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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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June 21, 2021

How to Integrate Community Experiences Into Speech Therapy

As “lived experience” becomes more prominently valued (and evidence-based) in the therapeutic professions, working solely on skills is no longer a sufficient therapy plan. Impactful speech therapy needs to support bringing your communication skills, and your whole self, by extension, into the world.

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June 21, 2021

Tips and Tricks for Re-entering the Social World

The summer of 2021 is here, and what a summer it seems we are expecting. Concerts, restaurants, festivals, and vacation experiences are back. We can get dressed up for fancy weddings, sing together at religious services, and cheer on our favorite sports teams. We can have real face-to-face conversations and experience the spontaneous kind of communication that is hard to access over Zoom.

While many people are eager to live their best post-COVID life as the US reopens, there are very many people who are dealing with a new kind of anxiety: how do I interact with people again? This may not rise to the level of clinically significant social anxiety, but I would describe many people right now as feeling socially apprehensive

If you’re the kind of person who struggles with communication even a little bit, for any number of reasons, COVID may have put you out of practice. You enjoy having relationships and want to be around people, but may be experiencing a sense of dread or fear of impending awkwardness at the thought of foraying back out into the social world.

Communication is a bit like a muscle: if you don’t use it for a while, your skills can get stiff and clumsy. Just like a prolonged break from physical training, there are recovery principles for communication ability. If you’re ready to see others again but feel apprehensive because of rusty communication skills, here are a few tips to help you “limber up” and ease back into the world of social interaction.

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May 24, 2021

Gender Affirming Voice and Communication: Questions and Answers

The term “gender affirming” voice services acknowledges that gender identity and expression lie on a spectrum, and that not all people are necessarily looking to feminize or masculinize their voice. Oftentimes one or the other is a goal, but this term recognizes and is inclusive of all genders, including nonbinary individuals.

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May 20, 2021

Getting to Know Our Clinicians: Meet Michelle

Like some of the other therapists in our clinician highlight series, our voice specialist Michelle Roberts discovered her purpose which brought her to speech IRL in a roundabout way. She has been working as a professional voice specialist for 3 years, and the unique strength she brings to our practice is gender affirming voice therapy for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. She also works with an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) to help actors and singers with various vocal issues.

Michelle’s passion has always been self-expression; she was the theater kid who rounded up her friends to put on plays that she wrote, and she continued on that track through college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in theater and drama and got the idea to go back to graduate school to become a voice specialist from an acquaintance who happened to be a speech-language pathologist. Studying voice combined Michelle’s passions for self-expression, communication and the scientific aspects of cognition. She realized her dream of working with singers and performers, but along the way, she found a deeper sense of purpose in helping transgender and nonbinary individuals develop a voice that’s congruent with their identity.

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April 19, 2021

Getting to Know Our Clinicians: Meet Courtney

“The reason that we do what we do and the reason I’m so passionate about this—think about all the kids that receive speech therapy in school. They grow up, and they still need that support. They still need that help.”

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April 19, 2021

Fuel for the Journey: Doing the Thing You Cannot Do

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

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March 12, 2021

Getting To Know Our Clinicians: Meet Rachel

You may know her as your speech therapist or the instructor of our Mindful Communication course, but there’s probably a lot more that you don’t know about our Director of speech IRL West, Rachel Muldoon MSc, CCC-SLP. Rachel has been a practicing speech language pathologist for 5 years, plus 6 years of study. She is a certified yoga instructor, which informs her therapy with deeper physical awareness and experience with meditation. Rachel relocated from Chicago to California in the summer of 2020, where she founded our first expansion office, speech IRL West! Read on for more about Rachel’s specialty areas, her career in SLP and a few more surprises.

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March 12, 2021

You’re Not Mary Poppins, And That’s OK

The case for improved quality therapy, better relationships with clients, and a personal sense of pride and integrity in our work.

My good friend, Melanie, had a new year’s resolution a few years back to do something each month she was “bad at.” It reminded me of a recent beach volleyball game I’d reluctantly participated in. In the game I’d missed every pass and then got slammed in the head by the ball right when the game was over. I thought, “Why put herself through that?”

This past year has been one of vulnerability for me, moving to a new state and taking up the responsibilities as Director of speech IRL West. This, of course, was all during COVID, while still experimenting with the newness of motherhood. I have surely made mistakes (“sorry, I meant 2:00 pm PST, not CST”), been wrong (insurance codes are tricky), and struggled through the process (you cannot guarantee toddler naps!). And I have found a more authentic way of connecting with my clients on the journey.

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8 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 812 
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Or send us a message

logo

8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812 
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Or send us a message

logo

8 S Michigan Ave     Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Or send us a message

logo

8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Or send us a message

logo

8 S Michigan Ave, Suite 812
Chicago, IL 60603
312.870.0352
Or send us a message
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