The July/August 2014 issue of Monitor on Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), features coverage on the inhibiting condition of stuttering, which is one of mankind’s most challenging disorders to treat.
There are three million people in the U.S. and 66 million people worldwide who stutter. The condition is characterized by involuntary sound repetitions, difficulty speaking initial sounds of words, prolongation of syllables and words, and/or facial contortions during attempts to speak. Symptoms range from mild-to-severe and may not be present all the time. Constraining the free flow of daily communication, stuttering serves as a barrier to people reaching their full potential in life. The disorder can erode self confidence, hinder social interaction, and limit people educationally and professionally.
The APA article focuses on the latest approaches that help people who stutter gain mastery over their symptoms and associated anxiety. Highlighted is the scientifically based, behavioral stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – https://www.stuttering.org). HCRI was founded by Dr. Ron Webster in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Since that time, Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become a leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative therapy approaches.
“Our early research demonstrated that stuttering is a physical condition caused by abnormal speech-muscle contractions that occur when people try to speak,” Webster aid. “By teaching people who stutter how to systematically retrain the way their speech muscles behave, they gain control over the way they talk and fluency happens.”
HCRI’s intensive, 12-day behavioral treatment involves helping participants learn how to replace faulty speech muscle movements that cause their stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. Precise, tested therapy protocols, advanced technology, quantitative speech measurement, and computerized feedback make fluency skills easier to learn and sustain over time.
Ninety-three percent of HCRI therapy participants achieve fluency in 12 days. Follow-up studies reveal that 70-75 percent maintain fluent speech for the long term. The nonprofit center provides all clients with post-therapy support and practice tools that further solidify their fluency training.
HCRI clinicians have treated more than 6,300 people from across the U.S. and 47 other countries. Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcaster John Stossel of Fox News; Annie Glenn, wife of Senator and Astronaut John Glenn; as well as athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, a supreme court nominee, business professionals, police officers, actors, and even royalty.
For more information, visit https://www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at (540) 265-5650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.