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.

How 12 Days Can Positively Impact a Life

THE TRANSFORMING EFFECT OF HCRI STUTTERING THERAPY

Dallas native Connor Lane can’t remember a time when he didn’t stutter. While growing up, he couldn’t say his name. He feared meeting new people. He refrained from participating in class discussions. And, he couldn’t order food in restaurants.

As a teen, Connor’s stuttering continued to worsen. His inability to speak fluently impeded his quality of life. Yet, he tried to stay positive and kept pushing forward, making the best of circumstances with each passing day. He spent his time focusing on his grades and exploring his interests.

Connor Lane
Connor Lane

One particular interest that evolved into a passion was his love of music and playing the flute. Connor would practice for hours and perform in school recitals. Though, as he progressed with his musical skills, the speech blocks from his stuttering extended to his flute playing. Connor experienced issues with tongue articulation and control that got in the way of his ability to play.

Fast Forward to the Present

Today, Connor is working on his Doctoral in Musical Arts at University of Memphis and is a graduate assistant teaching music appreciation. Three times a week, he delivers the subject matter to a class of 150 students, while fielding questions during his presentations. His speech is fluent and eloquent.

At the same time, with his immense talent as a flutist, he is a member of the university’s orchestra and performs with area ensembles. He plays with precision and emotion, absent of the worry he once had about tongue control.

Enabling the Dramatic Change    

When Connor was a senior attending Bowling Green State University, he reached a point where he knew he needed to do something about his stuttering once and for all. He did not want his speech to get in the way of his ability to achieve his dream of becoming a college professor and an accomplished flutist.

His prior experience with speech therapy earlier in college was ineffective so he began researching other treatment options. An online search led him to the 12-day stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org).

“When I read about HCRI’s program, it was clear that the approach was different from other therapies.” Connor said. “I watched the before-and-after videos and could tell this therapy is something special.”

Then, Connor contacted the Virginia-based institute for more information and applied to HCRI’s therapy program. He knew attending involved a meaningful investment of his time, money and dedication to the therapy process. He was ready for it.

HCRI’s Immersion Program

HCRI stuttering therapy is a science-based, behavioral treatment, which was invented by HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Therapy involves a step-by-step treatment system that teaches individuals who stutter how to replace faulty speech-muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. Through this 12-day immersion program, people acquire the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently in all types of situations.

“HCRI stuttering therapy is a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind treatment that has been tested and proven with thousands of cases that range from mild to severe,” Dr. Webster said. “No other stuttering treatment replicates the sophistication of HCRI stuttering therapy – or the individualized approach from which clients benefit.”

The Experience

At HCRI, Connor spent eight hours a day working one-on-one with specially trained clinicians and learned new ways to use his speech muscles to stop stuttering. Therapy took place in HCRI’s clinical setting, as well as in real-world environments. He practiced his newly acquired speaking skills with other participants who stuttered and used HCRI’s proprietary treatment technologies.

“The therapy was like a much-needed shock to my system. It was challenging, but such a huge opportunity to learn. I took it very seriously,” Connor said.

As each day passed, Connor’s speech continued to transform and his stuttering continued to diminish. He left HCRI with the ability to speak fluently and spontaneously. He also left with a comprehensive package of post-therapy support that included on-going phone support with clinicians, fluency practice software, program materials, and an iPhone app to help him practice and check his fluency skills.

Connor added, “The therapists guided me every step of the way. I worked primarily with Holly Humphreys who encouraged me, challenged me, and helped me achieve fluency. She was great to work with and I stay in contact with her regularly.”

Fluency through HCRI Therapy

Mrs. Humphreys, HCRI’s clinical supervisor, said Connor’s fierce dedication to the therapy process helped propel his success in the program. “He followed each step of the program to a T and worked diligently each day. Since returning home, Connor checks in with me whenever he needs guidance and support, which I encourage all of our clients to do.”

Mrs. Humphreys noted that Connor is a great role model for how to work hard and achieve lasting fluency with the HCRI program. Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day program. Follow-up studies reveal that 75% of participants maintain fluency when evaluated two years later.

Through the ability to speak fluently, Connor is well on his way to accomplishing his life goals to be a professor and sought-after flutist. According to Connor, “What I got from HCRI was life changing. The experience was priceless.”

__________

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 over 12 days. 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.

 

For Stuttering Therapy Clients, HCRI is a Partner in Fluency for Life

At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), we help individuals who stutter achieve and maintain fluent speech for a lifetime. Our involvement with clients extends long after their participation in our 12-day stuttering therapy program. In fact, we serve as a partner in fluency for life.

On the last day of therapy, clients receive an extensive package of fluency-practice tools and support that help habituate speech techniques learned during HCRI’s treatment program. HCRI “alumni” are encouraged to practice their newly acquired fluency skills once they return home. We also encourage them to check in regularly after therapy and reach out whenever they need guidance from our clinicians.

HCRI is your partner in fluency for lifeFor many participants, HCRI stuttering therapy is a one-time experience where fluent speech has replaced stuttering – and additional treatment is not necessary. Research demonstrates that 93 percent of clients achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy program. In addition, 75 percent maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years after treatment.

Some alumni may request additional assistance if they find their fluency has gotten off track after a period of time. This is why the institute hosts alumni refresher programs that are held on-site at HCRI and remotely via the web. Along with ongoing contact with HCRI clinicians, these refreshers have proven to be beneficial for clients.

For example, an alumna who attended HCRI stuttering therapy nearly 25 years ago sent the following note after she was tasked with giving a challenging presentation at work. Before her presentation, she engaged in a remote Alumni Refresher program with one of HCRI’s clinicians. The therapy was conducted using FaceTime and a computer. It included eight one-hour sessions, which were scheduled twice per week.

“I’m so proud to share a recent experience with you. As you know, I serve as a faculty member and researcher in higher education and regularly teach online and present at conferences. But the circumstances at the conference last week were more challenging than usual.

I presented to an audience of approximately 100 attendees in person. The session was also being professionally filmed for later viewing, and live streamed to virtual attendees. Knowing that I was being filmed, plus the bright camera lights in my eyes, created additional pressure. But I did it! I fought the urge to rely on spontaneous fluency. I focused on full breath and amplitude contour [that I learned at HCRI] and felt confident in my ability to produce fluent speech.

Again, I speak at conferences all the time, but not typically under these conditions. This scenario would’ve made any speaker nervous. Afterward, I had a moment of reflection and appreciation that I am a stutterer and I just did something pretty amazing.

Thank you for your help and continued support. I’ll check in again next week.”

In addition to remote refresher programs for alumni, HCRI provides on-site, five-day Alumni Refreshers, two-day Target Tune-Ups, Alumni Retreats, hourly remote therapy sessions, and a variety of other offerings. For more details on these and other alumni-support services, click on the link below.

Learn more about HCRI’s post-therapy resources >>

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 to achieve fluency. 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 >>

 

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.

Now, 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 direct treatment. 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.

Ambition and Hard Work Enabled Sean Griffin to Achieve Fluency – and Land his Dream Job

Sean Griffin of Princeton, New Jersey had his sights on a career in broadcast journalism when he entered Rutgers University four years ago. To help accomplish his career ambition, he double majored in journalism and sports management.

Adding practical experience to his studies, he volunteered as a play-by-play sports announcer for the university’s radio station, as well as served as an intern for a nationally syndicated morning news show and at SiriusXM.

Sean Griffin
Sean Griffin

Through steadfast motivation and hard work, Sean was on his way to attaining his goal. There was only one thing that stood in his way. His stuttering. Sean characterized his stuttering as a mild-to-moderate condition.

To proactively address his stuttering and prepare for his future career, Sean enrolled in two different speech therapy programs while at college. He experienced some improvement in his fluency after each; yet, the results were not lasting.

Then he learned about Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) and the center’s unique approach to stuttering treatment. HCRI’s 12-day immersion therapy utilizes science and principles of learning to help individuals who stutter acquire skills to control stuttering and speak fluently.

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., “HCRI’s therapy approach is systematic and rigorous. Our specially trained clinicians teach participants step-by-step how to retrain their speech muscles to produce sustained fluent speech.”

Sean found his experience with HCRI stuttering therapy to be challenging, yet rewarding. “I went into the program with the attitude of giving it my all,” he said. “I found the therapy to be intense, but extremely effective.”

What was unexpected for Sean was the welcoming atmosphere at HCRI and all the relationships he made. In addition to connections with HCRI clinicians that continue today, he noted the benefit of getting to know other program participants.

“Meeting other people who stutter gave me a sense of comfort and reinforcement because they were experiencing the same issues as me. I wasn’t alone,” he said.

Sean added, “Since my therapy six months ago, I have become more confident in myself and my speaking abilities. I continue to practice the fluency skills I learned and check in with my clinician regularly.”

Ongoing clinician contact and post-therapy practice are important elements of the HCRI experience. They help clients habituate fluency skills learned during therapy. HCRI provides clients with a comprehensive package of practice tools and support once they complete their 12-day program. This kit includes fluency-practice software, therapy manuals, and a proprietary mobile app that help keep fluency skills on track.

“Finding HCRI has been a true blessing for me. I’ve learned how to manage my stuttering and that has helped me move forward in life,” he added

Since graduating from Rutgers and attending HCRI, Sean started a new chapter in his life. He landed a new job after an extensive interview process that involved face-to-face meetings and testing. He is now working for ABC News as a producer, fulfilling his career goal to work in broadcast journalism.

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 to achieve fluency. 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 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.

Chapter 7 Excerpt – From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6,300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief

The following continues the series of chapter excerpts from the breakthrough book about stuttering, From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6,300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief, written by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

Dr. Webster is an internationally recognized expert on stuttering. He pioneered the concept of comprehensive behavioral stuttering therapy and has dedicated his career to helping individuals who stutter achieve and sustain the ability to speak fluently. 

He is president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org.), a nonprofit center he founded to investigate stuttering and develop treatment innovations. Dr. Webster is also a clinical psychologist and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

CHAPTER 7 EXCERPT

Conditions That Generate Fluent Speech in Stuttering

Book about stuttering by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.…Whispering is yet another fluency-inducing condition. When a speaker whispers, the vocal folds are held apart and air is passed through the vocal tract, where it becomes turbulent and yields the characteristic sound of this activity. It has been observed that stutterers become fluent while whispering (Bruce and Adams, 1978; Cherry and Sayers, 1956; Commodore and Cooper, 1978; Perkins et al., 1976).

White-noise masking (WNM) has been found to generate fluent speech in stutterers when the signals are presented through headphones at amplitudes in the range of 95 to 98 decibels (dBA). White noise is an audio signal that consists of equal-power, randomly generated acoustic signals from across the frequency spectrum. We hear white noise as the “sh” in “shoe.” The effect of the noise condition is immediate and clearly observable. An audio amplifier can be used to adjust the overall amplitude of the sound as it is presented in a sound field or through headphones.

A number of studies have demonstrated that WNM yields reduced disfluencies in stuttering (Cherry and Sayers, 1956; Maraist and Hutton, 1957; Burke, 1969; Murray, 1969). Additional studies (Sutton and Chase, 1961; Webster and Dorman, 1970) used four different conditions that varied the manner by which WNM was presented: (1) noise onset presented contingent upon initiating phonation; (2) noise offset made contingent upon initiation of phonation; (3) continuous noise; and (4) a no-noise condition. The results were quite striking in as much as each of the three noise conditions produced significantly less stuttering than the no-noise control condition.

I believe that there is an important question that was not resolved by the authors of these experiments…

[end of excerpt from Chapter 7]

For more information about From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6,300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief, visit Amazon.comTo learn more about HCRI stuttering therapy, click here: www.stuttering.org.

Achieving Fluency and Confidence with HCRI… that Led to a Proposal

Written by Courtney Stackhouse

The science-based stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) focuses explicitly on correcting muscle distortions and teaching new speaking skills that participants utilize to maintain fluency for a lifetime. As a behavioral therapy designed to help people achieve fluency, HCRI’s 12-day program does not include a psychological component.

Yet, those who participate gain self-confidence that comes from using their new skills and speaking fluently at will. For many clients, this newfound confidence is something they never experienced before attending HCRI stuttering therapy.

One such person is 26-year-old Byron Jones. Before Byron attended HCRI’s program, he had difficulty talking in front of strangers and friends alike. He tried a variety of therapies that proved to be unsuccessful. He practiced with numerous fluency teachers over the years and even tried an auditory-feedback device. Any positive results only lasted for a short amount of time. Byron had difficulty keeping the motivation to continue the work he was taught by his therapy providers because he saw no improvement.

The Decision to Try HCRI 

When Byron came across HCRI’s website at www.stuttering.org, he was hesitant to believe the Institute’s therapy would work for him. Before he completely gave up hope to ever speak fluently, he decided to consider HCRI. With the help of his mom, he carefully researched the Institute’s work and treatment approach.

He reviewed the information on HCRI’s website and watched pre- and post-therapy videos of past participants. These videos illustrate a typical client’s speech on Day 1 versus Day 12 of the program. The tremendous difference before and after therapy is what drove Byron to submit his application to HCRI’s stuttering therapy program.

Systematic Therapy Approach

He attended HCRI’s therapy program at the end of 2015 with seven other individuals. He spent twelve uninterrupted and challenging days learning techniques to help him control his distorted muscle movements. He received one-on-one instruction and guidance from HCRI’s specially trained clinicians and used the Institute’s proprietary technology during the therapy process.

First, Byron was taught how to control the muscle tension in his articulators, which include the tongue, lips, and jaw. He was then instructed how to focus on his breathing so that he would have a good supply of air for his speech. Having distorted breathing patterns makes it even harder for people with a history of stuttering to get their speech out.

Lastly, he was taught how to monitor and feel his vocal folds and keep them from slamming shut. People who are considered fluent speakers are able to control their muscles naturally, but those who deal with stuttering have to deliberately make their muscle groups cooperate. Byron was taught all of the necessary tasks to problem solve when he was having difficulty, along with how to continue working on his fluency skills for the rest of his life.

Achieving Fluency in 12 Days

Byron began his HCRI program by speaking with a disfluency level of over eight percent. After receiving treatment, his speech had improved to be less than one percent disfluency. Those who are considered to be fluent speakers have up to three percent disfluency.

Byron is pleased with his results and is quick to point out that therapy is not a cure. “The fluency skills I learned are something that I have to continue practicing daily,” he said. “Also, calling my HCRI clinician every one-to-two weeks helps keep me on track. Even a ten minute phone conversation can make a big difference.”

Byron and Betsy

After finishing his HCRI stuttering therapy program, Byron gained significant confidence from having the ability to speak fluently.

With his new speaking abilities, he was ready to take a huge life step with his girlfriend, Betsy.

Putting his Fluency to the Test

“We had been dating for fifteen months and have been friends for five years. We both know what we want in life and the timing was right. When you find someone you love and care for, it’s time to take the next step,” he said.

Christmas of 2016 was quickly approaching and Byron decided the time had come to ask Betsy to marry him. He called and spoke with his HCRI clinician before he was planning to propose to get some practice and tips on how to ask the anticipated question.

After tirelessly practicing what he wanted to say, on December 20, 2016 Byron asked Betsy to marry him. He hired a photographer to capture the special moment when he got down on his knee and confidently asked Betsy to be his wife. Betsy said yes.

“I know that this question is nerve-racking for everyone, especially for people with a history of stuttering. It was comforting to know that I had my fluent speech to make it less stressful,” Byron said. “I just practiced what I wanted to say, and my fiancé told me that I got through what I was saying without stuttering.”

Byron says that Betsy is very supportive of him and his journey to fluent speech. “She loves me the way I am and doesn’t care if I stutter. Yet, she helps me stay on track with my fluency skills because she knows it’s what I want.”

 

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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. 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.

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.

Producer and Filmmaker Elan Dassani Overcomes Stuttering, Makes his Mark in an Industry Where Talk is Everything

 

Elan Dassani in MoscowAs a sought-after television series producer and filmmaker, Elan Dassani’s ability to effectually communicate with directors, actors, visual-effects artists, and staffers is paramount to his success.

On any given day, he may speak with up to a hundred people at a time. When he is not working on television shows, he scouts locations or pitches decision makers on using the many production and special-effects services of his company, Master Key.

Along with industry expertise, Dassani’s ability to speak persuasively is his most important asset. Yet, it is also among his greatest challenges because Dassani is a stutterer. Since he was a young child, his ability to speak fluidly and spontaneously was hindered by stuttering, which made it difficult even to say his name.

His condition produced involuntary interruptions in his flow of speech. Dassani experienced intermittent blocks, repetitions and prolongations of sounds and syllables, which made it difficult to carry on conversations. To fix his stutter, he tried different treatments that ranged from wearing an auditory feedback device to meeting with speech therapists. None produced lasting fluency.

While in college, he learned about the unique behavioral therapy offered at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), the same center that helped television broadcaster John Stossel overcome stuttering and catapult his career. Dassani decided to enroll and try HCRI’s stuttering therapy program.

Elan Dassani in Paris“The program was challenging and markedly different than any other stuttering treatment I experienced,” Dassani said. “The techniques and skills I learned at HCRI helped me proactively manage my stuttering and speak fluently in everyday situations.”

According to HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., HCRI stuttering therapy takes hard work, commitment and ongoing practice for optimal, life-long results. Developed by Webster and his research team – and tested with thousands who stutter, the therapy program is systematic and quality-controlled. HCRI participants work intensively with specially trained clinicians to learn new speech behaviors that replace distorted contractions and muscle movements that cause stuttered speech. The new behaviors enable people to generate fluent speech at will.

For Dassani, the ability to speak fluently makes life and what he wants to accomplish “easier and better.” He experienced firsthand the transforming impact fluency can have on someone’s life – professionally and personally.

He also acknowledges the importance of practicing HCRI fluency techniques on a regular basis. Practicing the behaviors taught during therapy helps sustain fluent speech for the long-term. When Dassani attended HCRI’s program, he was young and had a lot of ambitions that took time away from practice. Fifteen years after therapy, he noticed his speech was starting to degrade. So to get his fluency on track, he attended HCRI therapy a second time.

Now, his fluency has returned to the high levels he desires. He is committed to ongoing practice and follow-up with HCRI clinicians. He is using apps to serve as practice reminders and queues to focus on his fluency.

“There is no cure for stuttering. Yet, research demonstrates that HCRI therapy can help the majority of people who stutter acquire the ability to speak fluently.” Webster explained. “Elan Dassani is an excellent example of how fluency can open up doors of opportunity and enable people to reach their full potential in life.”

Dassani added, “I want people to know that stuttering is not insurmountable. There were times when I was frustrated and down in the dumps about my stuttering. Yet, you can get past it with the right treatment and focus,” he concluded.

HCRI clinicians have treated more than 6,400 people, between the ages of 11 and 73, from across the U.S. and 50 countries. For more information about Virginia-based HCRI, visit www.stuttering.org.