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Avanti Center offers therapeutic services for all ages at new site

Avanti Center's director of marketing, Olin Morrison, left, and executive director Linda Ewing stand in front of their new building on Sterbenz Drive. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl1 / 2
Dede Wanzek, clinic administrator and physical therapist, stands in the large motor room one of 12 therapy rooms located in the new building. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl2 / 2

Avanti Center, formerly known as Special Children Center, opened this fall in a brand new 13,400-square-foot building, giving it 40 percent more square footage than their previous location, which was in St. Croix Business Park.

The new facility is located at 742 Sterbenz Drive, just northeast of I-94's exit four.

The increased space offers the administration and staff the opportunity to serve more young clients but to also add services for adults. It is now a Medicare-certified facility.

Avanti Center, which is a 501C3 non-profit, primarily offers speech, physical and occupational therapy to pediatric clients with severe to mild disabilities. Therapy programs for adults are offered as well.

"There is a misconception out there that we treat only clients with severe disabilities," said Linda Ewing, executive director.

According to Dede Wanzek, clinic administrator, the process to become a client begins with a simple phone call to Avanti Center.

"The client is assessed. That would determine the need for therapy," said Wanzek. "The assessment would also determine the need for a prescription from a physician which is required for insurance.

"What we offer is a lot of complementary resources," said Olin Morrison, marketing director.

"The integration of therapies is helpful," said Ewing.

One of the newest therapies called motor intensive requires physical therapy for three hours a day, five days a week for three weeks.

"This would be great for adults as well," said Ewing. "It is researched based." According to Wanzek, it is going to be the model for the therapy of the future."

The facility also offers a therapeutic pool which means the water is kept at a temperature of 92 degrees. The 40- by 20-foot pool offers three different depths: three, four and five feet plus a whirlpool area as well.

"The advantage is that it is relaxing and a great medium of exercise," said Wanzek. "It is great sensory therapy as well."

Avanti Center plans to add swim packages in the future.

According to the website, the term "children's therapy" can be used to describe therapy caring for children with many challenges, including attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, sensory processing and other sensory issues, oppositional and defiant disorders, head trauma, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism.

For 20 years Special Children Center was a leader in developing and creating therapy for these issues. Avanti Center continues that by offering both traditional and nontraditional intensive therapy to help with a child's development.

"We know that the kinds of therapies we offer are not available in many parts of the country," said Ewing. "Our clients include people who live in this area and as far away as Iowa, North Dakota, Alabama and Arizona.

Avanti Center is open from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. From September to May it is also open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information about the center and the services they offer call (715) 386-2128 or go to

Avanti Center is holding an open house Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.