March 21, 2020

Connecting during COVID: the new IRL

Hi friends. Here we are. 

How are you doing?

I was honored that the New York Times proclaimed the demise of our humble practice this week, in an article titled There Is No More IRL Now. “The biggest void,” the author writes, “is connection.”

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March 9, 2020

Say hello to speech IRL West

speech IRL is expanding to the west coast!

2019 was a big year for us at speech IRL. We formalized our graduate student training program, sponsored our first booth at PrideFest, created the initial draft of our 3Es stuttering framework, and moved into a brand spankin’ new Michigan Ave office across from the Bean. We celebrated personal milestones on the team, including a wedding and our first speech IRL baby, Santi.

True to form, we are continuing to experiment, explore, and GROW. In particular directions. In particular, west.

That’s right, friends. We are beyond excited to announce speech IRL West! 

This summer, our fearless Director of Talent, Rachel Muldoon, will be heading out to the East Bay area to open our SECOND physical base for speech IRL. Rachel is a longtime core member of the speech IRL team, with a deep passion and commitment to the values and practices of the work that we do. She will use her expertise in professional speech therapy, business communication, and organizational training and development to offer all the same services as our Chicago office, while creating a new home base with a distinctly California flair. 

speech IRL West will officially open in August, but we are well underway in the meantime. Here to tell you more is Rachel, Director of speech IRL West!

The one and only, Rachel Muldoon

How does speech IRL West connect to speech IRL? What's new, what's the same, what's different?

Expanding our company to a completely new environment with different wants and needs will be challenging. It will take courage, perseverance and self-compassion - coincidentally the same values that we encourage to our clients! Making this move is an opportunity for speech IRL to continue to put these values into its own practice, self-assess the impact, and learn from the experience. Modeled from our original Chicago structure, we will offer individual and group therapy, as well as corporate training options.

For now, I will be the only member of the team physically located in California. My long-term vision is to build the team out West, where I hope to offer some of our additional services such as transgender voice therapy. I also hope to engage with and learn from YOU, California, to better understand your different needs. This continuous conversation and reflection will guide the evolution of speech IRL West so we can thrive by best serving our clients.

What areas of CA will speech IRL be servicing?

speech IRL West is excited to be located in the East Bay, providing in-person speech therapy services as far north as Berkeley, as far south as Fremont, and as far east as Mountain House. We also offer telepractice options to all residents of California. Our corporate facilitation, training, and consulting services are already available nationwide, but a California office will allow us to provide stronger local support for CA-based firms and improve our own contextual understanding of their geographic communication culture.

What services will be offered?

speech IRL West will offer the same speech, language, stuttering, social communication, and business communication coaching services as our Chicago location. I’m a certified bilingual Spanish-English speech-language pathologist, so services will be available in both languages.
 
While our corporate communication training and D&I/culture consulting services are already available nationwide, we’re excited to have a more local presence in the northern California tech and business hubs. Many of our corporate clients use us as a “business therapist”, requesting brief as-needed meetings and ad-hoc facilitations. This type of relationship really benefits from close geographic access, and we’re really excited to move that access beyond Chicago.
 
As a certified yoga instructor, I am especially passionate about incorporating a degree of mindfulness into each of my communication services. My goal is to help my clients explore their communication strengths and weaknesses while encouraging and guiding them to develop a deeper understanding of how they think and function. A more holistic understanding of their mind and thought processes can lead to increased confidence, self-awareness, and independence in their communication journey. 
 
On the subject of mindfulness, I will also be offering a Mindful Communication 5 week series to companies in the Bay Area. This course will be available for small groups (3-6 people at a time) of professional teams to explore the mental-emotional connections to communication, and access the ability to communicate effectively during moments of mental-emotional strain (e.g., anxiety, stress, etc). 

What excites you most about speech IRL West?

This move is exciting for me, both personally and professionally. I am energized by the opportunity to develop not only as a speech-language pathologist, but also as an entrepreneur. I am very passionate about speech IRL's philosophy of coaching honest, functional, and individualized methods of communication. We have begun to make a difference in the lives of individuals and company teams mainly in Chicago and the East Coast. This move will be an opportunity to expand our services, reach more people, and talk about our methodologies to individuals and companies nationwide. California, specifically, is a hub for conversation and innovation and I hope that through our work here we can continue to make a positive impact on how people listen, how people speak, and how we all build relationships. In short, at speech IRL West, we want to do our small part to make the world a more empathetic and understanding place. 
 
speech IRL has a unique, revolutionary vision for communication growth. Much of traditional speech therapy focuses on rote learning and repetition. Traditional therapy says, "You can't express your thoughts? Let's drill sentence structure." Or, "You stutter when you talk? Let's practice speaking slowly and taking deep breaths." Instead, we believe in teaching our clients about how their brain, body and mind work together. We explore the psychology of communication, and how our relationships are built on values, risk, and, in the end, some minor drill work. It has been an honor to work alongside and learn from my team here in Chicago over the past few years. Now I feel the privilege of bringing our methods and our vision to a new part of the country, to spread the word far and wide.
 
On a more personal level, I am excited to trade in our Chicago winters for California sunshine. Although my extended family is from California, I have never lived there personally! I am thrilled to explore such a beautiful state with my husband and our 11 month old son. We will happily accept any weekend trip suggestions! 

This is awesome! When can I hang out with you???

speech IRL West will officially be open in August 2020, coinciding with my move out there. But we have a bunch of visits planned to get things going, and would love to see you!

Katie, Courtney, and I will be at the CSHA Convergence 2020 Convention from March 18-20 in Anaheim, CA. Katie and Courtney will be co-presenting their 3Es stuttering therapy model, and all three of us will be at the convention to get to know the CA SLP community. You can find us at our session Thursday afternoon at the convention, or message us on social media (@speechIRL on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to connect!

If you’d like to set up a time to meet with us, e-mail me at rachel@speechIRL.com.

We’ll be posting more updates as August approaches and once we’re officially set up this fall. Stay tuned!

January 30, 2020

Introducing the 2020 Spring Interns

It's that time of year again. There are new faces around the office. One of our ongoing goals at speech IRL is training and mentoring opportunities. The two newest interns are joining us for the 2020 spring semester! You'll see them around the office working directly with clients and standing in a supportive role of practice as a whole. We welcome Aubrey Means of Northwestern University and Jordan Jansen of Rush University They have shared a bit about themselves with these mini-interviews.

Meet Audrey!

What non -SLP (speech language pathology) experience do you have? A few years ago I was an intern at an insurance company working in the claims department and the next year I worked at a tree nursery in the greenhouse. I really appreciated both experiences despite not being in my field of interest. I believe that I gained skills from my non-SLP jobs that I can apply to work in speech therapy (e.g., professionalism, interpersonal communication, time management, and work ethic) and having such a varied past work experience makes me a well-rounded person. Also, now I know that I chose the right field!

What excites you about becoming an SLP? There are a lot of things that excite me about becoming an SLP, but there are two things that motivate me the most. One, the fact that I will be able to make a difference in a person’s life and improve their quality of life. Communication is so important in everyday life and the idea that I have the privilege to give that gift to a client gets me through the day. Two, I discovered since beginning school in this area and explaining to everyone what I’m going to school for that I love advocating for speech therapy and educating others on what speech therapists do. I am hoping to continue to educate the general public, other health professionals, and parents/family about what we do.

Which type of clinical work have you found most enjoyable and/or interesting thus far? Why? I’ve enjoyed every clinical experience I’ve had so far, making future career choices a lot more difficult. Most recently, however, I was part of a team that evaluated children with suspected learning disabilities and I really enjoyed becoming a diagnostician. I value the experience I had on this team because I learned not only how to give a variety of standardized tests, but learning how to interpret the results of the test and figuring out what else I needed to know in order to make a diagnosis. I loved that age range of the children I evaluated and seeing how different each individual was from each other despite having similar deficits. 

What type of clinical work are you most looking forward to experiencing during your speech IRL internship? During my internship I’m looking forward to working with a wide variety of clientele, but transgender voice and social communication interest me a lot and those areas are ones with which I haven’t had much experience. Also, I’ve worked a lot with clients on language and cognition, therefore I am looking forward to working with clients on articulation, voice, etc. to improve my perceptual skills. Overall, I’m looking forward to a lot of variety in my caseload in order to gain skills in many different areas that I can take with my in my future career!

As you head into this internship, what scares you the most? With any new experience comes a little bit of fear of the unknown, but I think mostly I am a bit worried about the increase in caseload from my on campus clinic to beginning this internship. I want to ensure that I am providing quality service to each client and that I am dedicating a proper amount of time to preparing for each session. I’m sure with experience and confidence this will not be an issue, but I can’t help but worry a bit!

Clinicians at speech IRL aim to honor our clients' journey by staying accountable to our own growth and living in a place of challenge. Please share one personal goal that you have for yourself during this internship, so that all of us (staff and clients!) can support you and celebrate your growth along the way. With any new experience comes a little bit of fear of the unknown, but I think mostly I am a bit worried about the increase in caseload from my on campus clinic to beginning this internship. I want to ensure that I am providing quality service to each client and that I am dedicating a proper amount of time to preparing for each session. I’m sure with experience and confidence this will not be an issue, but I can’t help but worry a bit!

Meet Jordan!

What non -SLP (speech language pathology) experience do you have?

For the past 8 years I’ve worked on many TV and film productions, like NBC Universal’s Chicago PD and Fox’s American Horror Story, moving from Chicago to Los Angeles and Atlanta. I basically moved wherever the work took me! I was a stand-in and photo double for most of that time but eventually I was hired by an LA based company to start an office for casting and extras coordinating in Chicago. A normal day included working with groups as large as 100 people, so communication was key! I also feel that working in different cities with people from many backgrounds strengthened my awareness of diversity and solidified the importance of qualities like inclusion and equity in my work.

What excites you about becoming an SLP?

What excites me the most about becoming an SLP is being able to give back to my Chicago community. My father and sister have been seeing SLPs long-term and I’ve personally witnessed the difference SLPs can make in an individual and family’s life. Helping people communicate and improve their quality of life through speech-language pathology seems to be the rewarding career I’ve been in search of.

Which type of clinical work have you found most enjoyable and/or interesting thus far? Why?

What excites me the most about becoming an SLP is being able to give back to my Chicago community. My father and sister have been seeing SLPs long-term and I’ve personally witnessed the difference SLPs can make in an individual and family’s life. Helping people communicate and improve their quality of life through speech-language pathology seems to be the rewarding career I’ve been in search of.

What type of clinical work are you most looking forward to experiencing during your speech IRL internship?

I’m most excited to experience working with transgender voice and social communication. I’ve observed a few sessions with transgender individuals and found that to be so inspiring and fun! I’d love to continue to explore voice work like that and help people find their most authentic voice. As well, I am very excited to work with adults on social communication and improving their pragmatic skills.

As you head into this internship, what scares you the most?

I’m only beginning my second semester of graduate school at Rush, so I’m a little intimidated with the responsibilities that I’m about to take on at speech IRL. There’s so much to learn and it’ll happen so fast, but I’m thrilled by the challenge! I know that when the internship is over, I will be so thankful for all the experiences I’ve had and everything I’ve learned in this beautifully unique environment.

Clinicians at speech IRL aim to honor our clients' journey by staying accountable to our own growth and living in a place of challenge. Please share one personal goal that you have for yourself during this internship, so that all of us (staff and clients!) can support you and celebrate your growth along the way.

My goal is to become more confident in my note and goal writing. I want to be able to do the paperwork as efficiently and timely as I’ve seen other experienced SLPs do it. I’ve already had the chance to admire some of the SLPs at speech IRL write their notes and I hope I can become just as skilled by the end of the internship! I welcome any and all critiques because I’m here to become the best SLP I can be.​

December 15, 2019

Stuttering on screen in 2019

So, to get us all up to speed on "stuttering stereotypes for 2019," (hint: there ain't no such thing!) here are three examples of recent nuanced portrayals of stuttering on screen. These characters are not villains, dunces, or terrified of their own shadow. With 70 million PWS around the globe, we finally have a growing collection of on-screen stories with people who stutter as regular people with hopes, dreams and love interests.

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October 7, 2019

Resources for Stuttering

Support groups

National Stuttering Association: Provides support, friendship, and information to the stuttering community. Hosts annual conference bringing together hundreds of people who stutter and their loved ones, and has local chapters throughout the country.

FRIENDS: Provides support, education, and empowerment to children and teens who stutter, their families and clinicians. Hosts annual convention and regional one-day conferences throughout the year. Offers mentor/mentee program - Stepping Up

Shared Voices: Community center in the greater Chicagoland community providing a home for people who stutter, and people impacted by stuttering, by creating a safe space and meaningful opportunities for connection.

SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young: Empowers, educates, and supports young people who stutter and the world that surrounds them. Programs include summer camp, speech therapy, and after-school programs.

Read more

July 11, 2019

What is Cluttering?

what is cluttering

Cluttering is one of the main speech disorders we treat here at Speech IRL. This communication challenge is also one of the most overlooked. Below, we've provided some information and treatment recommendations for those who clutter.

The “other” fluency disorder

One of the most famous fluency disorders is stuttering.  A "fluency disorder" is best described as a disorder which impacts the flow and rate of speech. Cluttering is also a fluency disorder and it affects how a person's speech is perceived by listeners.

What is cluttering?

A 2011 study by St. Louis and Schulte define cluttering as a perceived rapid and/or irregular speech rate, which results in breakdowns in speech clarity and/or fluency.

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May 22, 2019

Rapport: the key to successful stuttering treatment

Stuttering treatment is a mystery. Traditional interventions that prioritize fluency drills and speech strategies often fail to generalize. We are left wondering, why isn’t the client making progress?

Maybe we're looking in all the wrong places.

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April 26, 2019

Doing DEI

When I tell people that speech IRL is a “speech therapy and inclusion consulting firm,” I get a lot of quizzical looks. As we spend more and more time working with companies, HR departments, heads of talent, and D&I (diversity and inclusion)/DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) committees, I’ve struggled to concisely articulate how we got here from speech therapy.

Thankfully, a new large-scale study on the merits of diversity training breaks it down. The name “speech IRL” is based on the principle that learning what to do is easy, but the real measure of change and progress is actually doing something “in real life”-- which is far more challenging.
The research conclusions Chang et al, in partnership with the Wharton School, echo almost word-for-word the founding principles of our practice.

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March 12, 2019

Vocal Hygiene 101

By: Natalie Belling

How would we feel if we didn’t take a shower? Maybe we spent the day running errands, or commuting to and from work, or attending a yoga or spin class. If we didn’t take time to get clean—even if it’s just after a normal day—we would feel pretty disgusting. On many different levels, hygiene is a good thing!

Just as important as day-to-day hygiene is vocal hygiene. Vocal hygiene is something that we don't normally think about, and our voice can suffer because of it. The goal of a vocal hygiene program is to protect our voice so it can complete all of the tasks we want it to do throughout the day.

Vocal hygiene can be broken down into three areas:

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March 5, 2019

Mindful Communication

By: Rachel Muldoon

The concept of "mindfulness" has been buzzing around lately. What does it really mean and what does it have to do with communication?

Let's tackle some FAQ's.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness means being present. That can be, present to your thoughts, present to physical sensations, taste, touch, sight, sound, smell, or present to your feelings. What you can notice in a single moment is boundless, but often our minds draw us in to a limited portion of the experience.

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

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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
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