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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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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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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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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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