My stuttering didn’t bother me when I was a child. Though, my parents arranged for me to participate in speech therapy while I was in school. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I became more self-conscious and concerned about the impact stuttering was having on my life.
I continually worried about my ability to communicate and would go to great lengths to avoid situations where I would have to speak to others. When I began interviewing for jobs as college graduation approached, my stuttering became even more pronounced. As a result, I went for some therapy at a nearby university and found it to be a turning point.
Going through the treatment process enabled me to be open and honest about my stuttering problem instead of pretending like it didn’t exist. My speech improved and I landed a job that I liked.
Yet, the results of my earlier treatment didn’t last. A few years later, my stuttering became more prominent and I decided to go through the HCRI program. I chose Hollins because the institute specializes in the treatment of stuttering — and not other types of speech issues. I found HCRI’s approach more advanced and sophisticated. It has made real difference in my life.
US Air Force
I’ve struggled with stuttering since I was young. Over the years, I tried a variety of approaches to overcome my speech impediment, including a home-treatment course designed to promote fluency. While nothing helped my stuttering, I focused on my education and career aspirations to become a writer.
When I decided to go to graduate school and study journalism, people thought it was strange that I was going into a communications field as a stutterer. Even though I had difficulty conducting phone interviews, I successfully completed graduate school and landed a position as a reporter for a daily newspaper.
On the job, I noticed my stuttering was getting worse – especially when I was doing face-to-face interviews. It was obvious I was making people uncomfortable when I interviewed them. That’s when I realized I needed to take serious action to address my speech.
I researched different therapy programs and read about broadcast journalist John Stossel’s successful experience with HCRI. That’s what ultimately led me to attend the Hollins program.
After two-weeks of intensive therapy, I spoke beautifully. A few months later, I realized I needed to keep practicing the techniques I learned to maintain fluency. I started a practice group for stutterers that still meets regularly.
My work as a journalist continued to progress. On a daily basis, I comfortably interview people I’ve never met, have overcome my need for verbal cues, and speak fluently. I’m now working towards becoming an editor and extending my communication skills to supervise others.
York Daily Reporter
As long as I can remember, I was shy and unsure of myself because of my stuttering. While academically successful in school, kids used to make fun of me because of my stuttering.
Sometimes my classmates were nasty and even brutal. My parents tried to help by taking me to psychologists and speech therapists. Yet, those professionals didn’t know how to treat stuttering and the therapy didn’t work.
When I was older, I got a job that required some interaction with people. I was so fearful of using the telephone that I would take the time to drive and meet with people in person rather than call them. Throughout my life, when I made phone calls, people would hang up on me because I couldn’t get my words out when they answered. It was so demeaning.
On the personal front, my dating life was terrible. Women weren’t interested in seeing me after the first date. I was convinced that I was going to be a life-long bachelor.
Then I heard about HCRI and went through the program. It changed my life. Finally I was able to talk fluently, have conversations on the phone, express myself, and look people in the eye during discussions. I gained self-confidence and felt good about myself.
With the stuttering therapy and ongoing practice, my life dramatically improved – professionally and personally. The job I have now and the positions I have held couldn’t have been possible without Hollins. Soon after attending the institute, I met my wife and we just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.
I grew up as a severe stutterer and always avoided situations where I would have to talk, including never wanting to use the phone. I was always aware of what other people thought and the many misconceptions that exist about stutterers.
Some people assumed I stuttered because of nerves. Others thought my speech issues were related to a mental condition or lack of intelligence. At one point, a college professor told me that he thought I stuttered because I had been struck by lightening.
While I saw a number of speech therapists, HCRI was the first therapy program that enabled me to get control of my speech. Finally, I could talk fluently. I was a freshman in college at the time and believe HCRI helped me open doors and go places in my life that I never thought possible.
Having fluent speech enabled me to more actively participate in my education, assume leadership roles, volunteer as a basketball coach, and help achieve my career aspirations.
What you learn at HCRI doesn’t last just a few weeks — it lasts forever.
Stuttering was a major handicap for me until the age of 42. It colored everything I did and stopped me from being able to do the things I wanted to do.
I didn’t go to college because I didn’t want to be in a classroom situation and speak around people whom I didn’t know. I didn’t seek out the type of jobs I wanted. Instead, I worked in the back-room of a bank where I didn’t have to talk with people.
I tried a number of treatment programs over the years that were recommended to me, including speech therapy, hypnosis, and psychiatric therapy. A doctor even cut the membrane under my tongue in hopes of stopping my stuttering. Nothing worked.
Then, I found out about HCRI. I went for treatment and, for the first time, was taught ways to make my speech more fluent. That’s when my life began to change.
As my speech improved, so did my confidence. I sought new jobs in different fields that enabled me to interface with the public. At one point, I even worked for a member of the New York Assembly, where I wrote and gave speeches on governmental and activist-related issues.
Now that I’m retired, I’ve written a play and am involved with a theatre group. I also volunteer my time to work at a hospital information desk. The HCRI therapy program changed my life and opened up new worlds to me.
Writer and Community Volunteer
The tipping point that led me to HCRI occurred on Christmas Eve 1992 when my ambulance crew was dispatched to a residence for a gentleman in cardiac arrest.
We arrived on scene and immediately began advanced resuscitative measures. Since our location was perfectly situated between three hospitals, I asked the distraught spouse to which hospital she would like her husband transported. She looked at me in disbelief, having not processed the gravity of the situation, and asked why her husband must go to a hospital.
Behind me the team was simultaneously shocking the patient and preparing to intubate him. There was equipment everywhere, flashing lights shining in the window, a stretcher being clumsily dropped to floor level, and syringe wrappers scattered about.
I attempted to explain that her husband needed continued treatment in an emergency room setting, but when I tried to talk no words came out.
In this moment of extreme crisis I couldn’t speak. So I did the only thing I could think of in that situation. I stepped to the side and made a “ta-daaa…” motion with my hands at the scene behind me. (I pray this woman has forgiven me.)
Right then and there I knew I could not wait any longer. I had to do something about my stuttering. I contacted HCRI and went through the stuttering therapy program. I can now communicate effectively and speak fluently. I am so grateful to the people at HCRI.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing
I spent my life avoiding new situations where I would have to interact with people. I wouldn’t go to new restaurants because I didn’t want to be faced with trying to say my order to the waiter. The small things that people take for granted – like talking on the telephone or answering questions — were hard for me because of my stuttering.
My speech not only inhibited my social life, it caused difficulties and embarrassment in my work as a trial court officer and when I helped with my family’s funeral home business.
I attended HCRI when I was young and didn’t keep up with the program or take it seriously. As I got older, I experienced even more difficulty with stuttering and decided to go back and attend the Hollins program again. This time I was more mature, applied the techniques I learned, and saw results. There was close to a 100 percent improvement in my communication.
The therapists at the institute worked with me one-on-one and made sure I fully understood what they were teaching. It was incredible how much time they spent with me. They wanted to ensure I fully understood what to do and why I needed to do it. While I still have my moments, my speech is more controllable now than it was before. Communicating is much easier and better. I am comfortable introducing myself, answering questions, and speaking in public. With HCRI, there’s a lot to it. You only get out of it what you put into it. I would recommend the program to everyone. Life for me has improved greatly.
Massachusetts Trial Court Officer
Stuttering made me feel badly about myself and impacted all aspects of my life. I would go to great lengths to avoid situations where I would have to talk because I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
In spite of my speech issues, I went on to earn my Ph.D. and took a faculty position at a large university. Yet when I was teaching, sometimes my vocal chords would close up unexpectedly and I couldn’t talk.
At professional meetings, I would leave the room when it was time for everyone to introduce themselves for fear that I wouldn’t be able to say my name. At social gatherings, my husband did the talking for both of us. I felt it was a burden on him with my not being able to introduce myself or hold a conversation.
I almost turned down the presidency of a professional organization out of fear of giving the welcoming speech at meetings. I accepted the position and started a tradition of having the vice president give the opening remarks instead of me.
After years of avoiding situations that required me to speak, I learned about HCRI and participated in the program. It was intense work and I knew I would need to practice regularly once I left the institute. It took about a year until everything clicked and I had the confidence to speak fluently without visualizing each word in my head.
The tools and techniques I learned at Hollins transformed my life. Now I give speeches regularly and make “cold calls” asking people to support philanthropic causes. I’m also in charge of a major fundraising gala and am preparing to talk before 700 people.
I couldn’t have done any of this without Hollins. I would advise people who stutter to be kind to themselves. Attend HCRI, have faith in yourself and be patient. With dedicated effort and ongoing practice, the program will help you.
As a stutterer, I knew I had to work smarter and harder than fluent speakers to be successful in my career. That’s what led me to HCRI where I acquired the tools that enabled me to speak fluently.
With a continuing drive for excellence and my new-found communication abilities, I was able to excel through the ranks of a global corporation. I was told by H.R. that I would be appointed within a year as the new company G.M. Yet, when it came time for the board of directors to vote, they chose someone else to fill the position.
It was a tremendous blow – especially since I had turned down a lucrative job offer on the assurance that I was in line for the big job. As a result, I left the company and put my expertise and success strategies to work for another organization; this time an advertising agency.
One day, shortly after I left, I received a call from a board member from my former company. He was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer and wanted to meet with me right away. In our conversation, he revealed that he had resigned because one board member convinced others that my stuttering was a symptom of mental illness and I could not be trusted to lead the company.
I was shocked by the news and resolved that day to prove my abilities by making my current company the best in the world. Fifteen years later, the organization rose to the top of the ad agency world and I had accomplished my goal.
I am a stutterer and am always going to be a stutterer. I am fluent most of the time because I practice each day the techniques I learned at HCRI. I believe the miracle is in each of us to succeed. We must use what we have.
Sander A. Flaum
Managing Partner & CEO
Chairman, Fordham Leadership Forum
Fordham Graduate School of Business
Stuttering consists of repetitions or prolongations of sounds, syllables, or words, or frequent, unusual hesitations and pauses that disrupt the flow of speech. The severity of the problem varies from situation to situation and is most severe when there is special pressure to communicate, as during a job interview. Moderate to severe cases often include fearful anticipation of stuttering with avoidance of particular sounds, words or situations in which stuttering is anticipated. In addition, there may be eye blinks, tics, tremors of the lip or jaw, or jerking of the head. Often stuttering limits occupational choice and job advancement, and can severely restrict one’s social life.
Since the early 1970’s research at HCRI has revealed that most people could be “retaught” to speak fluently and that stuttering happens in your muscles, not your mind.
It is this continuing research that has been refined into the world’s leading treatment, The Hollins Fluency System™, with patented software specifically designed to help produce the 90% success rate of the participants who complete the HCRI program.
Along with psychologists, speech pathologists and professional support personnel that staff the Institute, effective research is made better with today’s computers. Computers that listen and provide immediate and accurate feedback while collecting important scientific data that can truly be measured and documented. Consistent long term follow ups with our clients continue to define the development and direction of our research and treatment system.
Data show the following about stuttering:
- The age of onset of stuttering is normally between the ages of two and four
- Stuttering occurs four times more often in males than females.
- Recent research indicates a high probability of a genetic factor involved with stuttering. (Often stutterers have relatives who also stutter.)
At HCRI, thousands have completed our therapy program, and we remain committed to developing and to providing the most efficient and effective therapy program available anywhere for individuals who stutter.Click here for the answers to some frequently asked questions about attending our therapy program..