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.

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.

Overcoming Stuttering Paved the Way to Greater Confidence for This Talented, Young Entrepreneur

Akinleye Soyinka is among the latest generation of entrepreneurs who are leveraging their talent, passion and contacts to make their mark on the world. His creativity and diligence have enabled Akinleye to wear many hats, including fashion designer, disc jockey, and social media expert.

His latest undertaking involves launching his own fashion line that consists of cutting-edge clothing and jewelry, which will be showcased on his new website, nuyorkworks.com. Akinleye is humble when speaking about his achievements so early in his career. He points to the importance of hard work and effective communication as the underpinnings of his success.

Akinleye Soyinka
Akinleye Soyinka is a fashion designer, disc jockey and social media expert who is based in the New York area.

Effective communication holds particular importance to Akinleye because he developed a stuttering condition during his teenage years. His stuttering stood in the way of speaking at will, including joining classroom discussions and engaging with people in social settings.

“When I began to stutter in high school, it eroded my confidence. New people I met didn’t get the speech disorder and would laugh when I spoke,” Akinleye said. “By the time I got to college, I learned to simply deal with my speech and focus on what I wanted to accomplish.”

While in college, Akinleye went to a speech therapist with the hopes of quelling his stuttering. But, the twice-a-week regimen didn’t help. Then, he learned about Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) and the center’s 12-day immersion therapy program. He attended the program during a summer break.

HCRI stuttering therapy is a one-of-a-kind behavioral therapy invented by the institute’s research scientists. Specially trained clinicians work with participants using systematic treatment protocols and therapy technology that take individuals step-by-step through the therapy process – and on to fluency achievement.

“Our 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,” HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. explained.

During therapy at HCRI, Akinleye learned life-long skills that enabled him to control his stuttering and speak fluently. He participated in therapy with 9 other individuals from across the country.

“When I came to HCRI, I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. From the clinicians to the other participants, everyone was so supportive. It inspires me to know that people who stutter can get meaningful help from HCRI,” Akinleye said.

When he returned to college, Akinleye’s classmates and friends recognized right away the notable difference in his speech.

According to therapy research, 93% of HCRI participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day program. When evaluated two years after attending, 75% sustained the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently.

“Fluency has given me more confidence and courage. HCRI taught me that stuttering is a physical condition that can be managed with tools that stay with you for life,” Akinleye added.

He also shared that his fluency capabilities are linked to the tremendous support he received from his family – before, during and after treatment.

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.

Nearly 7,000 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI to learn skills for overcoming stuttering. Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcaster John StosselAnnie Glenn, wife of Senator and Astronaut John Glenn; as well as athletes, 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.

Jean DePiro Overcame Stuttering’s Debilitating Impact and Found Her Voice

A LOOK BACK AFTER 30+ YEARS

Music served as a refuge for the young, gifted Jean DePiro who began stuttering before she entered grade school. To escape the relentless taunting from classmates and siblings, Jean would spend time alone playing piano and listening to music. She would also sing to herself, since the physical properties that drive stuttering are typically not present when someone sings.

While growing up, Jean’s stuttering inhibited her from participating in classroom discussions, making new friends, and engaging in social activities. Her speech condition eroded her confidence and made her reclusive.

Jean DePiro Overcame Stuttering
Jean DePiro

“As a massive stutterer, I was miserable. I couldn’t pick up the phone and say hello. I couldn’t communicate with others. And, I simply shut down. Music was my only joy,” she said.

That all changed when Jean turned 17. Her parents learned about the pioneering work in stuttering therapy at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). HCRI’s research scientists had identified a new way to view and treat stuttering. The result was a transforming, immersion therapy that systematically teaches individuals how to use speech muscles in new ways to control stuttering and speak fluently.

Jean enrolled in the nonprofit center’s three-week program and began therapy with 10 other participants from across the country. She worked intensely each day under the guidance of the center’s clinicians. Her efforts paid off. By the end of treatment, Jean was able to speak fluently for the first time in her life. In addition, she was amazed by her ability to talk with ease when standing in front of other participants. Prior to HCRI, speaking before a group was a terrifying concept.

“I was in tears by what I had accomplished,” Jean explained. “When you struggle with stuttering for so many years and have it resolved in such a short time, it is an overwhelming experience.”

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., “HCRI therapy is founded on science and tested with thousands of cases. Clients learn step-by-step exactly what they need to do with their speech muscles to achieve fluency. They are instructed by specially trained clinicians and use HCRI’s proprietary technology to make fluency acquisition easier, precise and long lasting.”

HCRI’s program, which is now 12 days in length, is effective across a wide range of stuttering types and severities. It yields proven, quantitative fluency outcomes. Research demonstrates that 93% of participants achieve fluent speech by the end of treatment and 75% sustain their fluency when evaluated two years later.

After Jean returned home from HCRI, she felt a new sense of freedom and potential. “My experience with HCRI therapy was life-changing,” she said. “For so long, I didn’t have a voice. Thanks to HCRI, now I do and I love to talk.”

More than three decades later, Jean continues to use the fluency skills she learned at HCRI. Her speech never holds her back from anything she wants to do. Music continues to play an important role in her life. She serves as the music director for a popular theatre house, as well as a church choir director and organist, while working in Revenue Cycle Training at the University of Virginia Hospital.

Moreover, she used her journey from stuttering to fluency to inspire a student she met at the University of Virginia. She shared her story and encouraged the student to seek HCRI stuttering treatment to help him realize his career dreams. He took her advice and is facing a future filled with opportunities through fluency.

————

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.

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.

Have You Ever Thought About Your “O.Q?”

Introduction

Individuals who stutter face daily communication challenges and barriers that others who are fluent cannot relate to or even comprehend. For the stutterer, the speech condition is unpredictable and can have detrimental effects on job opportunities, social interactions and educational attainment.

Dr. Ron Webster
HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. discusses the O.Q. for persons who stutter.

Many who stutter have tried traditional speech therapies with minimal or fleeting fluency outcomes. This propels the ongoing frustration inherent to the condition and the barriers it produces.

In this article, stuttering expert Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), shares a thought-provoking way to view stuttering and its effect on an individual’s life.

In addition, he discusses why people who stutter should consider HCRI’s behavioral-therapy approach that teaches life-long skills to control stuttering and speak fluently.

Considering Your O.Q.

Have you ever thought about your O.Q?  Well, you ask, what is an O.Q?

OQYour O.Q. is your life Opportunity Quotient. We all have opportunities come along in our lives. Some of us are in a position to be better at generating, recognizing and taking advantage of those opportunities than others.

If you stutter, the odds are that you have a lower O.Q. than you would if you did not stutter. Virtually everyone who stutters at more than a mild level will experience shrinkage in his or her O.Q.

The reason is simple. Many businesses, educational situations and social environments are not accepting of the communication challenges of persons who stutter. The result is an automatic and persistence of O.Q. shrinkage.

Like it or not, if you stutter you have probably experienced O.Q. restrictions as a result of your disfluent speech.

Here at HCRI we specialize in treating individuals who stutter with proprietary procedures we have developed that generate robust, fluent speech in our clients. In fact, our research shows that by end of our intensive 12-day program, 93% of our clients have become fluent speakers. And, at two years post-therapy, 75% retain fluent speech.

These results have been repeated at HCRI time and time again with more than 6,500 individuals. Note that number. It represents real people who made the commitment to attend therapy at HCRI in Roanoke, Virginia. These are individuals who experienced genuine improvements in their speech fluency and in their O.Q.s.

Take for example Scott Nickell, who is now a business development manager for a leading distribution company. His success depends on his ability to effectively communicate with decisionmakers. As a person who stutters, Scott found his speech hindering when he was young. He couldn’t say certain words and struggled to communicate each day. His education and social life were challenging and his self-confidence compromised. Yet, once he attended HCRI stuttering therapy as a young adult, he acquired the ability to use the skills he learned to generate fluent speech. As a result, Scott was able to pursue his career ambitions with joy and confidence.

Another example is producer and filmmaker Elan Dassani. He participated in HCRI stuttering therapy to succeed in an industry where talk is everything. Yet, when he was younger, his speech was characterized by intermittent blocks, repetitions and prolongations of sounds and syllables, which made it difficult to carry on conversations. To fix his stutter, he originally tried different treatments that ranged from wearing an auditory feedback device to meeting with speech therapists. None produced lasting fluency – until he came to HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy.

Each individual has his or her own unique challenges with stuttering. Our research and real-world experience has demonstrated that HCRI stuttering therapy is effective across a range of stuttering severities from mild to severe.

If you are looking for help with your stuttering and want to optimize your O.Q. through fluency, consider HCRI stuttering therapy. To learn more, visit www.stuttering.org or contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

View before-and-after stuttering therapy videos >>

Apply today to attend HCRI stuttering therapy >>

 

HCRI Alumni: Do you need to get your fluency skills back on track?

Join us for an HCRI Alumni Refresher or Target Tune-up before the end of 2018

HCRI Stuttering Therapy Headquarters
HCRI headquarters is in Roanoke, Virginia.

If you want to work on your fluency skills and build speaking confidence before the end of the year, we encourage you to participate in one of our upcoming Alumni Refresher or Target Tune-up programs. You will find these HCRI alumni programs productive and beneficial.

Alumni Refresher
October 22-26 or December 10-14

During this five-day refresher, you will join other HCRI alumni and engage in an in-depth review of the fluency skills taught during the institute’s 12-day stuttering therapy. Led by HCRI’s skilled clinicians, this program is designed to help you recapture the ability to control your stuttering and speak fluently in everyday situations.

Target Tune-up
December 17-19

HCRI’s Target Tune-up runs two and a half days and focuses on finessing target production to optimize your fluency. You will work on your speech in HCRI’s small group setting and benefit from one-on-one clinician support.

There are a limited number of spots for these program dates. Therefore, please contact us right away if you are interested in participating.

Next Steps

Holly Humphreys
HCRI Clinical Supervisor Holly Humphreys

To determine which alumni program is best suited to your needs, contact Clinical Supervisor Holly Humphreys at 540-265-5659 or holly@stuttering.org.

Holly will also assist you with registration and answer any questions you have. We look forward to welcoming you back to HCRI.

If you have not attended HCRI stuttering therapy and would like to learn more, please contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.  We also encourage you to visit us at www.stuttering.org to learn about our science-based approach to stuttering therapy, see therapy outcomes, and watch before-and-after videos.

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 News and Happenings

This year has been exhilarating for our nonprofit institute. In addition to treating a growing number of stuttering therapy clients, our team at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) has been hard at work testing a new service offering and developing more treatment innovations that advance fluency outcomes. Following is an overview of HCRI news and activities.


 

New Therapy Release

In August, we launched a new “high definition” version of our stuttering therapy program. This new release elevates HCRI treatment to an unprecedented level of precision and ease with which fluency can be learned. For details, click here: Hollins Fluency System III.

Pilot Training Program for Parents of Children who Stutter

parentschildTo address growing demand, we are testing a new service designed to teach parents of young children who stutter how to effectively work with their sons and daughters to promote fluent speech.

This training initiative involves a series of individualized sessions with parents and kids at HCRI. Over two and a half days, we impart specialized speech techniques and exercises that parents can put into practice with their children when they return home. Then, we follow-up with the parents to monitor progress. More testing and refining will continue over the coming months and into 2017.

Remote-Access Therapy Testing

remotetherapyTrials continue to determine the viability of offering remote-access, quality-controlled alumni refresher programs via the web using an iPad, computer or late-model iPhone. The use of Bluetooth headsets with these devices facilitates instruction, speech measurement and fluency progress.

Current findings show great promise. Our goal is to be able to offer refreshers – and ultimately the HCRI stuttering therapy program – to anyone, anywhere who has a device and internet connection.

Multi-Dimensional, Automated Speech Measurement

stuttering speech measurementOur team is developing new technology that automates the measurement of speech at a level of detail that enables us to better examine how stuttering is physically differentiated from fluent speech.

As we develop this new system, we will evaluate how well we can use objectively extracted acoustic features to assist in improving the diagnosis and treatment of stuttering. Our early work is encouraging. We are continuing our efforts to reach the stage where practical clinical benefits can be achieved.


 

At HCRI, we continue to push forward advancing stuttering treatment and helping people from across the U.S. and worldwide achieve their full potential in life through fluency. It is a privilege and a pleasure to serve our clients and alumni on an ongoing basis.

We are always here for you and encourage you to reach out if you need assistance, have questions or want to connect for any reason. Contact us at info@stuttering.org or 855-236-7032.