A Primer on Stuttering: Incidence, Characteristics and Treatment

Stuttering is one of humankind’s most misunderstood and mistreated disorders.

Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

In this primer on stuttering, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. provides an overview on the prevalence and characteristics of stuttering, along with key genetic findings and treatment options. Dr. Webster is president and founder of Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI). He also is a clinical psychologist, author, and professor emeritus of psychology. HCRI is an internationally recognized center for stuttering research and treatment innovation.

When Did Stuttering First Appear in Humans?

Stuttering is unique to humans and has a long, long history in human experience. Research and publications suggest that stuttering became part of the human condition as long as 60,000 years ago and evolved along with our species, homo sapiens.

Ancient Egyptian clay tablets from 4,000 years B.C. referenced stuttering and labeled it “nit-nit.” Chinese poetry noted stuttering over 2,500 years ago B.C. The Bible and Koran make reference to stuttering in a number of instances. In particular, the Bible suggests that Moses may have been a stutterer and, for that reason, asked his brother Aaron to read the Ten Commandments after he came down from the mountain.

Incidence of Stuttering

Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a global disorder, occurring in one-percent of the population. Thus, in the U.S., there are approximately three million persons who stutter. Globally, stutterers number about 70 million. Stuttering affects four times as many males as females. The type and severity of stuttering varies by individual – and the condition may change in intensity, based on the day and speaking situation.

Characteristics and Onset of Stuttering

Individuals who stutter experience involuntary disruptions in their flow of speech, which impacts their ability to speak fluently and effectively communicate in everyday situations.

primer on stutteringStuttering is characterized by interruptions in the flow of speech that take the form of repetitions of sounds, syllables and words (as with “my-my-my-my house”); prolonging the initial sounds of syllables (like “n-n-n-no”); and voice blockage when no sound is produced. These speech characteristics may be accompanied by overt physical behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks, facial twitches or tremors of the lips.

The onset of stuttering typically occurs in 4 to 5 percent of children. It happens when children are between two and four years of age, as speech and language skills are developing. While about 69% of children will outgrow the problem by age 12, their stuttering can negatively impact friendships, daily interactions, and school performance.

If childhood stuttering persists into adolescence, it is unlikely that spontaneous remission will occur as the person ages. Life-long stuttering can dramatically impede social, educational and economic growth, as well as limit the realization of an individual’s personal potential. Stutterers are estimated to earn about $5,000 to $8,000 per year less than their peers who do not stutter.

More on the cost of stuttering >>

Role of Genetics in Stuttering

Stuttering is well known to occur within families. Around 70% of persons who stutter can identify another family member or members who stutter.  For men who have ever stuttered, 9% of their daughters and 22% of their sons likely will be stutterers. For women who have ever stuttered, 17% of their daughters and 36% of their sons likely will be identified as stutterers. Thus, the evidence suggests that women pass on genetic material related to stuttering more than men, even though they are found to stutter less themselves.

In a breakthrough study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), three mutant genes linked to stuttering were identified, and the identification of a fourth mutant gene followed. HCRI collaborated with the NIDCD on this genetic research, as well as with follow-up studies.

HCRI’s work on the genetics of stuttering >>

At the present time, one or more of the mutant genes have been found in approximately 20% of cases showing stuttering. Further research is likely to identify additional mutant genes involved in the causation of stuttering. The key point is that clear evidence of genetic involvement with stuttering support the basic thesis that mechanisms internal to the biological function of humans are causal in stuttering.

In addition to genetic factors, evidence is developing that both children and adults who stutter display anomalies of brain structure and function in areas involved in the production of speech.

Treatment Approaches

There is no cure for stuttering; yet, there are different therapies to help lessen or remedy the condition. Each of the treatments has varying degrees of success and individuals should evaluate treatment options to determine which approaches are best suited to their needs. Therapy options include the following.

  • Traditional speech therapy that involves regularly scheduled sessions with a provider to help reduce disfluency and stress. This type of therapy tends to be open-ended and can last for several years. Fluency outcomes are mildly effective.
  • Counseling-related therapies that focus on helping clients accept their stuttering and decrease communication anxiety. While those treated may benefit from counseling as a means to better accept the fact they stutter, few become fluent.
  • Self-help groups provide a support system for individuals who stutter and help them feel better about their speech. Yet, as with counseling-related approaches, very few individuals achieve fluency.
  • Science-based behavioral therapy, invented by HCRI research scientists, has consistently proven to help individuals achieve and sustain fluent speech. This 12-day immersion treatment teaches persons how to replace faulty speech muscles that give rise to stuttering and replace them with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. Research demonstrates that 93% of therapy participants achieve fluency after 12 days. 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated 2 years after therapy.

More about HCRI stuttering Therapy >>

About HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 7,000 individuals from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients represent all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

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

 

Is Online Stuttering Therapy in HCRI’s Future?

At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org), we are sometimes asked whether our 12-day therapy is available as an online stuttering therapy program. It certainly would be more convenient for many. Though currently, the answer is “no.” Yet, what about the future? Would the fluency results with online stuttering therapy be the same as our in-person program?  Read on for more on this topic.

online stuttering therapyIn an age when web-based doctor appointments and digital education are increasingly popular, HCRI has approached the online arena carefully and thoughtfully. This is out of concern for maintaining the quality and outcomes of the institute’s proven stuttering therapy program.

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, HCRI is an international leader in stuttering research and treatment innovation. Since the nonprofit center opened in 1972, HCRI has consistently broken new ground in the treatment of stuttering. Researchers at HCRI invented an innovative 12-day that has been continually refined through the years. This 12-day program delivers among the most successful fluency results of any stuttering treatment.

Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI therapy participants achieve fluency by the end of their program. And, 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years later. The success of HCRI’s stuttering therapy is based on research with thousands of stuttering cases – from mild to severe.

“HCRI’s program involves applying stringent principles of learning, along with precise clinical protocols and personalized guidance by trained clinicians.” said HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. “This rigorous, individualized approach is difficult to replicate online without potentially compromising therapy quality and results.”

Yet, Dr. Webster and his researchers have never shied away from a challenge in the institute’s 49 years. Recognizing the growing interest in online services, Dr. Webster and his team are presently evaluating the viability of online access to HCRI treatment. They are developing different virtual approaches, which will be tested and analyzed before an online option is introduced. Beta testing will begin late this year.

“We will not introduce an internet version of HCRI therapy until data proves the web-based program delivers the same results as the institute’s in-person therapy,” Dr. Webster emphasized.

Online therapy is not an unfamiliar concept to HCRI. For a number of years, the institute has offered past therapy participants a virtual option to refresh their fluency skills. According to Dr. Webster, this offering to HCRI “alumni” is effective because individuals are experienced with program details. In addition, participants are focused on honing fluency skills – not learning them from scratch.

Advantages of In-Person HCRI Therapy

Highly Individualized Learning. HCRI’s one-of-a-kind therapy is grounded in research and principles of learning to optimize outcomes. Therapy is also highly individualized. During treatment, HCRI clinicians provide instruction and feedback to guide participants through the process of retraining faulty speech muscle movements that give rise to stuttering. Clients are taught how to rebuild tiny details of speech-muscle behaviors to speak fluently. This very specific training and ongoing clinician feedback present challenges to successfully administer over the web.

 Access to HCR Therapy Technology. Located in-house, HCRI’s computers and therapy technology make fluency skills easier to learn and more precise. These therapy aids also help participants effectively transfer fluency capabilities learned in the clinical setting to real-world situations. Clinicians closely monitor fluency performance, as participants interact with the technology.

 100% Focus, No Distractions. When clients come to HCRI, they are away from all the distractions of everyday life. For 12 consecutive days, participants immerse themselves in HCRI’s intensive program and focus on acquiring skills to speak fluently for a lifetime. The richness of the HCRI experience – and the proven fluency results it delivers – are challenging to replicate via the internet.

Invaluable Support System. HCRI stuttering therapy is conducted in a small group setting. In addition to tremendous support from HCRI clinicians and staff, participants connect with others who stutter who have come from across the U.S. and globally. A special bond is often formed among therapy attendees that extends long after participants return home. This camaraderie and support adds to the therapy experience and would be difficult to fully experience with an online program.

Proven Results or Convenience?

“Making the commitment to take 12 days to solely focus on your fluency at HCRI can be one of the best investments of time you will ever make,” Dr. Webster explained. “The ability to speak fluently increases confidence, enhances personal satisfaction, and opens doors of opportunity.”

While HCRI is continuing to study online options for its therapy program, individuals who seek stuttering therapy are encouraged to enroll and come to the institute for its 12-day stuttering therapy. Acquiring the skills to speak fluently can transform your life.

About HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 7,000 individuals have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, 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.

HCRI Receives $200,000 Gift from National TV Journalist John Stossel

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org), an international stuttering research and therapy center headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, has received a $200,000 gift from national television journalist John Stossel.

John Stossel
Photograph of John Stossel by Gage Skidmore

Mr. Stossel is a former HCRI stuttering therapy client. He is an Emmy Award winning television journalist, news anchor, book author, columnist, and pundit. Mr. Stossel is recognized for his distinguished career on ABC News and Fox Business Channel, as well as his libertarian perspectives on Stossel TV.

“This meaningful gift will enable our nonprofit institute to continue helping individuals who stutter open doors of opportunity that were never before possible,” said HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Funds from Mr. Stossel’s  donation will be used to support the center’s therapy scholarship program and stuttering research initiatives.

“We are grateful for John’s generosity in supporting our important cause. His impressive communication skills are a fine example of how HCRI’s science-based therapy can help individuals stop stuttering and speak fluently in all types of situations,” Dr. Webster said.

Mr. Stossel has been an ally of HCRI through the years. He has promoted the institute in news stories and provided financial support. In recognition of Mr. Stossel’s generous gift, HCRI is designating clinical space at the institute in his name.

HCRI therapy participants spend 12 days in HCRI’s clinic learning lifelong skills that enable them to stop stuttering and speak fluently. The institute’s stuttering treatment program delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes for stuttering therapy. Research demonstrates that 93% of program participants achieve fluency by the end of HCRI therapy. When evaluated two years after treatment, 75% of clients sustained their fluency skills.

Mr. Stossel made his donation to HCRI using bitcoin, which was the institute’s first experience accepting a gift in digital currency. Dr. Webster noted that processing the cryptocurrency donation was an intriguing learning experience – and likely an indicator of what is in store for future gifts across nonprofits.

More than 7,000 people from the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

The institute was founded by Dr. Webster to investigate stuttering, develop new treatment approaches, and administer life-changing stuttering therapy. Stuttering impacts three million people in the U.S. and 66 million people globally.

HCRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is in its 49th year of operation. The center is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032.

HCRI’s Safety Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

REVISED:  August 10, 2021

HCRI is working diligently to provide the highest level of safety and Covid-19 protection for staff, alumni, clients and family members at our Virginia-based stuttering therapy center.

Covid-19 Safety at HCRIEach day we monitor the changing Covid-19 situation. We continue to deploy best practices and comply with all requirements mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH). These activities include the following.

Vaccination – All HCRI clinicians and staff members have been fully vaccinated. Therapy clients are encouraged to get vaccinated prior to participating in therapy – and show their vaccination card upon arrival.

Masks – Clients and visitors are required to wear a face mask at all times. HCRI will provide a special clear mask for individuals to use during therapy. At other times, participants must provide their own masks.

Sanitation Our staff disinfects all work surfaces twice a day. This includes door handles, keyboards and mice, telephones, chairs, desktop surfaces and bathroom areas. At the end of every clinical day, our facility is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by custodial staff.

Prior to Arrival – We encourage all clients to follow CDC and their state’s guidelines regarding social distancing and/or limited self-isolation (staying at home, limited public engagement) for 12 to 14 days prior to coming to Roanoke, Virginia for HCRI therapy. As noted above, we strongly recommend all therapy participants get vaccinated priort to coming to HCRI.

Client Screening – Every day before therapy begins, clients are asked screening questions to confirm they are not exhibiting any key symptoms of Covid-19.

Temperature – We take each client’s temperature daily upon arrival and record it in the client’s records. The temperature check is for everyone regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

Tissues and Hand Sanitizer HCRI provides tissues in all common areas, as well as in each client’s work area. We ask that every therapy client bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep with them for personal use.

Handwashing Frequent hand washing, by everyone, is emphasized.

Hotels – Area hotels have advised us that they are following both CDC and VDH guidelines on housekeeping and facility maintenance. When you make your hotel reservation prior to coming to HCRI, it is an excellent time to ask questions of lodging providers about their Covid-19 compliance.

All of us at HCRI are focused on ensuring the safety of each person who walks through our door. We review the pandemic situation daily and are prepared to further respond to Covid-19 changes, as needed. At the same time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to provide stuttering therapy excellence to every individual we serve.

If you have questions about HCRI and/or our Covid-19 response, contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

The Cost of Your Stuttering vs. the Cost of Stuttering Therapy at HCRI

Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

In this article, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), offers a quantitative perspective to help individuals evaluate the cost that stuttering imposes on people’s lives compared to the cost of attending HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program. 

HCRI’s immersion therapy is a powerful, proven behavioral based treatment that works across stuttering types and severities. During therapy, participants systematically learn how to replace the distorted contractions and movements that give rise to stuttering with new speech-muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech.

Looking at the Numbers: Is HCRI Stuttering Therapy Worth the Investment?

It has been estimated that individuals who stutter, compared with those who do not stutter, are likely to earn approximately $7,000 to $8,000 less per year. The simple fact is that stuttering is generally viewed as a negative in the world of work. Typical business hiring practices and promotion policies do not provide accommodations for persons who stutter.

Cost of Stuttering1

Over the course of a working lifetime of 45 years, the anticipated personal earnings of the person who stutterers is approximately $335,000 less than for a person who does not stutter. That represents slightly over one third of a million dollars of lost earnings. And, in a significant number of potential high achievers, the lost earnings could be much higher.

Cost of Stuttering TherapyNow, contrast that number of lost wages with the cost of stuttering therapy at HCRI, with its high probability of a successful, fluent outcome.

The present HCRI stuttering therapy fee of $4,285 provides an intensive 12-day program involving 100 hours of direct treatment. That means that the actual cost of this program is under $43 per clock (60-minute) hour. Contrast that with other therapies that may well be $80 to $120 per 45- to 50-minute clinical hour. The lifetime cost of HCRI stuttering therapy comes to 1.8 cents per day.

Your Return on Investment with HCRI

Considering the potential of lost wages over a working lifetime, the investment in HCRI stuttering therapy delivers impressive returns.

Therefore, the return on investment of your therapy fees has the potential to be significant over a career.

Beyond the Money

You may also wish to learn that 78% of program graduates surveyed indicated they had increased their quality of life after participating in HCRI therapy.  In the same survey, 79% said their personal happiness and satisfaction increased and 84% reported greater confidence after participation.

There are genuine personal and economic factors to be considered when you are selecting a stuttering treatment program. Our program at HCRI provides exceptional value to our clients.

Proven Results

Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI stuttering therapy participants achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program. When evaluated two years after therapy, 75% maintain their ability to speak fluently. These numbers represents among the strongest documented outcomes of any stuttering therapy.

Therefore, there is a strong likelihood of success with HCRI stuttering therapy. Your commitment to the therapy process at HCRI plays a key role in your outcomes, as well.

We invite you to learn more about our approach to stuttering therapy and how our science-based treatment can benefit you. For more information, contact us at 855-236-7032 or via email. Our website at www.stuttering.org also offers extensive information on our program and what you can expect.

New Speech Pathologist Joins the HCRI Team

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a national center for stuttering research and treatment innovation, welcomes Sarah Buchholz, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist joining HCRI’s expert team of stuttering therapists.

Sarah Buchholz
Sarah Buchholz

Sarah brings to HCRI strong experience working in a clinical team environment. She has treated students and other patients for a variety of fluency, language, and speech-sound disorders. An ardent interest in stuttering and HCRI’s science-based therapy drew her to the institute.

“Stuttering is difficult to treat effectively with traditional speech therapy. I experienced this first hand,” Sarah said. “Yet, HCRI’s approach is vastly different and more effective than anything I’ve seen in the field. It transforms speech. When I heard about the open position, I knew I wanted to be a part of the institute’s work.”

Sarah received her Master of Education in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Virginia (UVA). For her undergraduate studies, she earned a degree in Special Education Integrated Studies at Liberty University.

Sarah completed HCRI’s rigorous 500-hour training that certifies her to administer the nonprofit center’s advanced stuttering therapy program. Certification is required of all HCRI clinicians to ensure clients benefit from consistent, precise delivery of HCRI therapy and the highest standards of clinical excellence.

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., “We are pleased to have Sarah on our clinical team. From day one, she has shown her dedication to HCRI therapy excellence and serving the needs of our clients.”

Sarah joins stuttering therapists Candy Smith, Amy Finch, Kristin Stanley, and Courtney Stackhouse in administering HCRI’s 12-day treatment program, as well as serving HCRI alumni.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, hiking, exercising, and spending time with her husband, Carl, and their two dogs. They also are devotees of UVA sports and activities.

About HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

Nearly 7,000 individuals from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, 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.

HCRI Announces New Online Services for Stuttering Therapy Alumni

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a leader in stuttering research and treatment innovation, announces new remote support services during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the needs of the institute’s therapy alumni.

During this time when individuals are concerned about their health and safety, HCRI responded quickly and innovatively to promote the well-being of HCRI alumni, clients and staff.

Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., the nonprofit institute has stringently implemented guidelines set forth by the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, the HCRI clinical team is now working remotely and continuing to serve the needs of HCRI therapy participants.

Dr. Webster added. “To extend our services and support during this most unusual time in the world, the HCRI team has rolled out new online services for alumni who are practicing social distancing or who are quarantined.”

ONLINE SUPPORT SERVICES

FaceTime Sessions
These sessions are tailored to each individual’s needs. Sessions may be scheduled for 30 minutes or an hour. Contact Holly Humphreys at 855-236-7032 or holly@stuttering.org to schedule your session.

2-Day Reset
This program allows individuals to fine-tune targets, while working individually with HCRI clinicians over a two-day period. Time will be spent reviewing and practicing targets, as well as participating in individually tailored transfer activities. Contact Holly Humphreys at 540-265-5659 or holly@stuttering.org for registration information.

Remote Refreshers
HCRI is continuing to offer its Remote Refresher programs for HCRI alumni. The Remote Refresher is designed to help persons recapture the ability to control stuttering, stay on target, and speak fluently in all types of situations. Participants receive an in-depth review of the skills taught during HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy. Online sessions take place over a one-month period. Please email Candy Smith at candy@stuttering.org for information about this program.

FluencyNet
HCRI’s online practice software, FluencyNet, is now available to former therapy participants at a 50% savings. Pricing is based on the length of the subscription. For information, contact Linda Booth at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

Complimentary Weekly Check-ins
As always, the HCRI clinical staff remains available to provide free weekly support to anyone who attended HCRI stuttering therapy in the past. Individuals are encouraged to send an email to schedule a check-in call with a clinician.

HCRI CLINICIANS

HCRI clinicians are compassionate and skilled in the delivery of HCRI’s science-based stuttering therapy. While working remotely, HCRI’s clinical team continues to provide the highest standards of clinical excellence inherent to HCRI’s therapy delivery.

Holly Humphreys
Holly Humphreys

Candy Smith
Candy Smith

Amy Finch
Amy Finch

Kristin Stanley
Kristin Stanley

Dr. Webster added, “We remain committed to serving the needs of individuals who stutter, as well as continuing to work toward meeting the growing demand for online services while this crisis persists.”

ABOUT HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for the center’s 12-day stuttering therapy. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, 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.

Results Announced for Pioneering Research on the Effect of Mutant Genes on HCRI Stuttering Therapy

NEWS ALERT:  Roanoke, Va (September 12, 2019) – Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a national center for stuttering research and therapy innovation, just completed another research initiative in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study is the first to evaluate stuttering therapy outcomes among a group of stutterers who possess one of four mutant genes for stuttering in comparison to a group who do not carry the same mutant genes.

Findings revealed significant fluency outcomes for both groups following participation in HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program. At the same time, results suggested stuttering is slightly more resistant to therapy in individuals who carry a stuttering gene mutation. While dysfluency measures after therapy were similar for both groups, personal perceptions of fluency among the carrier group were weaker. The results of the study are published in the 2019 July/August issue of Journal of Communications Disorders.

HCRI has treated thousands of stuttering cases that range from mild to severe.
HCRI’s specially trained clinicians have treated thousands of stuttering cases that range from mild to severe.

For this research, HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his team worked in collaboration with Dennis Drayna Ph.D. of NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

The two organizations have partnered for two decades on research to advance the scientific understanding of stuttering. HCRI was a member of the NIDCD team that discovered the genetic link to stuttering ten years ago.

HCRI stuttering therapy was used for the study because of the treatment’s quantitative, systematic methodology. In addition, HCRI clinicians have treated thousands of individuals who stutter with consistently positive results.

“At HCRI, we are in a strong position to facilitate genetics research because of our objective, physically based approach to therapy, as well as the large number of clients we have successfully treated,” Dr. Webster said.

HCRI research demonstrates that 93% of clients achieve normal levels of fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy. When evaluated two years post therapy, data indicates 75% maintain fluent speech. An additional 15% of individuals remain with improved fluency; however, they did not fall into the normal range.

Each group of stutterers was comprised of 51 individuals matched on age, gender and ethnicity. Speech samples before and after HCRI therapy were scored using detailed disfluency measures. Also, participants provided self-reported scores of their speech, based on perceived measures of struggle, avoidance and expectancy when speaking.

While therapy can be effective for mutant gene carriers, according to Dr. Webster, findings from this study provide a springboard for fine-tuning treatment when there is a genetic factor involved.

“We need to delve further into the physical details of speech, with emphasis on the carrier group,” Dr. Webster added. “Additional research will enable us to more precisely define the effects of therapy and may set the stage for customizing treatment for those individuals who carry mutant genes. And, we are working on that at HCRI right now.”

About Stuttering

Approximately 66 million people worldwide suffer from the effects of stuttering, with three million in the U.S, according to NIDCD. The condition is characterized by repeated or prolonged sounds, syllables, blocks and words that disrupt speech. Stuttering can impair social growth, educational attainment, and career potential.

About HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HCRI is a leader in stuttering research and scientifically derived therapy. More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. To learn more, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

11 Insights into the Stuttering Therapy Experience at Hollins Communications Research Institute

For individuals who stutter, finding the right therapy can make the difference between minimal speech improvement and lasting, strong fluency. At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), we encourage everyone to study therapy options before making a treatment decision. It is vital to learn about each provider’s approach, experience and fluency results.

The HCRI ExperienceStuttering is one of the most difficult disorders to treat. Yet, with the right therapy, people can achieve the ability to speak fluently for the long term. As you navigate your options, we encourage you to compare HCRI’s 12-day immersion program with other stuttering therapy choices.

HCRI stuttering therapy is based on the scientific analysis of what happens when people stutter, along with the identification of exactly what needs to be done to replace the distorted muscle movements that give rise to stuttering.

Our intensive therapy teaches individuals who stutter how to use their speech muscles in new ways to stop stuttering and generate fluent speech in all types of speaking situations.

The HCRI stuttering therapy experience is designed to be powerful, practical and transforming. HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., describes it as follows.

1. Up Close and Personal
Our 12-day immersion program works successfully with stuttering types that range from very mild to very severe. Our focus every minute of the day is centered on helping you achieve lasting fluency. You will have personalized, one-on-one guidance from our skilled treatment team, as well as work in a small group setting with others who stutter. HCRI’s program involves a proven system that is tailored to your specific speech challenges. You will feel unwavering support and a sense of personal accomplishment as each day unfolds.

2. Long-Term Fluency as the End Goal
HCRI stuttering therapy provides unmatched learning opportunities for the precise skills that generate fluent speech. We are dedicated to helping you acquire these skills and provide you with the tools and support you need to speak fluently for the rest of your life.

3. Lifetime of Connections
During your short time at HCRI, you will establish strong connections with our clinical team, as well as with others who are going through the therapy experience with you. Often HCRI participants cultivate close friendships with one another that last for years after they return home. Moreover, our clinicians will always be available to you after therapy. At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.

4. Grounded in Science to Yield Results
Our team of research scientists invented HCRI stuttering therapy after extensive analysis and testing. Through the years, the treatment program has been continually advanced through careful scientific studies. As a participant, you will benefit from each of our discoveries and engage in a proven therapy that raises the bar on clinical excellence with demonstrated outcomes. Additionally, you will use treatment technologies, also invented here, that foster proficient, long-lasting learning of fluency skills.

5. Commitment and Reward
Your HCRI therapy experience will call for a lot of work and dedication on your part. During the 12 days you spend at our Virginia center, you will be immersed in the HCRI therapy process and away from all the distractions that come with daily life. Your time and commitment will be well worth it. Nearly all the people who complete our treatment program will emphasize that. Participating in HCRI stuttering therapy will provide you with the skills to speak fluently and confidently.

6. Proven Approach
After treating thousands who stutter, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to providing effective stuttering treatment. Speech is very complex. We break it down into a series of learnable, small steps that make it possible for you to achieve fluency. Research demonstrates that 93 percent of HCRI participants achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program and 75 percent maintain fluency when evaluated two years later.

7. One-of-a-Kind Therapy
The HCRI therapy program, with its detailed protocols and advanced technologies, is offered only here at our nonprofit center in Virginia. No other therapy matches HCRI. Our clients tell us that there are other providers who claim they do the same thing as HCRI. That is flatly not true. Other providers may use some of the same terms. But that is where it ends. Our therapy protocols are different. Our operations are different. Our clinician training is different. And, our treatment technology is only available at HCRI. Moreover, to ensure therapy consistency and reliability, we maintain stringent quality controls that are not available elsewhere.

8. Highly Skilled Clinical Team
HCRI clinicians are practiced and motivated to help you make the best of what we offer. Our clinicians are recognized for their compassion and expert technical skills. They work exclusively with individuals who stutter and have experience treating a broad range of stuttering types and severities. Our clinicians treat more people who stutter in one year than most speech therapists treat throughout their careers.

9. Magnet for Motivated Individuals
People who come to HCRI desire to be achievers. They seek us out to advance their quality of life through fluency and enable a bright future. During HCRI treatment, you will participate with a others from all walks of life who share your passion to live a fluent life. While your learning process may be individually tuned, you will immediately feel the support and encouragement from everyone you meet – our clinicians, other participants and the HCRI staff.

10. Experience and Know-How
If you seek an effective, premier therapy to address your stuttering, you would be hard pressed to find one that equals what we do at HCRI. We have treated more than 6,500 individuals who stutter. This depth and scope is unparalleled in the treatment of stuttering.

11. Where Fluency Happens
If you want to achieve lasting fluency, it makes sense to attend a program that has a rich history of helping people address the unique human disorder of stuttering. If results matter to you, then HCRI’s program has consistently demonstrated positive and lasting fluency outcomes for nearly 50 years. You will be impressed and delighted once you start the therapy process with its power, reliability and true effectiveness.

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About HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

Individuals who stutter have traveled from across the U.S. and 50 countries to participate in the HCRI stuttering therapy experience. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

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

Read HCRI Reviews from Past Stuttering Therapy Participants

INTRODUCTION

At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), our team members have dedicated their careers to helping individuals who stutter open new doors of opportunity through fluency. We began in 1972 by researching stuttering and inventing the world’s first comprehensive, behavioral stuttering therapy. Since that time, we have continually enhanced our 12-day immersion treatment by incorporating learning from our new discoveries and technological advancements. Today, HCRI therapy delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes for stuttering treatment.

ReviewsIn addition to our persistent investigation of stuttering and analyses of HCRI’s program, we seek ongoing feedback from our stuttering therapy clients. This input is invaluable as we continually elevate our therapy offerings.

Along the way, our clients also post HCRI reviews about their experiences with our program and our team. We are humbled by the comments written about our therapy and would like to take this opportunity to share the reviews we received in the past month.

These reviews represent a compilation of what has been posted in the past 30 days on Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau site. In addition, we have included reviews that were directly sent to us.

HCRI REVIEWS

HCRI offers what really can be called speech reconstruction. It is a 12-day intensive program which demands much work and effort, yet the fruits are well worth it. I attended the program 2 weeks ago and my family, friends and colleagues can’t believe the difference it has made in my speech, being almost completely fluent. Yet, I know I will need to continually practice, but it’s a small price to pay. I am profoundly grateful for the program and all the clinicians who have helped me achieve fluency. The staff at HCRI are warm, friendly and very helpful. I highly recommend the program, as perhaps the best for speech fluency.
    -Robert


 

This program is difficult, like most things that are worth it. They taught me the skills and techniques to speak fluently, and I would recommend this to anyone who is willing to put in the effort and dedication. It gave me newfound confidence in my vocal abilities, and myself as a person.
     -Iain Mayer


 

If you have a stutter and want to learn real ways to overcome it, then why go anywhere else? I went from the kid who stutters to the kid who is fluent in 12 days. Now I am not saying it’s easy by any imagination but this is the pinnacle. And I urge you to come here if you stutter at all
     – Carl Stewart II


 

Very professional setting with highly skilled clinicians and office staff. You are taught a variety of techniques that will help you succeed in fluent speaking. I highly recommend this program for anyone who stutters. With hard work and dedication this program will make you fluent.
     -Ernie B.


 

Going to HCRI was a great experience and helped me achieve a much higher level of fluency than I ever thought was possible.
     -John Tamisiea


 

HCRI really helped me develop new skills and strategies to cope with my stutter. Although I am still working on developing fluent speech every day, I’m glad I got the opportunity to come. This program requires a lot of work and dedication, but overall, it was worth it.
     -Sophie Thelk


 

Excellent program. You will be fluent when you complete the program, however; it takes a lot of work to remain fluent. You must practice daily to remain proficient in the tools that are taught. I completed the program about a year ago. It has been a life changer for me especially for job interviews. HCRI provides an abundance of support once you complete the program to help you remain on course and fluent.
     -Morgan M.


 

Like others have said, it’s a very difficult program. While I was there, it worked beautifully. My friends and family talking to me on the phone were very impressed. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick because I had way too many problems that took my focus away from it…

The reason I’m giving such a high rating even though it didn’t work for me is that I’ve seen it help people even after they left. So it works, but it’s certainly not for everybody. In addition, the staff there is amazing – some of the kindest staff ever. Especially the office manager Linda… who helps you sign up and you see daily. Maybe someday after I get my life together, I will be back, till then keep on helping people HCRI.
     -J. T.


 

Highly professional and true to their words. If you work hard with their clinicians, you will definitely be fluent by the end of their program. I highly recommend them.
     -James A.


 

I have stuttered since childhood and been in and out of speech therapy with very little improvement. Nothing has helped me as much as HCRI. I feel like I finally have a voice and it has changed my life significantly for the better! I wish I had attended much sooner in life. I’m very thankful for HCRI. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment. It’s also wonderful to meet and spend time with fellow stutterers. I could not have found a better speech therapy program. Thanks HCRI
     -Kate Moschak


 

I attended HCRI first in the mid-nineties and have taken a couple of refresher courses in the last 10 years. The biggest effect that Hollins has had on me was to make me realize that I had the ability to speak fluently – and that there was nothing inherently wrong with my speech apparatus.

I learned how to articulate and voice every type of sound we use in speech. It was an amazing feeling when I walked out after the course with full confidence that I could speak fluently. That belief is what keeps me practicing whenever I feel myself drifting back to old habits. The staff at HCRI is fantastic. Definitely life changing for me personally.
     -Chetan Cariappa


 

I highly recommend Hollins Communications Research Institute for the specialized treatment of stuttering. I attended the program in 1992 and still speak fluently today. It was the only speech therapy program that ever helped me long term to speak fluently and hundreds of other graduates have told me the same thing about their experience. I have been able to use my speaking skills to fulfill my career aspirations and I even formed an alumni practice group in the NYC area. Attending HCRI was the best decision I ever made to improve my speech…
     -Russell Weiser


 

As far as I’m concerned, HCRI is the gold standard for helping stutterers become fluent. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone searching for a way to overcome their stutter. It has helped me immensely.
     -Raphael Rosen


 

HCRI was transforming not only for my speech but for my life overall. Within the first 2 days I could feel 55 years of tension and tightness dissipating in my body. My wife could hear immediately on the phone the early changes in my speech. …I was definitely fluent by graduation. The post-graduation support is what insures continued fluency. Phone and email contact with my clinician, Holly, on a regular basis allow for feedback and suggestions for fine tuning my practice sessions and speaking techniques. “Hollins Fluency System II” is simply the most advanced and successful therapy program for stutterers on the planet!

In addition to normal conversational speech, I have successfully spoken to and taken questions from as many as 500 people in concert halls on stage. I have also been filmed in interviews and have been a guest on live network television, successfully answering questions and commenting with wonderful fluency. I have shared with only a very few new friends that I was a stutterer – and when I do they about stand back and fall down.
     -Richard Sortomme


 

Having fluent speech after years of not having it changes everything you’re used to. You have more confidence interacting with others. Where in the past I wouldn’t start conversations – or if I had to be involved in one – I would try to avoid hard words. I now express ideas and thoughts that I didn’t in the past.

I had tried other programs in the past and none worked for me. HCRI changed my life. The clinicians really do care. If you do your part by doing the work, you can become fluent. It takes commitment on your part, but it’s worth it. I would encourage anyone who stutters to seriously consider HCRI. They have a proven track record and they tell you up front what you have to do. I would definitely give them a thumbs up and rate them at 5 stars.
     -M. C. Bennett

 

ABOUT HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, 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.