Here’s What Makes HCRI Stuttering Therapy Effective and Enduring

As you evaluate your stuttering therapy options, the key is to find a treatment approach that is proven, effective and long-lasting. To assist in your selection process, following is an overview of the 12-day therapy at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). This one-of-a-kind immersion program was created by Dr. Ronald Webster and his clinical team.

 Below Dr. Webster provides a summary of HCRI stuttering therapy. You can use this overview to compare HCRI’s offerings to other available treatment options – and determine which therapy is best for you.

Dr. Webster Explains How HCRI Therapy is Designed

When our team created HCRI stuttering therapy, we focused on the behavioral analysis of stuttering. Our goal was to develop a premium stuttering therapy that was:

1. Objective

2. Reliable in its outcome

3. General in its usefulness across different persons who stutter

Dr. Ron Webster
HCRI President and Founder Dr. Ron Webster

Through the years, we have applied our latest research findings to continually refine HCRI’s stuttering therapy offering.

At the heart of HCRI therapy, we identified new core features that define stuttering. We developed new methods of training that empower our clients to actively generate fluent speech and to retain the skills learned in therapy.

One of the remarkable features of HCRI stuttering treatment is that it takes into account the inherent complexities of speech production and provides specialized, focused training, thereby improving the quality of our therapy process.

Our stuttering therapy represents a comprehensive treatment system that deals directly with the:

  • Motor malfunctions of speech
  • Formation of correct positioning of the vocal tract for different speech elements;
  • Built-in transfer training that facilitates everyday speech fluency after therapy is completed
  • Reduction in speech-related anxieties by means of in vivo (real world) desensitization exposure. The integration of transfer training and desensitization adds power and longevity to therapy outcomes

An additional feature is that vocal control training for fluent speech is facilitated by our electronic measurement of energy profiles that actively generate fluent speech. Our proprietary technology helps clients better learn and understand precisely how their fluent speech is being generated. Exacting physical measurements provide an unprecedented level of learning and retention of key fluency skills.

HCRI therapy is built upon the physical details that create fluent speech. By working properly with the correct physical details, you’ll benefit from the strength and longevity of fluency skills.

As a result, with HCRI ‘s comprehensive therapy system, you will acquire skills to control your stuttering in all types of situations and speak fluently with confidence.

HCRI Fluency Results – Effective and Long-Lasting

HCRI stuttering therapy addresses stuttering that ranges from mild to severe. THe institute’s clinicians have treated more than 7,000 individuals, aged 11 to 73, from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

Research demonstrates:

  • 93% of participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy program
  • 75% of participants retain fluency when evaluated two years post therapy

Before-and-After Therapy Videos >>

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. HCRI therapy is designed to teach fluency skills that can be maintained for a lifetime.

More 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. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

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

Overview of HCRI Work and Accomplishments

As Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI) enters its 50th year of stuttering research and treatment innovation, here’s a summary look at the breadth of work and accomplishments of the nonprofit center.

What started in 1972 as a small, stuttering research and therapy operation in Roanoke, Virginia has evolved into an international center that has treated thousands who stutter with one of the most sophisticated and successful treatment programs available today.

HCRI HeadquartersStuttering Therapy

  • Under the direction of Founder and President, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D, HCRI was the first to develop a comprehensive behavioral therapy for stuttering that is based on science. Since introducing the stuttering therapy program in 1972, HCRI has continually innovated and refined the therapy program by developing specialized electronics, computer software programs, detailed clinician training protocols, and technologically advanced therapy tools.
  • Dr. Webster and his research team invented the Voice Monitor, a real-time, computer-based speech measurement and feedback system. The Voice Monitor makes fluency-skill learning more exacting for clients and increases clinical efficiency by 500%. A U.S. patent was awarded for the Voice Monitor.
  • HCRI stuttering therapy delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes of any stuttering treatment available. 93% of clients achieve fluency in 12 days and 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years later.
  • HCRI introduced the first web-based home practice tool for clients called FluencyNet, which reinforces fluency skills learned in therapy.
  • HCRI introduced an iPhone app that serves as a “clinician in your pocket,” providing real-time speech feedback to stuttering therapy clients, helping them practice and stabilize newly acquired fluency skills.
  • HCRI created a training program exclusively for the institute’s clinicians to ensure consistent, results-based therapy delivery. This rigorous 500-hour program surpasses any available professional training or certification in the field.
  • HCRI clinicians have treated more than 7,000 individuals who stutter, aged 10 to 75,  from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

Recognition

  • HCRI’s stuttering treatment program was the distinguished recipient of the First Award for Scientific Merit by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • The Virginia General Assembly, during Governor Jim Gilmore’s term,  unanimously passed a house joint resolution commending HCRI for its groundbreaking research and therapy innovation.
  • HCRI was recognized by Virginia Business magazine for its long-standing track record of innovation.
  • HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor Emeritus of psychology, received the Outstanding Contributions in the Application of Psychology award from the Virginia Psychological Association.

Research

  • HCRI partnered with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) on a pioneering study that discovered three mutant genes that are linked to stuttering. Results of the study were published in the February 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • HCRI conducted a study on the genetics of stuttering and mucolipidosis in association with NIDCD, the Laboratory of Communications Disorders, and Porter Neuroscience Research Center. Findings demonstrated the two conditions are associated with different variants in the same genes. The study and its findings were published in the July 15, 2015 issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics.
  • HCRI participated with the NIDCD in the first study to evaluate stuttering therapy outcomes among a group of stutterers who possess one of the mutant genes for stuttering compared to a group of stutterers who do not carry the same mutant genes. The results were published in the July/August 2019 issue of the Journal of Communications Disorders.

Published Work

  • Dr. Webster has written dozens of stuttering articles and book chapters throughout his career that have appeared in publications including the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Journal of Fluency Disorders, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and others.
  • Dr. Webster published a comprehensive book on stuttering and treatment that offers new insights and dispels the misinformation that surround the disorder. The book is “From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief.”
  • He also authored an inspirational children’s story book on stuttering, “Katie: The Little Girl Who Stuttered and Then Learned to Speak Fluently.

HCRI Media Coverage

The HCRI therapy program and Dr. Webster’s work have been the subject of coverage in national, regional and local media. HCRI media coverage includes NBC Today, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Scientific American, Sports Illustrated, U.S. News and World Report, and many others. In addition, articles about HCRI stuttering therapy have appeared in digital outlets across the internet.

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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 job potential.

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 innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcasters, teachers, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, 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 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 treatment, pre- and post-therapy evaluation, and practice. 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.

Why HCRI Stuttering Therapy is NOT an Online Program

We are fortunate to live in this time of tremendous digital convenience with apps and internet services that make our lives easier and more efficient. Online banking, education, stock trading, e-medicine, shopping and more fit our busy lifestyles. 

That’s why it is not surprising when we are asked whether HCRI stuttering therapy is available as an online program. The short answer is… No. And, for good reason. In fact, here are eight reasons why coming to HCRI’s national therapy center in Virginia is so important to achieving life-long fluency.

1. 100% Focus on Your Speech. When you come to HCRI, you are away from all the distractions of everyday life. For 12 consecutive days, you immerse yourself in our 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 – simply cannot be replicated through an online program.

2. Intensive, Distinctive Experience. At HCRI, participants benefit from invaluable one-on-one guidance with our expert clinical team. Specially trained clinicians focus on you and your speech needs, and guide you each step of the way on your path to fluency. This individualized, face-to-face approach is essential to therapy success.

HCRI therapy participants
This photo shows a group of HCRI stuttering therapy participants on the last day of their 12-day treatment program. HCRI offers therapy programs throughout the year.

3. Success Begins on Your First Day. HCRI stuttering therapy is a proven, science-based program that has been tested with thousands of stuttering persons from mild to severe. Each step in the stuttering therapy process helps you achieve success benchmarks that you build upon throughout your 12 days.

As each day unfolds, you will develop a growing sense that you command the skills to make fluency happen at will. The unique therapy environment at our nonprofit center, including face-to-face instruction, fluency-training technology, and extraordinary support, is designed to propel your success in achieving lasting fluency.

4. Group Support and Camaraderie. At HCRI, you will participate in therapy with a small group of people who stutter that come from near and far. On your first day, you will quickly feel at home with the other program participants. You’ll interact with these individuals each day and will likely feel a close bond with them by the end of your program. Many life-long friendships are made at HCRI. These special connections cannot be realized through online therapy.

5. Enhanced Confidence and Self-Esteem. HCRI therapy focuses on the physical aspects of speech and teaches participants how to rebuild speech muscles to speak fluently and spontaneously. Our center’s one-of-a-kind behavioral approach to therapy not only delivers strong fluency outcomes; it positively impacts how individuals feel about themselves and their emotions. Through the ability to speak fluently, worry diminishes and is replaced with greater confidence and enjoyment in all types of speaking situations.

6. Access to Proprietary Therapy Technology. Integral to HCRI stuttering therapy is the use of the center’s on-site treatment technology. Developed in-house, HCRI’s therapy technology makes fluency skills easier to learn and more precise. In addition, these tools help participants effectively transfer fluency capabilities learned in the clinical setting to real-world situations.

7. Lifetime of Post-Therapy Support. Once attendees complete their HCRI program, they return home with an unprecedented package of fluency practice tools and clinical support. Clients are encouraged to stay in contact with clinicians via phone and email contact. In addition, post-therapy tools include HCRI’s FluencyNet practice software, an iPhone app, program materials, access to practice groups, refresher programs and more. At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.

8. Consistent, Proven Outcomes. HCRI research demonstrates that 93% of therapy participants acquire fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program. Follow-up studies show 75% retain fluency when evaluated two years later. These fluency outcomes are among the highest documented results of any stuttering therapy available. HCRI results are based on individuals coming to the institute for therapy.

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. Through the ability to speak fluently, confidence increases, personal satisfaction grows, and doors of opportunity open.

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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. 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. Clients journalists, students, business professionals, broadcasters, teachers, engineers, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

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.

This Fighter Pilot Addresses His Stuttering with Positivity and Action

Navy fighter pilot Justin Norton never lets his stuttering get in the way of what he wants to accomplish in life. As a young child, he remembers how hard it was to simply say his name and get his words to flow smoothly and quickly. However, he always would do his best to communicate, while brushing off the teasing and strange looks from others. As he got older, he kept a positive attitude and maintained an active social life even with his stuttering.

When he finished high school, Justin attended Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. It was there that he learned how to fly airplanes. Soon after he graduated, he joined the Navy and began flight training. He quickly rose to the rank of Navy Lieutenant and became a member of the Strike Fighter Squadron known as the “Black Knights.” The Black Knights are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“When I was in the Navy, I noticed my stuttering getting progressively worse under the pressure of my increased responsibilities,” Justin said. “My speech was affecting my flying, and my ability to deliver flight briefs and de-briefs. I knew I needed to address my stuttering to be as effective as possible.”

While Justin participated in stuttering therapy with speech-language pathologists during his youth, he knew he needed a therapy approach that would transform his speech for the long term. His wife learned about the intensive stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) in Virginia. After extensively researching HCRI, he enrolled in the institute’s 12-day treatment program.

HCRI stuttering therapy participant Justin Norton
HCRI stuttering therapy participant Justin Norton is pictured here with his family standing next to the F/A-18 Super Hornet he flies for the Navy.

Grounded in science, HCRI stuttering therapy is a one-of-a-kind behavioral therapy invented by HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. The therapy approach teaches individuals how to address misbehaving speech-muscle activities that give rise to stuttering – and replace them with new muscle behaviors that produce fluent speech. Specially trained HCRI clinicians work with participants using systematic treatment protocols and proprietary therapy technology that guide individuals step-by-step through the treatment process.

“HCRI is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I acquired lifelong skills to control my speech and learned the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of my stuttering. I’m so thankful for the team at Hollins,” Justin remarked.

When he returned to his Navy responsibilities Justin’s fluency was noticeably improved. There was a marked difference in his ability to communicate while flying, as well as briefing and debriefing flights.

“When he attended our therapy, Justin was fully committed to the treatment process and achieved fluency by the end of his 12-day program. Since returning to his naval air station, he practices daily to habituate his newly acquired fluency skills. Moreover, he knows that to win, sometimes you need to work hard – and he has done just that,” Dr. Webster said.

Dr. Webster also noted that Justin’s ability to speak fluently will open up many career pathways.

When asked about his advice to persons who stutter, Justin said, “My advice to others who stutter is to avoid self-pity and do something about your stuttering rather than be consumed by it. Spend time with people who matter and support you. And, remember to laugh.”

About Stuttering

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

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. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcasters, teachers, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, 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 or info@stuttering.org.

 

What Differentiates HCRI Stuttering Therapy from Other Options?

You have a variety of treatment options available to address your stuttering. The type of therapy you choose can make the difference between short-term or limited fluency outcomes to lasting, strong fluent speech that you control.

At HCRI, we encourage you to do your research before participating in any type of stuttering therapy. Compare treatment approaches, experience of providers, and documented fluency outcomes.

What differentiates HCRI stutteirng therapy?Our nonprofit center has treated 7,000+ individuals, with stuttering conditions that range from mild to severe. Research on therapy results shows that 93% of clients achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day HCRI program.

When evaluated two years later, 75% of clients maintain fluency. Moreover, these individuals have the fluency tools they need to control their speech in all types of speaking situations.

As you consider your treatment choices, following are key points you need to know about HCRI stuttering therapy. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

HCRI Therapy Distinctions

  • You benefit from an original, scientifically-based treatment system for stuttering that is comprehensive and focused on your specific speech needs.
  • HCRI therapy focuses on the motor, cognitive and emotional dimensions of stuttering.
  • HCRI’s immersion therapy is specifically designed for highly effective learning and retention of fluency skills.
  • You will learn and apply clearly specified target behaviors that actively generate fluent speech. These target behaviors were developed here at HCRI.
  • Therapy involves established, specific and proven training progressions that enable the transfer of fluency skills to everyday life.
  • To facilitate the learning of lasting fluency skills, HCRI has developed performance norms and advancement criteria for objectively evaluating each participant’s progress in therapy.
  • Your therapy includes computer-facilitated instruction, which was developed at HCRI and tested with thousands of persons in therapy.
  • HCRI researchers invented proprietary, patented electronics that provide you with real-time measurement and feedback of fluency targets. You also have access to HCRI’s iPhone app and FluencyNet software to measure your fluency targets at home, school or work.
  • You benefit from HCRI-specific procedures for effectively transferring clinic-learned fluency skills to all types of life settings.
  • HCRI clinicians have specialized training to effectively administer the institute’s therapy program. Our team is held to high standards of excellence in stuttering therapy delivery.
  • You benefit from extensive post-therapy support and access to resources only available at HCRI. These include phone and email contact with clinicians, FluencyNet practice software, HCRI’s iPhone app, program materials, and more. We also have available brief refresher training, if needed.
  • After therapy, program graduates become part of our growing HCRI alumni network. Alumni receive regular HCRI communication and may opt to take part in alumni-led practice groups. Alumni are encouraged to reach out to HCRI clinicians on an ongoing basis – even years after therapy.

To learn more, contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org. And, you’ll find lots of information about our therapy, along with before-and-after videos, at www.stuttering.org.

 

A View into 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something for Everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unique Attractions and Cultural Experiences

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

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

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

Easy Access

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

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

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

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

FluencyNet: HCRI’s Fluency Practice Software

When stuttering therapy participants at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) complete their 12-day program, they return home with an extensive package of practice tools and clinical support to help them maintain fluency for the long term. One of these tools is a free six-month subscription to FluencyNet, HCRI’s proprietary fluency practice system.

The computer-based program complements HCRI stuttering therapy by validating and strengthening the use of specific fluency-generating behaviors that clients acquire during therapy.

How Does It Work?

FluencyNet is based on the physical analysis of speech sounds as they are being uttered. HCRI’s hardware and software provide…

  1. Real-time measures of speech sounds;
  2. An immediate evaluation of the utterances relative to HCRI fluency standards; and
  3. Delivery of speech results in graphs plotted on the computer screen.

FluencyNetlarger

When an onscreen graph shows an accumulation of many green bars and few red bars, the speech signals are judged to be mostly correct. On the other hand, when the onscreen graph shows an accumulation of many red bars and few green bars, the speech signals are judged to be outside the limits necessary for the maintenance of fluent speech.

Who Most Benefits from FluencyNet?

The answer to the question above relies on the level of skill attained in using fluency “targets” in everyday life. Targets are new speech-muscle movements/patterns that replace the distorted contractions and movements that give rise to stuttering. Using the new behaviors or targets generates fluent speech.

Most program graduates who are solidly on target with their new speech skills and talk with few disfluencies may not have a need to use the software. Yet, if individuals are somewhat unstable with their use of fluency skills, FluencyNet may provide the boost needed to move to more stable, consistent use of those speaking skills.

FluencyNet is always there in the event a past participant needs it – whether one month or ten years after attending HCRI.

How Much Is FluencyNet?

As noted earlier, the first six-month subscription is always free for HCRI therapy graduates. The subscription includes a standard microphone and FluencyNet software. If after 6 months, an individual wants to continue with FluencyNet, there are short-, intermediate- and long-term subscriptions available.

Pricing begins at $19.95 for 30 days. Three-month ($54.95), six-month ($99.94), annual ($174.95) and lifetime subscriptions ($425) are available.

Other Valuable Support and Practice Tools for Program Grads

In addition to FluencyNet, the HCRI clinical team stays in touch with program participants after therapy through phone contact and emails. Even years later, HCRI clinicians welcome calls from alumni needing support and guidance.

Other beneficial post-therapy tools includes HCRI’s iPhone practice app, therapy program materials, access to fluency practice groups by phone and Zoom, and remote and in-person refresher programs.

To learn more about HCRI’s alumni support offerings, click here or reach out at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.