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18-month-old continues critical therapy online during coronavirus outbreak

An 18-month-old Spokane girl is receiving her critical therapy virtually during the coronavirus outbreak.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A child of the FaceTime generation, 18-month-old Nova Ritchie is used to screen visits.

It’s a good thing. Right now, she and her family are getting much needed support from Joya Child & Family Development. The center provides critical therapy and intervention for kids ages 0-3 who face disabilities and challenges.

The coronavirus outbreak meant Joya shut its doors but not its connection. Therapy is now done online.

“It just feels so good to see their smiling faces and their parents and just make that connection,” said speech therapist Nikie Noldin. She is one of three therapists that regularly works with Nova and her families.

Joya Program Director Christina Fox said it’s important to keep therapy going, as the window of intervention can be narrow.

“In the first 3-years, 80 percent of the brain development happens,” Fox said. 

Joya transitioned from in-person therapy to a digital model earlier this month when the COVID-19 crisis became dangerous for kids, families, and staff. For now, kids with Joya will receive therapy on-line so that an immediate crisis doesn’t prevent them from future success.

KREM is working to share positive news in our community during a difficult and uncertain time for many. Do you have a story that you’d like to share? Email us at newstips@krem.com or share your photos and videos to social media using #InlandTogether.

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