HCRI Stuttering Therapy: A Mother’s Experience

Annette Tepper of Birmingham, Michigan began stuttering when she was six years old. Her speech condition was not pronounced; yet, it inhibited her from speaking up in class and feeling comfortable with herself. She always worried that she would stutter when she spoke.

As she progressed through her education and grew into adulthood, Annette was able to manage her stuttering in most circumstances. Yet, she remained concerned about her speech and how stuttering can hinder an individual’s potential in life – professionally and socially.

mother and sonAnnette went on to marry and have a successful career as an engineer at Ford Motor Company. When she and her husband started their family, Annette watched for signs of stuttering with their two young children. She read that stuttering, in some cases, may have a genetic predisposition.

When her older child, Stephen, reached the age of six, he began to stutter. It was the same age that she started stuttering. Yet, unlike Annette’s mild case of stuttering, Stephen’s condition was severe.

The Teppers enrolled Stephen in speech therapy at school to help treat his stuttering. When that didn’t work, they took their son to private-practice speech therapists in the years that followed.

“There was some improvement with one of the therapists Stephen saw, but the results were not lasting. So Stephen moved forward with his young life, surrounded by accepting friends and supportive teachers,” Annette said. The Teppers continually encouraged their son and did everything possible to build his confidence so his speech would not get in the way of his aspirations.

When he entered his teens, Stephen became more self-conscious about his speech. He was ready to try a new type of therapy offered by Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). Annette learned about HCRI early in her career when she was investigating therapies for herself. The Virginia-based nonprofit center is recognized for its groundbreaking work in stuttering research and therapy innovation.

HCRI’s stuttering therapy is an intensive, 12-day behavioral program, which is designed for teens and adults who stutter. Invented by HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his research team, the therapy teaches individuals who stutter how to control misbehaving muscles that give rise to stuttering. At the same time, they learn new ways to use speech muscles to generate fluent speech at will.

“HCRI stuttering therapy is powerful and practical. Individuals receive one-on-one instruction by specially trained clinicians who guide them through each step of our fluency program.” Webster explained. “Participants also utilize our advanced technology and a proprietary mobile app that make fluency acquisition easier and exacting.”

Stuttering treatment takes place in HCRI’s clinical setting, as well as in real-world environments. When participants return home, they are provided with a comprehensive package of post-therapy support and practice tools to help maintain fluency.

Stephen worked hard throughout his 12-day program and was dedicated to the therapy process. According to Annette, by the end of treatment, Stephen’s speech had transformed from stuttering 90 percent of the time to speaking fluently 90 percent of the time.

When Stephen returned home, he practiced his newfound fluency skills each day. HCRI clinicians emphasize the importance of practice after therapy to habituate speech-muscle movements that generate fluency.

Two years later, as Stephen prepared for college, he asked to return to HCRI for two days to hone his fluency. With ambitions to study for a career in politics and public speaking, he wanted to ensure his speech was perfected for his future.

“As a parent, it feels so good to know Stephen has the tools to manage his stuttering and has achieved a high level of fluency. HCRI was the right decision for Stephen and I highly recommend it,” Annette said.

More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients include many students like Stephen, as well as individuals from all walks of life, including television journalists, business professionals, teachers, engineers, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a supreme court nominee, and even royalty.

HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive in Roanoke, Virginia . For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032.

Post Therapy Support at HCRI – Clinical Services

When stuttering therapy participants at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org) complete their 12-day program, they return home with a comprehensive package of HCRI support tools and clinical support to help them maintain fluency for the long term.

Tools for use after therapy include HCRI’s FluencyNet practice software, an iPhone app, program materials, and access to fluency practice groups. The HCRI clinical team actively stays in touch with program participants after therapy through phone contact and emails. Even years after completing therapy, HCRI clinicians welcome calls and emails from alumni needing support and guidance.

For many HCRI clients, stuttering therapy is a one-time experience; fluent speech has replaced stuttering and additional treatment is not necessary.  Yet if  individuals desire additional help to fine-tune their fluency, the institute provides a number of clinical programs. To participate in these programs, alumni need to contact a member of the clinical team for an assessment and discuss which program is the best match for their needs. Following are the clinical programs and services that HCRI offers after therapy.

Alumni Refresher

In this five-day program, targets are introduced at a one-second syllable duration. During the course of the week, participants move to practice at one-half-second syllable duration and then to slow-normal syllable duration. The program provides a review of stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. Other review includes target pairs, exaggeration, and covert practice. Additional activities include telephone transfer, daily situation transfer, and speeches. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive a packet of materials for follow-up and practice. Clinicians review this information with participants and discuss practice strategies that can be utilized at home.

Target Tune-Up

During this two and a half day course, practice sessions are at slow-normal syllable duration. Clinicians review stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. Clients practice using FluencyNet software and audio tracks. Target pairs, exaggeration, covert practice, and self correction are also covered. Additional activities include telephone transfer and daily situation transfer, including mall visits and speeches.

Remote Refresher Therapy – Eight-Session Package

This service enables alumni to review and refresh targets at home via FaceTime with a clinician. The therapy package includes eight one-hour sessions, which are scheduled two times per week. All practice and transfer is at slow-normal syllable duration. Therapy includes a review of stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. The remote program also covers target pairs, exaggeration, covert practice, and self correction. Computer practice is utilized with equipment mailed to alumni for the eight sessions. Transfer practice is tailored to each participant’s specific needs.

Remote Therapy – One-Hour Sessions

This flexible therapy option enables HCRI alumni to have one-on-one FaceTime transfer sessions with a clinician. Each session is tailored to the participant’s practice requirements, such as interview practice, presentations, introductions, question and answer sessions, and exaggeration practice. All sessions are at slow-normal syllable duration. The number of sessions is based on client needs.

For more information about HCRI post therapy support, contact the institute at info@stuttering.org or 855-236-7032.

Roanoke Valley Serves as an Inspiring Backdrop for HCRI’s International Stuttering Treatment Center

Participants in the Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) stuttering therapy program, held in Roanoke, Virginia, come ready to immerse themselves for 12 consecutive days to acquire skills that enable a lifetime of fluency.

Before arriving at the Institute, program participants engage in multiple communications by phone, mail and email with members of the HCRI team. This ensures attendees know exactly what to expect from their therapy experience and what is required to maximize fluency outcomes.

An evening view of Roanoke, Virginia -Photo by Joe Ravi

While attendees are well-informed about HCRI’s comprehensive behavioral treatment system, they often are surprised by the mountainous, lush beauty of the Roanoke area and the plethora of available activities.

Since the program’s 12 days are packed with therapy activities, many individuals make plans to return to the area or extend their stay to take in the recreation and area attractions.

Something for Everyone

McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail. – RoanokeOutside.com

Outdoor activities abound in the Roanoke Valley with the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, inspiring trails, expansive parks, scenic overlooks, lakes, wildlife, and rivers. From hiking and biking to kayaking and fishing, the Roanoke Valley offers enticing recreation to appeal to nearly every interest.

The Appalachian Trail goes through the Roanoke area and offers superb hiking, along with spectacular views. Other scenic trails pepper the area and offer fun and challenging hiking and mountain-biking adventures.

Smith Mountain Lake covers 20,600 acres and offers water activities and entertainment for all ages.
Smith Mountain Lake covers 20,600 acres and offers water activities and entertainment for all ages.

Nearby Smith Mountain Lake, with its 500 miles of beautiful shoreline, is a hub of activity for all types of water sports, including boating, skiing and swimming.

For anglers, the James River offers some of the best fishing in the state. The river is ideal for kayaking, canoeing and river tubing, as well.

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers unforgettable views of long-range vistas, pastoral landscapes and mountainscapes.
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers unforgettable views of long-range vistas, pastoral landscapes and mountainscapes.

For more leisurely outdoor activities, the Blue Ridge Parkway is minutes from Roanoke and a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon driving in the midst of breathtaking scenery. There are many overlooks along the way and places to picnic while taking in the views.

Visitors also enjoy spending time strolling and biking along the miles of Roanoke Valley Greenways that weave through the heart of the city and beyond. Plus, there are more than 70 parks in the area to enjoy.

Roanoke Star
The Roanoke Star is a popular destination and offers two overlooks with picturesque views of the city. -VisitRoanokeVa.com

Unique Attractions and Cultural Experiences

The Roanoke area features a wide range of appealing sights and attractions. These include the famous mountaintop Roanoke Star, the city’s charming historic downtown, unique shops, and award-winning restaurants.

Roanoke is rich in museums, including The Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Transportation, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke Pinball Museum, O. Winston Link Museum, History Museum of Western Virginia and others.

The area is host to a growing number of craft breweries and wineries that offer tours and tastings. The city provides a full calendar of special events, theater, concerts, and festivals throughout the year.

Easy Access

Our friendly city is easily accessible and within a day’s drive of 65% of the U.S. population. If you choose to fly, you will find the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport a short 15-minute drive to the Institute.

When you schedule your HCRI therapy, we will provide you with a list of area lodging options and contact information for reservations. We have negotiated special rates for HCRI program participants at nearby hotels – some within walking distance of the Institute – to help reduce your travel costs.

To learn more about HCRI stuttering therapy, please reach out by calling 855-236-7032 or send an email. Our website, www.stuttering.org, provides a host of helpful information, before-and-after therapy videos, and HCRI’s online therapy application.

For more about things to do in the Roanoke area, click here: VisitRoanokeVa.com.

HCRI Stuttering Therapy – Client Survey Results

At HCRI, we are committed to staying in contact with our stuttering therapy participants once they return home. This includes phone and email contact with clinicians, as well as providing a host of post-therapy practice tools to support long-term fluency.

Recently we surveyed our alumni to determine their perspectives about the impact of HCRI stuttering therapy participation on their lives. The feedback we received from the survey is highlighted in the infographic below.

Infographic - 2016 Alumni Survey Results - Border

 

 

 

Why Choose HCRI Stuttering Therapy? – Infographic

There are many factors that go into selecting an effective stuttering therapy program that is right for you. To help in your decision-making process, this infographic shows the outcomes you can expect from participating in the Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI) 12-day stuttering therapy program. It also illustrates why experience matters when it comes to choosing stuttering treatment. For more information, please visit www.stuttering.org. Contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org

Infographic - Why Choose HCRI Stuttering THerapya

Perspectives about HCRI Stuttering Therapy Participation

Stuttering therapy participant Bill R. attended the Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) 12-day intensive treatment program nearly one year ago. During a recent phone call, he answered the following questions and shared his perspectives about HCRI stuttering therapy and his experience with program participation.

Why did you choose HCRI stuttering therapy?

During my life, I tried about every type of stuttering therapy available, including using an auditory feedback device.

Yet, nothing worked for me. I continued to seek treatment options in hopes of finally finding a solution to my stuttering problem. Then, I heard about HCRI. I went to the center’s website (www.stuttering.org) to learn about HCRI’s behavioral therapy approach.

I saw the statistics about HCRI’s fluency success rates [93% achieve fluency in 12 days and 70-75% sustain fluent speech over time]. To be honest, I was skeptical of those numbers since my previous therapies didn’t produce results. HCRI’s fluency outcomes seemed too good to be true.

Yet, while I didn’t have a lot of hope that HCRI would help me, it was the one approach I hadn’t tried. I took a leap of faith and enrolled in the 12-day program.

What were your impressions on the first day of HCRI stuttering therapy?

I was nervous when I first arrived at HCRI. I was worried that the therapy wouldn’t work. Though, I saw HCRI as my last resort for getting my stuttering under control.

Describe your experience during the first half of your HCRI therapy program.

In the first week, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The way the therapy is designed to systematically progress, you don’t see fluency results until the last few days. Initially, it was hard for me to link what the clinicians were teaching ­– and the speech exercises I practiced – to the ultimate outcome of fluent speech.

Yet, I remained committed to the therapy process. I worked hard each day and followed the guidance of HCRI’s clinicians. In the evenings, I continued to practice the speech techniques I learned so I wouldn’t slip back into my old way of speaking.

What were your impressions during the second week of therapy?

Everything came together during the second half of my HCRI program and particularly in the last two days. What I was learning and doing all made sense. Week 2 is where you reap the rewards of your hard work. Each day, my speech got better and better. It was impressive.

What are your thoughts about HCRI now that nearly a year has passed since your therapy program?

I am a fluent speaker now. The fluency statistics on HCRI’s website hold true. Yet, they directly correlate with an individual’s work ethic each day of treatment. If someone stays dedicated to the therapy process and works hard every day, fluency will happen. There’s no limit to the success and fluency you can achieve.

In addition to the actual therapy, the support system you have with HCRI makes such a difference. HCRI clinicians are always there for you – during therapy and once you return home. I check in with them every few weeks to keep my speech on track. Mentally and through speech, that support system promotes such confidence. If I run into an issue with stuttering, HCRI clinicians take the time to work with me over the phone to address it.

Also, you become close with other therapy participants and help one another during the program and afterwards. I’ve stayed in contact with a number of people from my program. We regularly talk on the phone and practice the skills we learned to maintain fluency.

What advice to you have for others considering HCRI stuttering therapy?

Most other stuttering therapies treat the symptoms, which is why results don’t last. At HCRI, you focus on the source of your stuttering and relearn how to speak to generate fluency. Before coming to HCRI, I didn’t grasp the success that could be achieved.

Now that I have fluent speech, I’ve excelled in my career. I just accepted a new position that requires me to speak in front of groups on a regular basis. I wish more people who stutter knew about HCRI and the difference it can make in your life.

So my advice is… If you are committed to fluent speech, HCRI is the place to go.

Speech Transformation over 12 Days with HCRI Stuttering Therapy

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) conducts 12-day intensive stuttering therapy programs throughout the year to help people overcome stuttering conditions that range from mild to severe. The center’s unique treatment approach is systematic, quality-controlled, and results-driven.

Specially trained clinicians work one-on-one with stuttering therapy participants to help each individual acquire new ways of using speech muscles to generate fluent speech. Each participant benefits from expert clinical guidance, advanced therapy technology, fluency training in real-world environments, and ongoing support once they return home.

By the end of treatment, research shows that 93 percent of participants achieve fluency. Seventy to 75 percent maintain fluent speech for the long term.

The change in speaking ability and confidence among participants from the first day of HCRI stuttering therapy to the last is dramatic. Consider the answers to these questions from four people (Mario T., Justin R., Gillian E. and Jason M.) who participated in a recent 12-day HCRI stuttering therapy program.

DAY 1 of HCRI THERAPY

How does stuttering affect you?

  • “It holds me back from doing things I like to do. Stuttering puts a dent in my confidence.”
  • “Stuttering influences my life in the military and hinders me from what I want to say.”
  • “Stuttering keeps me from moving up in my company. It also affects my daily life and causes stress.”
  • “Stuttering slows me down at work and I’m not outgoing socially. In addition, my wife has to order for me when we go out.”

How would your life be different if you could control your stuttering?

  • “My life would be much simpler. It’s just hard to say what I want to say.”
  • “It would be a huge stress reliever not to stutter. I would be in the public a lot more, moving up a lot more in my company, and able to achieve my goals and dreams that I’ve had for a very long time.”
  • “I like to talk a lot but I try not to talk because I don’t want to make a fool of myself.  If I could talk normally, I would participate more in school and go out with friends.  I would raise my hand more often in class because I usually know the answer but I’m afraid I’ll mess up.”
  • “I would have a lot more confidence if I didn’t stutter. I wouldn’t have to worry about my speech so much and I could focus on other things.”

DAY 12 of HCRI THERAPY

How will things be different now that you can control your stuttering?  

  • “I can go out. I can be more independent. I don’t have to worry about my wife ordering things for me. I can make phone calls. I can just achieve more.”
  • “I believe that I will get the job that I am applying for. I will be able to socialize more in public, I just feel a lot happier now.”
  • “Now that I have some great techniques that will enable me to control my speech, I will be more able to speak in public situations and public settings.”
  • “I’m going to join clubs and go back to church. I stopped because I didn’t want to meet new kids or get called on and have to talk.”

What would you tell others about HCRI stuttering therapy?  

  • “If you are sick and tired of stuttering, then invest in yourself and come to HCRI.”
  • “Don’t stop and don’t give up.  I feel great.  I feel that I have taken so many steps forward with HCRI.”
  • “If you are considering HCRI, you should come. You gain more confidence and you talk fluently at the end of the program.”
  • “Try HCRI. I’ve achieved things here that I never thought I would achieve. It’s very worth it.”

For information about HCRI therapy, click here: Hollins Fluency System II – Advanced Speech Reconstruction for Stuttering™.

HCRI “Firsts” in Stuttering Therapy

While HCRI is a small nonprofit organization, the Institute has made big, ground-breaking advancements in the treatment of stuttering.

HCRI’s innovative work through the years has transformed thousands of lives through fluency. Consider these pioneering “firsts” in the treatment of stuttering.

HCRI was the…

  • First to develop a quality controlled, measurable stuttering therapy that delivers lasting results to individuals who stutter
  • First to identify and define fluency generating “target” behaviors in speech
  • First to incorporate a comprehensive array of scientifically based principles of learning into stuttering treatment. This enabled the acquisition and long-term retention of fluent speech.
  • First to develop and document the detailed therapy steps required for successful treatment outcomes
  • First to create and implement an intensive clinician training program to ensure the effective delivery of HCRI stuttering therapy
  • First to invent and use advanced technology in stuttering treatment to make learning fluency skills easier and more precise
  • First to develop an extensive package of post-therapy support, including FluencyNet and an iPhone app, which help alumni maintain fluency for the long term

HCRI was founded in 1972 by stuttering expert and clinical psychologist Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. The team at the nationally recognized stuttering treatment center continues to develop new therapy advancements and invent technologies that make fluency skills more easily attainable, measurable  and long lasting for therapy participants. The Institute has treated more than 6,300 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

For more about HCRI and the nonprofit center’s innovative approach to stuttering therapy, please visit www.stuttering.org. HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Virginia 24019.

Advice for Incoming HCRI Stuttering Therapy Participants from Clients Completing Treatment

Following are insights provided by HCRI therapy program participants who just completed their 12-day intensive treatment program at the Institute’s treatment center in Roanoke, Virginia. Their advice is geared toward individuals who are just starting their fluency training at HCRI.

  • Leave the past behind. We all have a new life in front of us. We all have the ability to move forward. This is going to change your life forever….No one is worth it more than you…Believe in the program and in yourself, this will lead to a lifetime of success.
  • We may not choose to stutter but we choose to be fluent. Realize the choice and invest in yourself.
  • Take these 12 days to disconnect from the rest of your life and focus on the one aspect that has troubled you for so long. It will take 100% of your effort but….you are 1 step closer to commanding your fluency.
  • We didn’t say it was going to be easy. We said it’s going to be worth it.
  • You have already made the effort to change your life by coming down here, that right there shows so much in yourself. Don’t give up you can change your life.
  • The journey to fluency may not be easy but there is light at the end of the tunnel. That light is called fluency!
  • You have been given empirical evidence throughout the past 11 days that YOU CAN control your speech. Focus on where you are now going, the possibilities ahead of you, not where you have been.
  • This can be a turning point in your life. For me I know it will be because I will practice as much as the clinicians tell me. If you make the same wise choice, you will LIMITLESS.
  • This program works, I know. I was once where you are. I beat stuttering. Practice-Patience-Perseverance-Payoff!

For more about participation in HCRI stuttering therapy, click here: What to Expect from HCRI Stuttering Therapy>>.

Contact HCRI any time if you have questions or need more information.

HCRI Stuttering Treatment Provides Unexpected Outcomes for Two Therapy Participants

ScottNatalie160From Stuttering to Fluency to Falling in Love

Nonprofit Hollins Communications Research Institute (www.stuttering.org ) has helped thousands of people who stutter acquire life-long fluency skills. Yet, the ability to overcome stuttering was only one of the positive outcomes for HCRI therapy participants Scott Morris of Roanoke, Virginia and Natalie Baren of Mountain Brook, Alabama.

In addition to the ability to speak fluently for the first time in their lives, participation in HCRI stuttering therapy enabled them to meet one another. They fell in love and are now engaged to be married.

“We are accustomed to seeing successful results from HCRI stuttering treatment. Yet, Scott and Natalie’s story is certainly extraordinary. Finding fluency and love; it doesn’t get any better than that. All of us at HCRI are thrilled for them,” said HCRI President Dr. Ron Webster.

Morris and Baren’s experience with stuttering and journey to fluency took different paths. For Morris, stuttering served as a “constant obstacle.” Throughout school and college, he was actively involved in student government, clubs, sports and volunteer organizations. Each time he had to speak in front of people, which was frequently, Morris spent an inordinate number of hours preparing to minimize his stuttering. The speech therapy he had at an early age did little to help.

The turning point for Morris came when he applied to medical school, which involved face-to-face interviews with three prestigious medical schools. His grades and test scores were exceptional. Yet, he was concerned about his stuttering and whether it could compromise his chances of acceptance. While, he was accepted by two of the three medical schools, Morris knew that he must address his stuttering or it would hold him back in the future.

He decided to attend the 12-day stuttering therapy program at HCRI. While therapy was hard work, it transformed his speech. To help stabilize Morris’s newly acquired fluency skills, HCRI provided post-therapy clinician support, fluency tools, and access to practice groups. It was through practice and attending an HCRI event that Morris met Baren.

“Ever since HCRI therapy, I’ve noticed continued, appreciable improvement in my speech. Now I confidently make presentations in front of groups. In addition, I don’t stutter when talking with physicians, residents or my patients. It feels great and is so important,” Morris said.

For Baren, stuttering was more of an ongoing annoyance while growing up. Though her stuttering was mild, she grew more concerned about it as she got older. As a freshman in college, Baren took an introductory course on communicative disorders that included stuttering. That course helped define her future career. She was so interested in the topic of speech disorders that she decided to become a speech therapist.

Along with getting her degree, she enrolled in an HCRI stuttering therapy program  to address her own speech condition. “I wanted to be proactive about getting help for my stuttering and serve as a role model. I chose HCRI’s therapy program because the Institute specializes in stuttering and treats it as a physical condition.” Baren explained. “The behavioral therapy met my needs and included a range of fluency tools and support once I returned home.”

In fact, HCRI’s post-therapy support provided benefits beyond Baren’s expectations. After she and Morris met, they became fluency-practice partners – and that led to their eventual engagement. They plan to marry in 2014 when Morris graduates from medical school. Baren accomplished her career objective and is now a speech therapist for a large school system.

“My advice to anyone who stutters is to seek treatment that works for you. Follow your career interests and passions. Don’t let stuttering ever hold you back,” Baren said.

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute was founded by Dr. Ron Webster in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Roanoke, Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative, scientifically based therapy approaches.

HCRI’s intensive, 12-day behavioral treatment involves teaching people how to replace faulty speech muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech.  HCRI clinicians have treated more than 6,100 people from across the U.S. and 47 other countries. Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcaster John Stossel of Fox News; Annie Glenn, wife of Senator and Astronaut John Glenn; as well as athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, a supreme court nominee, business professionals, police officers, actors, and even royalty.

HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org .