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. –

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.

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,, 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:

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 Contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or

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 ( 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.


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.”


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 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 ( ) 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 or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or .

High School Educator Takes Unusual Steps to Prepare for the New School Year

Spanish Teacher Gladys Rosario Attends HCRI Stuttering Therapy “Refresher” Program to Enhance Her Teaching Effectiveness

As students across the country get ready for the start of school, one Maryland teacher took some unusual steps to prepare for their return, which extended far beyond reviewing syllabi, lesson plans and text books. Gladys Rosario, a Spanish teacher at Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville, participated in a stuttering therapy “refresher” program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – ) in Roanoke, Virginia.

While an effective and popular teacher, Rosario also has a stuttering condition that she lives with every day. It started when she was six years old, and a range of therapies through the years failed to help her stop stuttering.

Then, in 2006, she heard about HCRI’s scientifically based, behavioral approach to stuttering therapy. It was different than other treatments she tried so Rosario enrolled in the 12-day intensive program. At HCRI, she learned specific techniques to replace faulty muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate lasting fluency.

“Participating in HCRI’s program was rigorous. Yet, it was the first therapy that worked for me,” Rosario said. “Before treatment, I would substitute one word for another so I could get my words to flow properly. After treatment, I could say what I wanted, when I wanted.”

Rosario’s new-found fluency enabled her to extend her impact as an educator outside of the classroom. She became involved in the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, a national initiative designed to enhance academic and behavioral outcomes in students. Rosario now serves as chair of the initiative at her school.

HCRI’s treatment gave me the tools and confidence to advance my career and become more involved in helping students excel. As chair of PBIS, I regularly speak in front of groups and call on businesses. My fluency skills make all the difference in my ability to be effective,” Rosario added.

In addition to stepped-up responsibilities at Queen Anne’s County High School, Rosario joined Toastmasters and won first place in an area speech competition. Yet, she readily admits that maintaining fluency requires ongoing practice.

Since she is bilingual, Rosario practices the skills she learned at HCRI in both Spanish and English. She decided to attend the Institute’s five-day refresher training in July to sharpen her speaking skills in both languages for the benefit of her students.

HCRI Therapy Across Languages

According to HCRI President and Founder Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., one of the unique aspects of HCRI’s methodology is that fluencly skills learned in English can be readily applied to nearly every other language. There are 66 million people in the world who stutter and three million in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.

“People who stutter come to us from across the U.S. and 47 other countries,” Webster explained. “Our clients have successfully transferred fluency skills they acquired at our center to a wide range of languages.”

In addition to Rosario’s native Spanish, participants have benefited from HCRI therapy to speak fluently in languages including Italian, Arabic, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbian, Greek, German, Chinese, Creole. Hindi, French, Irish, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch – even Ibibio, an African click language.

“With the ability to speak fluently and spontaneously, doors of opportunity open and people realize their true potential. We’ve seen this in thousands of cases, across languages,” Webster explained.

A 2012 survey of past HCRI clients revealed that 79 percent of people who stutter and participate in the Institute’s behavioral stuttering therapy improved their employment and career opportunities. Moreover, two-thirds of the 232 survey respondents said acquiring the ability to speak fluently helped increase their earnings and income potential.

For more information, visit or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 (toll-free), 540-265-5650

Top 10 Reasons to Choose HCRI for Stuttering Therapy

There are a wide range of stuttering therapy approaches available today, each with different methodologies and different short- and long-term fluency outcomes. Yet, choosing the right stuttering treatment that produces lasting results is critical to appropriately addressing this unique human disorder for which there is no cure.

According to nationally recognized stuttering research and treatment expert Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – ), a physically based speech reconstruction program represents the most powerful method for enhancing fluency and for simultaneously reducing the psychological burdens of stuttering.

Webster pioneered comprehensive behavioral stuttering therapy nearly forty years ago and founded HCRI to continue researching stuttering and enhancing treatment results. Through the years, HCRI’s therapy program has been continually refined with new treatment innovations and technological components that enhance the ease of fluency-skill learning and long-term fluency retention.

While people who stutter have many treatment options, HCRI stuttering therapy delivers among the highest fluency outcomes available. Research shows 93 percent of HCRI program participants achieve fluent speech within 12 days and 70-75 percent maintain fluency for the long-term.

In addition to leading therapy results, Webster offers these Top 10 Reasons to Choose HCRI.

10. You make a great personal investment.

9. You work with the inventors of modern, effective behavior therapy for stuttering.

8. Your clinicians are friendly, personable and highly competent professionals.

7. You participate in the original 12-day, intensive therapy for stuttering.

6. You have us as your fluency partners for life.

5. You benefit from our treatment of more than 6,000 individuals who stutter.

4. You master fluency, one achievable step after another.

3. You experience emotional growth and fear reduction as part of the therapy.

2. Your self-confidence goes up as you master fluency skills.

1. Fluent speech—it’s real and it works!!!

Webster encourages any one who is considering stuttering treatment to thoughtfully review and compare different therapy programs before making a decision. To learn more about HCRI stuttering therapy and the Institute’s approach to fluency training, visit or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 (toll-free), 540-265-5650, or