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December 20, 2021

What Is “Acceptance-Based Therapy”?

What is acceptance based therapy, really? And what role does it play in speech therapy? In this article, we begin tunpack the complexities around acceptance and progress.

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December 20, 2021

Staying Present and Moving Forward

Ah, the holidays. We often sit and reflect on where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

In the spirit of reflecting with gratitude, our pathologists share their thoughts and experiences on how to balance the present moment and our hopes for the future.

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October 25, 2021

Deception in Speech Therapy: How To Shop For Snake Oil

So, how has speech stuff been this week?”

I was working with a client who stutters, a college student. It was the beginning of the school year, a season of transition and change that can often be accompanied by speech challenges.

“Pretty good, actually! I met someone else who stutters in one of my classes, and he recommended this book. It’s called The Stuttering Cure.* He said it helped him a lot. So I started reading it this week and doing some of the things. It’s definitely helping.” He paused. “Have you heard about this book?”

My licensed, certified, certificate-of-clinical-competence in speech-language pathology wheels were already turning. Have I heard of this book? Oh yes. More specifically, I’ve heard of the author. He is one of many self-styled “stuttering coaches” that live on the Internet. A person who stutters figured out a solution for himself, and he established a mini-empire helping others find the light. 

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October 25, 2021

Answering FAQs about Communication Anxiety Therapy

As some of the stigma around therapy of all kinds is removed, we’re beginning to discover new attitudes, stressors, or behaviors in ourselves that we may want to address in some therapeutic setting. In identifying some of these for yourself, you may have come to learn about “communication anxiety” and “communication anxiety therapy” — but what does that mean?

Here, our clinician Michelle answers some of the most popular questions surrounding communication anxiety therapy, and how you can determine if this course is right for you.

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September 21, 2021

The Role of Helping Ourselves in Our Call to Help Others

by Amina Dreessen, CF-SLP

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lila Watson

Over the last two years, I completed my master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. While my master’s program was incredibly rigorous and taught me many important things about speech and language, I found myself noticing by the end of it that we had failed to learn the most important thing of all: that being a good clinician is as much about helping yourself as it is about helping others.  Perhaps this is something that an academic program can’t really teach, and so I’m grateful to the life experience that has brought me to this awareness as I begin my first year as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP).  By telling a piece of my personal story here, I hope to illuminate for fellow SLPs, clients and their family members — and anyone interested in communication in general — what I mean when I say that an SLP’s liberation is bound up with the liberation of the people we work to help.

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September 21, 2021

Getting to Know Our Clinicians: Meet Amina

speech IRL is unwaveringly dedicated to the clients we serve, and to implementing their uniqueness and individuality as the foundation for how we assist them in their communicative journeys.

Amina Dreessen is especially dedicated to this ideal.

A Social Communication Therapist for speech IRL, Amina takes a particular interest in enhancing the expressive abilities of autistic individuals, a passion she attributes to her brother. After witnessing the range of therapists who assisted him with his communication needs, Amina’s own fire was sparked.

As she got older, this original inspiration was strengthened through both personal and professional circumstances. Her time shadowing a speech therapist inspired her to pursue graduate studies, and her experiences as a dancer helped her become intimately familiar with the connection between movement, speech, and all the ways humans express themselves. 

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August 16, 2021

A Different Kind of Speech Therapy: Listening

All of the important things I’ve come to know about speech therapy I learned through my clients.

Today’s story is about the therapeutic power of listening

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One of my most impactful client-teachers was a man with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). He was a very successful professional, decorated with awards of recognition in his industry. He had sustained an workplace injury and was diagnosed with a "mild" TBI. One year out, he was still experiencing difficulty with memory, sensory processing, neurogenic stuttering, and attention fatigue. Formerly a confident and accomplished public speaker, he had now developed significant anxiety and shame around even the simplest of communication interactions, like ordering coffee or conversing with friends. Since the accident, he was receiving increasingly negative responses to his communication, even from family and colleagues. 

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August 16, 2021

Why Do Teens Develop A Stutter?

Stuttering most often begins in early childhood, during the preschool years. Studies typically define this as between the ages of two and five years old. While it can be alarming when a young child begins to struggle with speaking, most people know that this is relatively common among young children. Next steps are easy to figure out: talk to your doctor, consult a speech-language pathologist. In most cases, children will naturally recover without the need for therapy. 

But what if a person starts to stutter when they are twelve? Fifteen? Nineteen? What’s that about? Stuttering doesn’t just happen suddenly to adolescents or young adults...right? 

The short version: Yes, sometimes stuttering does start in adolescence-- even the late teen years. NO, this isn’t always psychogenic (a result of trauma) or neurogenic (result of a brain injury). Sometimes it’s just regular, garden-variety, childhood onset stuttering that decided to show up later than usual. 

It can be tricky to track down information on the cause of a newly stuttering teenager. Families who find themselves in this situation can be panicked, seeking MRIs from neurologists to rule out brain tumors, and desperate for answers when the doctors say everything looks normal. This is not normal!

So. Let’s talk about this. Late-childhood onset stuttering.

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July 20, 2021

A Different Voice: What To Do When Your Patient Stutters

The first place I went for help regarding my stuttering was a psychologist. On the surface, it may not make much sense, but it made perfect sense to me. Sometimes I had difficulty talking, and sometimes I didn’t. I could say the words fine when I was by myself, but I would block on all of them when someone else was around. My stuttering caused and was caused by anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, and anticipation. It was a vicious cycle. Because of this, I fully believed the cause of my stuttering was psychological. 

People who stutter often end up in the hands of psychologists, but should stuttering be discussed in psychotherapy? If so, how? What is the best counseling approach for people who stutter? How do you talk about it if you don’t know a lot about it? 

It’s complicated. Good speech therapy for stuttering addresses the psycho-social components of stuttering. However, some people need additional support for other mental health concerns which may or may not be related to stuttering. Due to the significant life impact stuttering can have and the co-occurrence of depression and anxiety amongst people who stutter, it is common for folks to be in both psycho-therapy and speech therapy. The overlap between the role of a psychologist and the role of a speech therapist in stuttering can be tricky. Here are some dos and don'ts for psychologists to keep in mind when working with people who stutter. 

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July 20, 2021

Inclusive Meeting Practices for Employees With Communication Differences

Communication is a prized skill in the professional workplace, but one that does not come easily to everyone. Most job postings list “strong communication skills” as a basic requirement, without really specifying what that means. Extraversion is often rewarded in the western professional world, even though introverts demonstrate traits that are critical to effective leadership.

Not everyone has a natural inclination toward verbal expression. Even senior employees with significant expertise and comfortable positions may struggle to contribute in a meeting context if they are not a natural “talker”. Many successful professionals have hidden communication disabilities.

It is normal for employees to contribute to a meeting in different ways and in different amounts. However, managers who value inclusiveness should pay attention to the structural and cultural elements of the meeting which may inadvertently raise barriers to communication. 

Here are four ways to ensure that your meetings are inclusive to employees with diverse communication needs. 

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8 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 812 
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352

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8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812 
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352

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8 S Michigan Ave     Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352

logo

8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352

logo

8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Looking for employee training? Check out our Business Services
Looking for employee training? Check out our Business Services
Looking for employee training? Check out our Business Services
Looking for employee training? Check out our Business Services
Looking for employee training? Check out our Business Services