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With new restrictions in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, parents and caregivers of babies and toddlers ages 0–3 who were receiving early intervention services for speech delay by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) may be concerned about their child's progress during this time.

If your family's early intervention services have been interrupted by the pandemic, you can still work with your child's speech in whatever way is best for your family right now.

Here's what the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends for families during this time:

Communicate with your service coordinator.
Check in to see if early intervention services can continue virtually for the time being. If so, ask what technology you'll need and what paperwork you'll need to fill out. See if your SLP will be available by phone or email to answer questions and offer suggestions, even if formal sessions aren't taking place (note that some SLPs may be restricted from doing this, even if they'd like to help in this way).

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Ask if changes to your child's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) are needed—and, if so, how you can work with the rest of the IFSP team to make those changes. Let them know the best way to provide you with information (phone, email, video, resource links—whatever is most helpful for you).

Trust yourself.
You know your child best and love your child the most, and your child trusts you more than anyone else. Follow your instincts on what your child needs and which aspects of daily activities and routines are most conducive to their progress—and to overall speech and language development.

Remember your parent training.
Consider the speech strategies and interactions you already know work well and what you are doing to foster communication development. Write them down. If you need more guidance, see if you and your SLP can develop a plan together.

Let real life be the guide.
Young children learn best in the context of real-life activities and with the people who are most important to them. Weave communication interactions and goals into everyday routines and activities such as mealtime, bath time, changing time, playtime and household chores.

Follow your child's lead.
Respond to your child's interests and communication attempts, including coos, gestures and words. Build on their strengths.

Keep a log.
Write down successes, challenges and questions to share with your SLP. Record the activities you'd like feedback on or the ones you want to highlight since your last session. Note whether any of the original priorities or goals you shared have shifted or changed.

Use credible resources.
Rely on trustworthy resources for supporting speech, language and social communication development. Familiarize yourself with developmental milestones by age, and track your child's progress. Ask your SLP for suggestions, and visit www.asha.org/public to get information for families.

Remember engaging in early intervention services is a choice. This uncertain time has brought additional work and home responsibilities for all parents. It's okay to say that you need to cancel services if virtual or other modified services are not a good fit for your family. Talk with your SLP or service coordinator about adapting service delivery so it better fits your situation.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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