provide behavioral support in the academic setting.” 

She continued, “The naturalistic approach to ABA therapy can help children reach developmental milestones in a way that is meaningful for them. Following a child’s lead in what they want to learn helps the therapist understand a naturally reinforcing way to teach a child to navigate the world. This helps the child make progress faster, as well as build confidence in themselves.”

Alongside the support of industry professionals, Nashville Parent has championed the ABA therapy services Wellspring provides, offering employees and parents peace of mind that their children are in good hands. Gerardo Castillo, Wellspring’s Director of Operations, voices “The most visible and immediate impact of Nashville Parent’s support has been on Wellspring’s staff. Those who are parents were impressed and joyous that their organization was featured on the Nashville Parent site, a reputable source of information for parents in the community.”

Wellspring’s Focus on Community Partnerships

Establishing strong community relationships is a key focus for Wellspring. The center recruited Dacey Carr, a licensed BCBA with Clinical Director experience, to serve as Community Outreach Manager. Carr states, “With our community outreach program, we are working to bridge the gaps in continuity and coordination of care with all related service providers. By building strong and trusted relationships with diagnosticians, pediatricians, psychologists, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists we can help our clients achieve even greater outcomes while decreasing the burden of communication for parents and other clinicians.”

Partnerships will extend beyond industry professionals, with the goal of helping to bring awareness to ABA and autism to Nashville teachers. Carr continues, “In the next steps of our initiative, we hope to provide free community training to churches, preschools and private schools to support educators and increase inclusion for Nashville families.”

Wellspring Learning Centers is also empowering the next-generation of ABA therapists through its partnership with Vanderbilt University. Wellspring’s child-led ABA center in Belle Meade recently became a practicum and internship placement site for those hoping to establish a career in autism therapy.

The Future of Wellspring Learning Centers in Tennessee

Wellspring’s success in Belle Meade has paved the way for quick, strategic expansion plans. Its leadership team recognizes the importance of matching center sizes to market demands as parents move towards a preference for Wellspring’s child-led approach. With plans for small (3000-4000 sq ft), medium (4000-6000 sq ft), and large (6000-8000 sq ft) facilities, Wellspring aims to provide flexibility and meet the diverse needs of different communities.

Antioch Center

This August, Wellspring is set to open a 7,700 sq ft center in Antioch, TN; its first Large Center concept. “We have seen incredible demand in Antioch. It is a very densely populated area and there aren’t any centers of scale there. Families are driving a long way for services today,” Yetter reveals. “Given the demand, our Antioch center will be significantly larger than our center in Belle Meade. This will allow us to serve more families, though size does not directly translate into families served.” 

He continues, “We have limits on how many children we want in a center at any given time, both for operational and clinical reasons. The Large Center concept in Antioch will help us optimize that model: to serve more families in a larger footprint. We plan to replicate it when appropriate for the area.”

Contact Wellspring to Enroll Your Child Now!

Looking Forward 

Despite its rapid growth, high-quality ABA care remains at the forefront of Wellspring’s values and mission. “Our plan is continuous oversight of client programs and therapists’ implementation of each behavior plan. This oversight is not only coming from assigned supervisors but also from the clinical director and director of operations, all of whom are Board Certified Behavior Analysts,” says Castillo. 

“As we continue to grow and open new locations, we will bring more talented analysts and staff on board. Recruiting the best clinicians allows our quality to continue to grow and improve, ensuring each new client gets the same elevated care.”

Wellspring Learning Centers has indeed come a long way, and the future is exceptionally bright. Through their child-led approach, dedication to community engagement, and strategic expansion, Wellspring is poised to make a lasting difference in the lives of children with autism and their families. As the company continues to thrive, the journey toward empowering children and unlocking their full potential is just beginning.

Visit Wellspring Learning Centers Website to Learn More.

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About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.