Spanish Teacher Gladys Rosario Attends HCRI Stuttering Therapy “Refresher” Program to Enhance Her Teaching Effectiveness
As students across the country get ready for the start of school, one Maryland teacher took some unusual steps to prepare for their return, which extended far beyond reviewing syllabi, lesson plans and text books. Gladys Rosario, a Spanish teacher at Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville, participated in a stuttering therapy “refresher” program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org ) in Roanoke, Virginia.
While an effective and popular teacher, Rosario also has a stuttering condition that she lives with every day. It started when she was six years old, and a range of therapies through the years failed to help her stop stuttering.
Then, in 2006, she heard about HCRI’s scientifically based, behavioral approach to stuttering therapy. It was different than other treatments she tried so Rosario enrolled in the 12-day intensive program. At HCRI, she learned specific techniques to replace faulty muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate lasting fluency.
“Participating in HCRI’s program was rigorous. Yet, it was the first therapy that worked for me,” Rosario said. “Before treatment, I would substitute one word for another so I could get my words to flow properly. After treatment, I could say what I wanted, when I wanted.”
Rosario’s new-found fluency enabled her to extend her impact as an educator outside of the classroom. She became involved in the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, a national initiative designed to enhance academic and behavioral outcomes in students. Rosario now serves as chair of the initiative at her school.
“HCRI’s treatment gave me the tools and confidence to advance my career and become more involved in helping students excel. As chair of PBIS, I regularly speak in front of groups and call on businesses. My fluency skills make all the difference in my ability to be effective,” Rosario added.
In addition to stepped-up responsibilities at Queen Anne’s County High School, Rosario joined Toastmasters and won first place in an area speech competition. Yet, she readily admits that maintaining fluency requires ongoing practice.
Since she is bilingual, Rosario practices the skills she learned at HCRI in both Spanish and English. She decided to attend the Institute’s five-day refresher training in July to sharpen her speaking skills in both languages for the benefit of her students.
HCRI Therapy Across Languages
According to HCRI President and Founder Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., one of the unique aspects of HCRI’s methodology is that fluencly skills learned in English can be readily applied to nearly every other language. There are 66 million people in the world who stutter and three million in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.
“People who stutter come to us from across the U.S. and 47 other countries,” Webster explained. “Our clients have successfully transferred fluency skills they acquired at our center to a wide range of languages.”
In addition to Rosario’s native Spanish, participants have benefited from HCRI therapy to speak fluently in languages including Italian, Arabic, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbian, Greek, German, Chinese, Creole. Hindi, French, Irish, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch – even Ibibio, an African click language.
“With the ability to speak fluently and spontaneously, doors of opportunity open and people realize their true potential. We’ve seen this in thousands of cases, across languages,” Webster explained.
A 2012 survey of past HCRI clients revealed that 79 percent of people who stutter and participate in the Institute’s behavioral stuttering therapy improved their employment and career opportunities. Moreover, two-thirds of the 232 survey respondents said acquiring the ability to speak fluently helped increase their earnings and income potential.