We believe people and their individual stories are foundational to everything we do. Our work is inspired by the real-life stories shared with us every day. Our hiring philosophy places a strong emphasis on nonstandard approaches to speech thearpy and learning development. We believe this better equips us to creatively problem-solve real-world communication challenges.
Katie is the founder of speech IRL. She currently serves as our clinical director and manages our community partnerships and business programs. Katie is a longtime member of the stuttering community and serves in various non-profit organizations. She speaks regularly about stuttering, business issues in private practice, and non-traditional approaches to speech-language pathology.
I'm the office manager and administrative lead at speech IRL. I love to organize things and solve problems. Let's face it, insurance can be a big problem. I enjoy helping others navigate through this confusing process. I'm also interested in learning more about the business world and the perspective of a small business. In addition to keeping the speech IRL office running smoothly, I provide clinical services to middle school students in Chicago Public Schools, as well as multilingual assessments. I've seen the benefits of therapy first hand and can attest to the life-changing power of consistent and direct therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The greatest lesson I've gained from practicing as an SLP is that I can learn as much from my clients as they can from me.
I believe that one of the most important communication skills we can learn is how to overcome the feeling of pressure to respond immediately. Giving yourself the time to formulate the answer you actually want to give rather than saying something for the sake of speeding a conversation along.
Chicago is my hometown, and I enjoy spending my downtime by bicycling (and, of course, bingeing on Netflix!).
Social communication, multilingual evaluation and treatment, business and practice issues in clinical care services
As a speech therapist who stutters, I personally struggled with my speech as I was growing up. Working through the challenge of finding my voice completely changed my perspective on speech therapy and communication as a whole, and provided me with a passion to help others find their voice as well. The biggest lesson I've learned from my clients is that we have all of the solutions and answers right in front of us—we just need someone to help us change our perspective. I believe that the most important aspect of communication is discovering and cultivating your true and authentic voice.
Before I was an SLP, I worked at Borders Books and Music (RIP). Outside of work, you can find me reading voraciously, visiting museums, and exploring Chicago's architecture. My favorite place in Chicago is the Nature Boardwalk in Lincoln Park. My family has lived in Chicago for generations, and I love being a Chicago native!
Stuttering, voice, cognition and communication, parent education and empowerment
I began my career in primate behavior (which led me to study chimpanzees and gorillas at Lincoln Park Zoo!), but quickly realized that speech pathology was my true passion. I am a person who stutters, and have been involved with the National Stuttering Association for years. I came to speech IRL as a client in 2013, where my discussions with Katie Gore became a catalyst for change and inspiration. I realized how complicated stuttering therapy was and how little most speech pathologists know about stuttering. I became dedicated to changing that.
The biggest thing I've learned from working with clients is that "severity" is not external, it's internal. Many of our clients "get by" and "pass" in the real world, while the real "disorder" is missed. Whether it's a slight s distortion, a faster than normal rate, a stutter that's barely noticeable on the outside, or a social communication impairment that others perceive as just "weird" — all of these have a profound effect on the person's life. These are things that standardized tests, and most traditional speech therapies, miss.
I joined speech IRL with a passion for stuttering and social communication disorders in teens and adults, but I've greatly enjoyed learning more about language disorders and articulation impairments in adults. I love seeing my clients conquer something — whether it's by successfully implementing a specific strategy or adopting a newfound outlook on life. I also enjoy running groups. There's something so powerful about two people with similar experiences being in the same room for the first time.
Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, writing, traveling, and baking. I started my own cookie company in college, and opening a bakery is my career backup plan.
Stuttering, social communication, language, research
Growing up with a military father and a traveler’s spirit, I have lived in no less than 4 countries (USA, Germany, Chile, UK) and 5 states (IL, WI, MD, HI, TX) in my life! This adventurous, ever-changing experience carries into how I approach speech therapy. Because everyone sees and experiences the world differently, my view of “typical” has evolved over the years.
When I introduce an exercise with an intention of exploring A,B,C and my client brings up points 1,2,3, it is uncomfortable, inconvenient, exciting and very important. I have to reach to experience that new, different perspective. But if I can’t reach the client where they’re at, see from their point of view, how can I expect them to see from mine?
Language is fascinating to me. It informs how we think, how we analyze and how we interpret. Each mind is a unique world and that world is shaped through the language of the individual. What I love about my job is that I get an opportunity to glimpse into a plethora of minds, diverse in language acquisition, social language, and foreign language. I then get to show my clients a new world of language as well.
The most important communication skill we can develop, in my opinion, is the willingness to make mistakes. This is something I believe for my non-SLP life as well. I'm a certified yoga teacher and aim to incorporate mindfulness and acceptance into daily personal and professional work. I was a ballet dancer for several years (including six Nutcracker performances), although now you can find me relaxing with simple joys like reading, being outside, and spending time with family.
Social communication, accent modification, mindfulness, business and workplace communication, bilingual (Spanish-English) communication, cluttering
I do what I do because I'm passionate about helping people feel that what they are putting out for the rest of the world to see/hear matches how they want to be perceived. There are so many unknowns in life, so it's nice to give my clients a sense of control over how they communicate with others and the impressions they give. I'm all about self-empowerment, and helping others find that is the absolute best part of what I do.
One of the most impactful lessons I've learned from my clients is that being present in the moment and truly listening to who you're working with is more beneficial and important than any amount of preparation. If your mind is somewhere else, like what you want to work on next, you could miss picking up on something your client needs/wants to work on more.
Also- I've learned to not have set in stone expectations. I've had clients who have come in describing a certain way they want to sound, but then through exploring will find something much more authentic and natural. Even though the finished product wasn't necessarily what they were expecting, they're more satisfied with the result because it feels more honest.
I love working with transgender and cisgender clients seeking voice and communication modification. Clients with vocal difficulties, such as performers/singers who chronically lose or damage their voice - I have a performance background, so I l love helping to teach people a healthy and sustainable way to use their voice professionally. I also enjoy working with adult and pediatric language clients.
I'm originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I spent a few years teaching improv before moving to Chicago to become a speech-language pathologist. I love reading, gardening, attending musical and theatrical performances, and trying new restaurants both in Chicago and while traveling. I'm known for my undying love of Mariah Carey.
Voice, transgender voice and communication, gendered voice and communication, gender diversity issues in workplace communication
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