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April 16, 2023

Stuttering Therapy with ChatGPT

As a graduate course instructor gearing up to teach my first course in the ChatGPT era, I’ve wondered how students, novice clinicians, and clinical generalists (those without expertise with a specific clinical population) might rely on generative AI to fill in knowledge gaps and generate ideas for therapy. Speech-language pathology has an enormous scope of practice with constantly updating research, making it practically impossible for an average clinician to keep up with best practices in any one area. And if you do try to dive in to refresh your knowledge, it’s difficult to find your footing in a sea of information. 

If we start relying on tools like ChatGPT to filter through the noise and bubble up the key ideas, will this facilitate more evidence-based practice? Or will we be at risk of continuing the old mistakes, if that’s the bulk of the Internet’s text-based corpus?

With just a few weeks until class starts, I decided to test this out myself!

This post covers:

- The importance of prompts quality and asking the right questions
- Treatment planning prompts examples and responses
- Evaluation of ChatGPT output
- How to ensure evidence-based practice while using AI
- Implications for clinical educators

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February 9, 2022

How to Get Insurance Coverage for Private Pay Services

It is increasingly common that small specialty medical and therapy practices are “private pay only”. This can be frustrating and disheartening if you can’t afford the full cost of private pay services, but the only professionals who specialize in your needs don’t take your insurance.

Good news: even when a practice is “private pay only”, services are typically eligible for insurance coverage. This works a little differently than “in-network” services. It can require a little more paperwork on your part as the patient, but it can be well worth it to ensure you’re able to access treatment with a provider who is a good fit for you.

This post will review how “out-of-network” insurance coverage works, and how to go about getting payment from your insurance company for specialty services.

In this post:

  • What do "private pay only" and "out-of-network" mean?
  • How are claims submitted?
  • Is out-of-network coverage the same as in-network coverage?
  • What does "allowed amount" mean?
  • Summary: how to get out-of-network/private pay services reimbursed by insurance
  • Additional resources, including free downloadable guides for calling your insurance
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January 29, 2022

Just Stop With The Damn Disfluency Counts

In this post, I will present a brief introduction to:

  1. Why disfluency counts are clinically irrelevant at best, and harmful at worst
  2. How to record physical components of stuttering in clinically relevant and helpful ways
  3. How to stop using outdated and harmful disfluency count tools at your place of work

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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


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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