I founded speech IRL in 2013. My career at that point had carried me through the traditional speech pathology settings: schools, hospitals and nursing homes, pediatric private practices. Along the way, I had a few encounters with clients who didn't "belong" in these environments that were designed for people who where either very young or very sick. A doctor with a stutter. An architect with a lisp. A graduate student with a weak voice. These individuals all had a specific communication "problem" that led them to speech therapy, but their communication needs extended far beyond the scope of traditional diagnosis-focused services. Their "mild" issues (by medical standards) resulted in avoiding social activities, holding back in meetings and professional engagement opportunities, and impacting confidence in anything related to speaking.
I wondered how many others were out there, facing these same challenges, without anywhere to go except for a rehab center or office with kiddie-sized tables. My founding vision for speech IRL was to provide a place for anyone wanting communication change, who felt they didn't fit in the usual therapy box.
Years later, we continue to embrace a philosophy of exploring the unknown. Our work has evolved and expanded thanks to the myriad experiences and requests of the clients who walk through our doors, especially the ones who aren't quite sure why they're here.
We've grown from simply working with individuals to working with teams and organizations. We've translated the foundations of clinical science-- neuroscience, psychology, behavioral science, cognitive science, and counseling-- into methods and practices for department-level change.
We've learned that real communication change is a group effort. In addition to working with individuals and businesses to create internal change, we partner with other organizations to educate the world on communication diversity and differences. Our goal is to create a better world for diverse communicators by changing communication environments on broad scale.
Internally, we continue to build a practice that values creativity and challenge. Our entire team maintains low productivity caseloads so that they can develop new programs and learning opportunities for our clients and community. We invest our time in clinical training for graduate students. We're always working on something that we've never done before, disciplining ourselves to live in the same place of vulnerability and discomfort that we ask of our clients.
Science, philosophy, and courage infuse everything we do. We aren't always sure where we'll end up. In 2013, I dared to hope that we might be doing this scale and variety of weird work. We continue to explore, fail, create, and grow, and see where it takes us. To us, that's the meaning of IRL.
Whether you're a professional, a parent, a partner, or a business leader looking to address organizational-level interaction issues, we use soulful science to move your forward.