HCRI Receives Major Gift for Stuttering Therapy Scholarships

National Business Leader Sander A. Flaum Donates $100,000 to HCRI to Help Individuals Attend Life-Changing Stuttering Therapy

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), an international stuttering research and therapy center headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, received a $100,000 gift from Sander A. Flaum, principal of New York-based Flaum Navigators. Flaum is a sought-after leadership consultant, business speaker, best-selling author, adjunct professor at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, and host of a weekly radio show.

Sander A. Flaum
Sander A. Flaum

Flaum has been an ardent supporter of HCRI through the years. The institute is a 45-year-old nonprofit organization led by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Webster and his research scientists invented the first science-based, behavioral therapy for stuttering that imparts life-long fluency skills.

Continually enhanced with the latest research and treatment technology, HCRI’s 12-day program delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes for stuttering therapy.

Flaum’s gift will be used over the next ten years for HCRI stuttering therapy scholarships to help individuals with financial challenges attend the institute’s stuttering treatment program.

“Sander’s support of HCRI through the years, including this latest gift, makes life-changing therapy accessible for those who struggle with stuttering,” Webster said. “His generosity directly impacts lives by enabling individuals to participate in HCRI stuttering therapy and realize their full potential through fluency.”

Flaum has spent his career leading and motivating businesses to excel and is recognized as one of the “100 Most Inspiring People” by PharmaVoice. He travels the country to meet with heads of business, conduct marketing workshops, and speak at conferences and college commencements. Yet, with his impressive public persona, no one would know that Flaum has struggled with stuttering since the age of five. In fact, his stuttering has been among his biggest barriers to overcome in life.

As a child, Flaum’s stuttered speech inhibited his ability to speak freely and express himself. Despite trying traditional speech therapy, as he got older his stuttering became increasingly pervasive, affecting him personally and professionally.

“People thought I was less intelligent or had mental deficiencies because I stuttered,” Flaum said. “There is a tremendous amount of ignorance and misconceptions that surround stuttering.”

While enduring ridicule and often being overlooked because of his stuttering, Flaum continued to push forward to achieve his goals. He was inspired by his encouraging mother who told him that “you have to work harder and smarter” to succeed as a stutterer.

When Flaum was in his early thirties, he heard about the advanced stuttering therapy at HCRI. He enrolled in the treatment program and found the experience to be transforming. Flaum learned new ways to use his speech muscles to control his stuttering and speak fluently at will. After he returned home, Flaum regularly practiced the skills he learned at HCRI to habituate his newly acquired fluency. The ability to speak fluently changed his life and enabled the business executive to realize his career goals.

After his experience with HCRI, Flaum became an advocate for others who stutter and made a commitment to make effective stuttering therapy more accessible. He started the Rose Flaum Foundation, named for his mother, to fund stuttering therapy scholarships to help individuals attend HCRI therapy.

According to Flaum, “Most stutterers go through a lot of adversity. The key is to not let it get to you. Instead, you have to work harder and smarter, as my mother always said. For me, giving my all and HCRI stuttering therapy made the difference.”

Working harder and smarter has become Flaum’s beacon for all aspects of his life. It has served him well and he uses it to inspire others.

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.

How You Can Donate

HCRI depends on gifts of all amounts from HCRI alumni and friends to continue operations and make therapy accessible to individuals who stutter. Gifts small and large will make a difference in the nonprofit center’s ability to help those who stutter transform their lives through fluency.  Please donate at stuttering.org/donate.php. All gifts are tax deductible.

HCRI Announces New Staff Clinicians

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org), a national center for stuttering research and treatment innovation, welcomes two new clinical team members: Amy Finch and Kristin Stanley. Both professionals bring to HCRI excellent behavioral therapy experience and a passion for helping individuals overcome challenges.

Kristin and Amy have just completed HCRI’s rigorous 500-hour training that certifies them 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.

As staff clinicians, Kristin and Amy join current clinical team members Holly Humphreys, Candy Smith and Courtney Stackhouse to serve HCRI alumni and new therapy participants.

Meet Amy Finch

Amy FinchAmy Finch came to HCRI after extensive experience serving as a clinician and director of human resources for a private mental health facility in Virginia. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Amy was drawn to HCRI because of the dramatic impact that the therapy has on the lives of clients. She says it is so rewarding to see the smiles on clients’ faces when they leave the program speaking fluently.

In her free time, Amy spends time with her husband and son enjoying the array of outdoor activities that the Roanoke Valley offers.

Meet Kristin Stanley

Kristin Stanley

Before joining the HCRI team, Kristin Stanley worked as a psychiatric case manager at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare. Her experience also includes serving as a social worker for a senior living facility.

Kristin graduated from Johnson University with a bachelor’s degree in counseling. She has a gift for encouraging people to achieve their goals, which she has applied throughout her career.

Kristin says the best part of her job at HCRI is watching the incredible transformation that takes place when clients achieve fluency and gain confidence with their speech. In her spare time, Kristin enjoys traveling and painting.

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.

2017 HCRI Alumni Retreat

April 29-30, 2017 – Roanoke, Virginia


The 2017 Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) Alumni Retreat is a prime time for past therapy participations to sharpen fluency skills, spend time with the HCRI team, hear informative presentations, and reconnect with other alumni.

2017 HCRI Alumni RetreatThe retreat will take place April 29-30, 2017 in Roanoke, Virginia on the campus of nearby Hollins University. Alumni will come from across the U.S. to attend this two-day event. The retreat weekend features a packed schedule that includes the following.

Saturday: Activities begin at 9 a.m. and include an information session, target review, alumni workshops, transfer activities, and a presentation by Gerald R. McDermott, Ph.D. An HCRI alumnus, Dr. McDermott is Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and author of the book, Famous Stutterers. In the evening, HCRI will host a buffet dinner for attendees and their guests.

Sunday: Activities feature more alumni workshops and presentations, along with “round robin” practice opportunities. The weekend will wrap up at 1 p.m.

Registration and Conference Fees:

The registration fee for alumni to attend the weekend event is $285. The fee for participants who accompany alumni is $160 per guest. There is no charge for children ages 10 and under who are accompanying alumni over the weekend.

For more information and to sign up, click here: Register Today!

For questions, contact Linda Booth or Bonnie Witt at 540-265-5650, 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

HCRI Expanding Clinical Team, Seeks SLP Applicants

December 8, 2015,  Roanoke, Virginia – Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI ), a nonprofit center dedicated to stuttering research and innovative therapy delivery, is seeking a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to join the Institute’s clinical team.

HCRI is hiring an SLPInterested persons who meet the required qualifications listed below may apply by clicking here to send an email. Type “Clinician Applicant” in the email subject line and include a resume, cover letter, three job references and salary requirements.

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) – Clinician

Job Type:
Permanent, Full-time Position

Roanoke, Virginia
[Relocation not provided]

Career Level:
Experienced SLP, Non-manager
[Stuttering specialty not required. Extensive training will be provided.]

Commensurate with experience.
Excellent benefits package and work environment


Founded in 1972 by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) has grown into a world-leading center for the investigation and treatment of stuttering, which affects 66 million people globally. The nonprofit Institute is unique from other stuttering centers in that work focuses on developing scientifically based treatment methods and learning technologies, in addition to administering therapy programs.

HCRI pioneered the concept of physically based treatment for stuttering more than 40 years ago and has continued to enhance the therapy program over the years. New research findings, advanced electronics and computers have been incorporated into the behavioral treatment process to enhance the ease of learning and retaining fluent speech.

More than 6,400 persons from across the U.S. and 50 countries have participated in HCRI’s stuttering therapy program. Ninety-three percent of clients achieve fluency by the end of treatment. Follow-up studies show 70 to 75% retain fluency for the long term. These stuttering therapy success rates are among the highest in the industry. To learn more, visit www.stuttering.org.


As a member of the HCRI team in Roanoke, Virginia, the full-time SLP clinician will have a direct impact on the lives of people who stutter. Through the delivery of HCRI’s proprietary stuttering therapy program, he/she will help clients acquire skills to speak fluently so they may experience the joy and opportunity that come with fluency.

The clinician will participate in a comprehensive, 500-hour clinician training program once hired to ensure confident, precise and measured delivery of HCRI stuttering therapy.  

Clinician responsibilities encompass the following:

Therapy Delivery:

The clinician provides therapy administration to a diverse group of adult men and women, as well as some youth ages 11 and older, who have a life-long stuttering condition. HCRI’s behavioral stuttering treatment is performed in a group setting with ten clients at a time for 12 consecutive days. There are up to 13 therapy programs annually, along with five or more refresher training courses.

Through the administration of HCRI’s standardized stuttering treatment, the clinician will help clients learn how to replace faulty speech muscle movements that cause stuttering with new behaviors that enable fluency.

He/she will work collaboratively with other HCRI clinicians and staff to serve clients, as well as use a variety of technological tools to ensure precision, quality controlled therapy delivery.

Post-Therapy Support:

The clinician will provide post-therapy phone follow-up with clients to help ensure long-term fluency outcomes. For former clients who need fluency help, the clinician will conduct five-day refresher training classes during the year. Responsibilities also include helping to organize and lead sessions for HCRI’s annual client reunion, as well as conduct other fluency workshops as needed.

Other Responsibilities:

The clinician will provide input to the HCRI team to help advance client services and grow the Institute’s therapy program. He/she will also be required to attend staff meetings, document client services, and marshal other projects as needed.


  • Master’s degree – Speech Language Pathologist
  • Behavioral therapy experience
  • Highly motivated to consistently achieve standards of excellence
  • Positive, high-energy attitude and work style
  • Passionate about helping make a difference in people’s lives
  • Willing to work some weekends and occasional evenings
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively in team environment to achieve successful client outcomes


Inquiries are encouraged from qualified individuals who want to be part of HCRI’s team of compassionate, hardworking employees. To apply, please send an email with the following to admin@stuttering.org and type “Clinician Applicant” in the subject line.  (No phone calls please.)

  • Resume
  • Cover letter explaining behavioral therapy experience and reason(s) for interest in HCRI’s clinician position
  • Salary requirements
  • Names and contact information for three references

As an EOE employer, HCRI welcomes all qualified applicants regardless of race, age, gender, religion, education, nationality, ethnicity, family circumstance, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and physical or mental ability.

HCRI is a drug and alcohol-free workplace

12,000 Miles to Fluency

Eighteen-year-old “Riley” had difficulty talking and stuttered since his early childhood. He reached a time in his life when he wanted to tackle his stuttering once and for all. After evaluating all of his therapy options around the globe, Riley chose the 12-day stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org). HCRI’s physically based therapy approach and research-driven methodology resonated with him.

He contacted HCRI and enrolled in the program. Office manager Linda Booth and the HCRI team provided caring guidance, recommendations and information to Riley to help him fully prepare for his therapy and his trip. They took the time to answer all of his questions, shared what to expect during therapy, provided lodging options and travel advice, and made recommendations to help Riley feel comfortable and ready for his stuttering therapy session.

Traveling from faraway places to attend stuttering therapy at HCRI’s nonprofit center is not an unusual occurrence. In fact, over the past 40 years, teens and adults who stutter have come from 50 countries to participate in HCRI’s internationally recognized stuttering therapy program.

It came time for Riley to make the long journey from Australia to Roanoke, Virginia, where he would join nine others participating in the Institute’s stuttering therapy. His grandfather joined him on his lengthy trip and served as a support system when his therapy concluded each day.

At HCRI, he spent eight hours a day for 12 consecutive days working one-on-one with specially trained clinicians, practicing newly acquired speaking skills with other participants, and utilizing HCRI’s proprietary treatment technologies. Therapy took place in HCRI’s clinical setting, as well as in real-world environments. As each day passed, Riley’s speech continued to transform as his stuttering continued to diminish.

Riley worked intensively in therapy and successfully achieved fluent speech by the end of his treatment program. Following is a letter HCRI received from his grandfather, which was written two days before Riley’s therapy concluded.

Dear Linda,

We arrived from Australia two weeks ago. My grandson Riley has had a speech deficiency since he was a baby. Now he has almost completed his HCRI therapy program and is beginning to speak fluently.

We are “over the moon” with his progress. We believe his attendance at HCRI has been truly worth every mile of the twelve thousand miles we have travelled for his stuttering treatment. Riley is aware that, when he leaves your institute, he will need to continue to practice his targets and aim for habituation.

“Thanks a million” Linda for your care and assistance with this positive progress.

Yours sincerely,

Keith C.

HCRI clinicians have treated more than 6,300 people who stutter, aged 11 to 73. Clients include broadcasters, athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, police officers, actors, paramedics, and other individuals from all walks of life. Before coming to HCRI, most program participants tried other therapies for stuttering without long-term success.

Research shows that 93 percent of HCRI participants achieve fluency in 12 days and 70 to 75 percent maintain fluent speech for the long term. For more therapy information, click here: HCRI’s Stuttering Therapy Approach or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

Composer and Violinist Richard Sortomme Overcomes Stuttering for the First Time in His Life with HCRI Stuttering Therapy

Composer and violinist Richard Sortomme of Mount Vernon, New York has spent his career perfecting melodies and minute details of musical tone, balance and flow. His work has led to breathtaking performances of his compositions by symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra, where he is working on his second commission that he says makes him the most grateful and fulfilled composer living today.

While his musical pieces move audiences and please critics with their inspiring sound, Sortomme struggles with a personal challenge related to sound – the ability to speak fluently. He is one of three million people in the U.S. and 66 million people worldwide who stutter.

According to the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, stuttering occurs when syllables or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the normal flow of speech. Stuttering ranges in severity and varies in different circumstances. It often hampers educational and career aspirations, inhibits social growth, and serves as a constant barrier to effective communication in life.

Sortomme stuttered since his youth. Though, he did not let his speech hinder his musical aspirations into adulthood. In recent years, he noticed his stutter worsening. He was particularly concerned when asked to deliver remarks and field questions in front of large audiences before orchestra performances.

“Few things could be more rewarding than having the opportunity to speak about a piece of music I composed,” Sortomme said. “Yet, I experienced trepidation verging on fear swirling around these speaking events.”

Determined to achieve excellence in his speech as he does with his music, in May of 2014 Sortomme attended the stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – https://www.stuttering.org) in Roanoke, Virginia.

Created by stuttering expert and HCRI Founder Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., HCRI stuttering therapy is an intensive, 12-day treatment that is grounded in science and continually refined, based on research with thousands of stuttering cases. The center’s clinicians utilize detailed behavioral therapy protocols and advanced technology to teach people how to replace abnormal muscle contractions that cause stuttering with specific, new muscle movements that generate fluent speech.

“Our early research revealed that stuttering is physical. The repetitions, prolongations and voice blockages that we label as stuttering are caused before a sound is ever spoken,” Webster explained. “While there is no cure, HCRI provides effective treatment by focusing where the problem occurs, which is at the muscular level.”

“I knew by the second day of stuttering treatment that the program would work, if I committed myself to what HCRI teaches,” Sortomme noted. He graduated from the therapy program with the ability to speak fluently. To sustain long-term results, he was advised by HCRI clinicians that he needed to practice his newly acquired fluency skills once he returned home.

Sortomme points out that HCRI stuttering therapy is not a quick fix or vaccination against stuttering. He emphasizes that a commitment to ongoing practice is essential for lasting fluency. HCRI provides all program participants with an extensive package of post-therapy tools and support, including unlimited phone and email contact with clinicians. Sortomme stays in regular contact with his clinician and rigorously practices his fluency skills every day.

His HCRI stuttering therapy and hard work yielded results. Only months after treatment, Sortomme served as host at the memorial service for his mentor and great American violinist, David Nadien, which was held at Lincoln Center in New York City. On stage, he spoke fluently and confidently.

“I manifested complete fluency at the memorial service, with none of the blockings or repetitions that plagued my speech for more than 50 years,” Sortomme said.

HCRI research demonstrates that 93% of therapy participants achieve fluency in 12 days and 70-75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated one and two years post treatment. More than 6,300 people from 50 countries have participated in HCRI stuttering therapy. Most program participants tried other stuttering treatments before coming to HCRI.

For Sortomme, the impact of his HCRI stuttering therapy extends beyond the ability to speak fluently for the first time in his life. He says the therapy helped reduce times of stress and he now feels more relaxed in his day-to-day interactions.

HCRI Achieves another Service Milestone with the 6,000th Stuttering Therapy Program Graduate

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – https://www.stuttering.org ), a leading center for stuttering research and therapy innovation, accomplishes another milestone in the non-profit’s 39-year history, as the number of stuttering therapy program graduates exceeds the 6,000 mark this week.

HCRI introduced the world’s first physically based stuttering treatment program in 1972, designed to help people with a wide range of stuttering types and severities acquire skills to speak fluently. Since that time, President and Founder Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his in-house research team continually enhance HCRI’s behavioral therapy program, which is administered to only ten people at a time over 12 days. New research discoveries, technologies, and training methods are regularly incorporated into HCRI’s treatment protocol to make fluency-skill learning easier, more precise, and more sustainable for program participants.

“At HCRI, we have dedicated our careers to helping people who stutter open new doors of opportunity through fluency,” Webster said. “It is a joy to see our program participants, including our 6,000th client, return home with new skills that enable them to replace stuttered speech with fluent conversation. And, those who continue to practice and use the tools learned during HCRI therapy will likely remain fluent for the long term,” he added

Along with treating and serving the 6,000th program participant, HCRI clinicians have administered more than 600,000 hours of stuttering therapy, with program participants producing more than 70 million practice responses, since the center began operations.

HCRI’s stuttering treatment program, Hollins Fluency System II : Advanced Speech Reconstruction for Stuttering™, is in its third-generation. Hollins Fluency System II helps people who stutter learn how to replace faulty muscle contractions that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. By acquiring the skills to properly reconstruct muscle actions that drive movements of the tongue, lip, jaw, soft palette, and vocal folds, individuals who stutter can achieve and maintain the ability to speak fluently.

Seventeen 12-day therapy programs are conducted annually. HCRI’s stuttering treatment includes 100 hours of clinical therapy and evaluation, as well as an extensive package of post-therapy support. Research shows that 93 percent of clients achieve fluent speech by the end of treatment.  Follow-up studies confirm 70 to 75 percent maintain fluency for the long-term.

HCRI program participants are between the ages of 11 and 73 and come from every state in the U.S. and 47 other countries. Clients 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, business professionals, police officers, actors, and others from all walks of life.

For more information about HCRI’s approach to fluency-skill training, as well as the Institute’s scholarship and tuition waiver programs, contact HCRI at 540-265-5650 or visit https://www.stuttering.org.

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute was founded by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Under Dr. Webster’s direction, 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 is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Virginia 24019. Visit https://www.stuttering.org or call 540-265-5650 to learn more about HCRI stuttering treatment.

Stuttering Therapy: HCRI’s Key Points of Distinction

As you consider your options for stuttering therapy, we hope you will closely examine HCRI’s systematic approach to fluency training and the passion for excellence that infuses our work.  You will find:

  • We believe that the highest purpose in our work with stuttering is to develop and to free human potential.
  • We believe fundamental success in the treatment of stuttering requires a well-grounded emphasis on empiracal analysis of the events that compromise this disorder.
  • We believe that our physically based speech reconstruction program represents the most powerful method for enhancing fuency and for simultaneously reducing the psychological burdens of stuttering.

Following are HCRI’s key points of distinction regarding our work and our stuttering therapy program.

Pioneers in Stuttering Therapy

HCRI was the first to demonstrate that stuttering is physically based and introduced behavioral stuttering treatment more than 35 years ago. Since that time, our researchers have continually tested and refined our therapy to deliver one of the most advanced, results-based stuttering treatment programs in the world.

World-Class Clinical Quality

HCRI’s behavioral stuttering treatment is comprehensive, systematic, and quality-controlled to maximize fluency outcomes. Our expert clinicians administer therapy with precision and care. Moreover, our proprietary treatment tools and technology help make your fluency learning easier and long lasting.

Therapy that Transforms Lives

HCRI’s stuttering treatment program has enhanced the lives of thousands of people who stutter. Research shows 93% of clients acquire fluent speech in 12 days and 70-75% retain fluency for the long term. Now, let us help you open new doors of opportunity that come with fluent speech.

Ongoing Therapy Innovation

HCRI is unique in that work focuses on conducting objective research and developing new treatment methods, as well as administering therapy. Our findings drive continual improvements to the therapy process, increasing the sophistication, practicality, and probability of personal success in treatment.

Exceptionally Skilled Clinicians

HCRI clinicians treat more people who stutter in one year than most speech professionals treat in a lifetime. Extensively trained and compassionate, our therapists are uniquely qualified to guide you on the path to fluency during treatment – and are always available by phone once you return home.

Breadth and Depth of Experience

Nearly 6,000 people from 48 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering therapy. We have served people from 10 to 73 years of age and treated a full range of stuttering types and severities. This means we almost certainly have successfully treated stuttering conditions similar to yours.

Sophisticated Treatment Technology

HCRI is a leader in therapy innovation by continually developing new technologies that make the therapy process more powerful, interesting, and effective. Our proprietary tools make it easier for you to acquire new speech skills and track your fluency progress throughout treatment.

Comprehensive, Ongoing Support

At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life. We’re here for you every step of the way during the treatment process, as well as when you return home. Our comprehensive package of post-therapy support tools, resources, and services are designed to help you maintain fluency for a lifetime.

We encourage you to review the information about our treatment program on this website to learn more about our approach to therapy and the results our clients achieve.  We work diligently to make therapy objective, understandable, and focused on specific, learnable skills that generate fluency.

To contact HCRI, call 540-265-5650 or send an email to: admin@stuttering.org .  We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your fluency goals and answer any questions you have about our approach to fluency training.

New, Advanced Therapy Program Helps People Who Stutter Acquire Fluent Speech >>

Hollins Communications Research Institute Forges New Ground in the Treatment of Stuttering

Scientists at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a non-profit research and clinical center (https://www.stuttering.org) specializing in the physically based treatment of stuttering, have developed a new stuttering therapy with advanced behavioral, electronic and computer technologies that significantly improve the ease of learning and retaining fluent speech.

An estimated 66 million people worldwide suffer from the effects of stuttering, with three million living in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.  Stuttering occurs when speech muscles inappropriately contract and “jump out of control” with too much force and abruptness during attempts to speak. Markers of stuttering include repetitions of sounds, syllables and words; prolongations of first sounds in syllables; and voice blockage when trying to talk.  The condition can impair social growth, hinder education and career aspirations, and produce emotional scars that may last a lifetime.

HCRI’s new stuttering therapy, Hollins Fluency Program: Advanced Speech Reconstruction for StutteringTM  (HFP), helps people who stutter learn how to replace faulty muscle contractions that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech.  By literally “reconstructing” muscle actions that drive movements of the tongue, lips, jaw, vocal folds, and breathing mechanisms, individuals who stutter can acquire and sustain the ability to speak fluently.

Effective across a wide range of stuttering types and severities, HFP represents a meaningful alternative to existing treatments, according to HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D..  “Many stuttering therapies require long-term participation (a year or longer), are presented by clinicians who have little direct experience with stuttering, and typically yield unreliable results,” said Webster.  “In addition, fluency enhancing devices that have garnered media attention, such as the FluencyMaster and SpeechEasy, help with only about 25% of stuttering cases,” he added.

Conversely, Webster reports that 93% of HCRI clients master fluent speech by the end of the 12-day intensive therapy program.  Researchers developed HFP after studying and treating more than 5,500 people who stutter, ranging in age from 10 to 73. This third generation HCRI therapy incorporates new knowledge of muscle movements that actively generate fluent speech for each sound class in language and features additional treatment innovations including:

  • Enhanced computer-based training techniques that make it easier for clients to understand, learn and maintain details of muscle movements that produce fluent speech;
  • An acoustically based biofeedback system that measures speech muscle use in real time and signals clients whether or not they are using their muscles correctly;
  • A virtual transfer module that facilitates the transition from fluency skill use in the clinic to fluency skill use in daily life; and
  • Sophisticated performance tracking tools that determine therapy progression and individualized support needs.

Future Potential for Global Treatment Access

HFP was built on a web-based platform and offers the potential to deliver quality controlled stuttering therapy on a 24/7 basis to anyone in the world with internet access.  During the next two years, HCRI plans to develop remote therapy administration over the web and partner with health systems of countries where quality stuttering treatment is needed.

“The fact that we will be able to present stuttering therapy virtually any where over the internet means that barriers to treatment availability might be reduced or eliminated,” said Webster.  “There are many places in the world where stuttering treatment is non-existent.  Our new program could address this problem and help many who stutter to acquire fluent speech – a gift most people take for granted.”

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute (https://www.stuttering.org), founded in 1972 by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., has grown into a world-leading center for the investigation and treatment of stuttering.  The non-profit institute is unique from other stuttering organizations in that work focuses on developing scientifically based treatment methods, as well as administering stuttering therapy.

HCRI clients include John Stossel of ABC TV’s 20/20 program; Arthur Blank, cofounder of Home Depot; and Annie Glenn, wife of senator and astronaut John Glenn. HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Virginia, 24019. Contact HCRI at admin@stuttering.org or 540-265-5650. For video speech samples and more information, visit https://www.stuttering.org .