FluencyNet: HCRI’s Fluency Practice Software

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

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

How Does It Work?

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

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

FluencyNetlarger

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

Who Most Benefits from FluencyNet?

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

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

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

How Much Is FluencyNet?

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

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

Other Valuable Support and Practice Tools for Program Grads

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

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

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

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

Why Choose HCRI Stuttering Therapy? – Infographic

There are many factors that go into selecting an effective stuttering therapy program that is right for you. To help in your decision-making process, this infographic shows the outcomes you can expect from participating in the Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI) 12-day stuttering therapy program. It also illustrates why experience matters when it comes to choosing stuttering treatment.

Infographic - Why Choose HCRI Stuttering THerapy

Stuttering Therapy Q&A with HCRI President Dr. Ron Webster

At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), we always welcome calls and emails from individuals who stutter and look forward to answering questions about our 12-day stuttering therapy program. To help those who want to learn more about our treatment, we also offer extensive information online at stuttering.org and provide helpful information packets on request.

Our team has compiled a list of HCRI Frequently Asked Questions that we include in our nonprofit center’s materials and on our website. Recently, HCRI President Dr. Ron Webster was asked some additional questions we felt were important to share. Following are those questions and Dr. Webster’s responses.

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

Question: 

Is your proprietary stuttering therapy program offered only in Roanoke, Virginia?

Dr. Webster’s Answer: 

Yes, our 12-day treatment program is administered only in Roanoke. Why? HCRI’s facility is designed for the specific purpose of administering stuttering therapy, researching the condition, and developing treatment innovations. Our building is equipped with customized electronics and therapy technology that facilitate the learning of lasting fluency skills. In addition, our treatment tools and protocols enable our team to constantly monitor therapy procedures to always deliver the highest standards of clinical excellence.

In addition to administering our therapy program, HCRI’s expert clinicians continuously evaluate the details and effectiveness of our methods. Constant scrutiny of our work is a necessary component of keeping quality standards where we think they have to be to deliver powerful, effective stuttering therapy. At HCRI, you can count on benefiting from our focused approach to your therapy. You can be assured that the quality of your experience at HCRI will be worthwhile for you.

Question:

Is your HCRI stuttering therapy available on the web?

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

Could we conduct our program via the internet? Yes, but we don’t – and for good reason. Our work on distance therapy has shown that, at the present time, we cannot meet the same standards of excellence that are met when clients come to HCRI. There are too many variables at work that compromise the quality of fluency training.

If you wish to receive our highest standards of therapy delivery, you will travel to Roanoke. We will not offer convenience in place of quality. In addition, when you attend therapy here, you will receive careful, direct attention from our clinicians that guides the quality of your training in ways that are unique to your learning style. You will benefit maximally from the powerful experience of being here.

Our therapy program involves 100 hours of instruction and guided practice of fluency skills, skill sequences, and error recognition and correction. Your speech is complex. It takes time and precision learning to change the detailed way in which you understand your speech, alter small details of speech-muscle activity, and use fluency skills in your daily life. One hundred hours is the minimum time that we have found to be effective for most of our clients. There appears to be no good shortcuts to this proposition.

Question:

Is HCRI stuttering therapy a good value for me?

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

If you look at the cost of therapy, which totals $4,250, there is no argument that a significant amount of money is involved. However, if you look at the cost related to the number of therapy hours you receive with HCRI, then our therapy cost comes in at $42.50 per hour.

In contrast, many therapists charge $90 per clinical hour (a 50-minute period). If it takes you 100 clinical hours of such treatment, you will need to pay roughly $9,000. And, you likely never received upfront information about the success rates of such therapies.

When you consider HCRI’s fluency outcomes, then our program is likely to be more effective and cost less than most therapies available today.  An old physician friend once said to me, “The most expensive medicine is that which does not work.” You might wish to think about that idea as you consider selecting a therapy for yourself.

HCRI stuttering therapy has a record of producing excellent fluency results for most of our clients. Research shows that 93 percent achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program. Seventy to 75 percent of clients maintain fluency when evaluated one and two years post therapy.

As one of our clients said, “In fact, the HCRI stuttering therapy program is not expensive – in my view, it is priceless!” We think that says it all.

Question:

Does HCRI offer any follow-up assistance in the event I need it?

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

Yes, our post-therapy support is comprehensive. Yet, most of our clients report that they do not need continuing follow-up treatment to retain their fluency. The reason for this is that HCRI stuttering therapy relies on new ways to train speech-motor skills that use the correct application of fundamental principles of learning. Our research results demonstrate that our clients learn robust fluency skillsnot fragile fluency skills that breakdown soon after therapy is completed.

For those who want additional assistance after their therapy program, we provide direct clinical instruction via telephone or computer video conferencing. Often, a quick clinical insight from one of our clinicians puts a client back on track.

Every client receives a take-home package that includes HCRI’s fluency-practice software, therapy manuals, and the use of our proprietary app that help keep fluency skills on track. We host refresher programs and an annual retreat for our clients.  In addition, alumni-led practice groups via phone are available year round. At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.

If you have additionalquestions about our nonprofit center or HCRI’s science-based approach to stuttering therapy, please contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

Click here for more – Stuttering Therapy Q&A >>

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.

11 Insights into the Stuttering Therapy Experience at Hollins Communications Research Institute

For individuals who stutter, finding the right therapy can make the difference between minimal speech improvement and lasting, strong fluency. At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), we encourage everyone to study therapy options before making a treatment decision. It is vital to learn about each provider’s approach, experience and fluency results.

The HCRI ExperienceStuttering is one of the most difficult disorders to treat. Yet, with the right therapy, people can achieve the ability to speak fluently for the long term. As you navigate your options, we encourage you to compare HCRI’s 12-day immersion program with other stuttering therapy choices.

HCRI stuttering therapy is based on the scientific analysis of what happens when people stutter, along with the identification of exactly what needs to be done to replace the distorted muscle movements that give rise to stuttering.

Our intensive therapy teaches individuals who stutter how to use their speech muscles in new ways to stop stuttering and generate fluent speech in all types of speaking situations.

The HCRI stuttering therapy experience is designed to be powerful, practical and transforming. HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., describes it as follows.

1. Up Close and Personal
Our 12-day immersion program works successfully with stuttering types that range from very mild to very severe. Our focus every minute of the day is centered on helping you achieve lasting fluency. You will have personalized, one-on-one guidance from our skilled treatment team, as well as work in a small group setting with others who stutter. HCRI’s program involves a proven system that is tailored to your specific speech challenges. You will feel unwavering support and a sense of personal accomplishment as each day unfolds.

2. Long-Term Fluency as the End Goal
HCRI stuttering therapy provides unmatched learning opportunities for the precise skills that generate fluent speech. We are dedicated to helping you acquire these skills and provide you with the tools and support you need to speak fluently for the rest of your life.

3. Lifetime of Connections
During your short time at HCRI, you will establish strong connections with our clinical team, as well as with others who are going through the therapy experience with you. Often HCRI participants cultivate close friendships with one another that last for years after they return home. Moreover, our clinicians will always be available to you after therapy. At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.

4. Grounded in Science to Yield Results
Our team of research scientists invented HCRI stuttering therapy after extensive analysis and testing. Through the years, the treatment program has been continually advanced through careful scientific studies. As a participant, you will benefit from each of our discoveries and engage in a proven therapy that raises the bar on clinical excellence with demonstrated outcomes. Additionally, you will use treatment technologies, also invented here, that foster proficient, long-lasting learning of fluency skills.

5. Commitment and Reward
Your HCRI therapy experience will call for a lot of work and dedication on your part. During the 12 days you spend at our Virginia center, you will be immersed in the HCRI therapy process and away from all the distractions that come with daily life. Your time and commitment will be well worth it. Nearly all the people who complete our treatment program will emphasize that. Participating in HCRI stuttering therapy will provide you with the skills to speak fluently and confidently.

6. Proven Approach
After treating thousands who stutter, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to providing effective stuttering treatment. Speech is very complex. We break it down into a series of learnable, small steps that make it possible for you to achieve fluency. Research demonstrates that 93 percent of HCRI participants achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program and 75 percent maintain fluency when evaluated two years later.

7. One-of-a-Kind Therapy
The HCRI therapy program, with its detailed protocols and advanced technologies, is offered only here at our nonprofit center in Virginia. No other therapy matches HCRI. Our clients tell us that there are other providers who claim they do the same thing as HCRI. That is flatly not true. Other providers may use some of the same terms. But that is where it ends. Our therapy protocols are different. Our operations are different. Our clinician training is different. And, our treatment technology is only available at HCRI. Moreover, to ensure therapy consistency and reliability, we maintain stringent quality controls that are not available elsewhere.

8. Highly Skilled Clinical Team
HCRI clinicians are practiced and motivated to help you make the best of what we offer. Our clinicians are recognized for their compassion and expert technical skills. They work exclusively with individuals who stutter and have experience treating a broad range of stuttering types and severities. Our clinicians treat more people who stutter in one year than most speech therapists treat throughout their careers.

9. Magnet for Motivated Individuals
People who come to HCRI desire to be achievers. They seek us out to advance their quality of life through fluency and enable a bright future. During HCRI treatment, you will participate with a others from all walks of life who share your passion to live a fluent life. While your learning process may be individually tuned, you will immediately feel the support and encouragement from everyone you meet – our clinicians, other participants and the HCRI staff.

10. Experience and Know-How
If you seek an effective, premier therapy to address your stuttering, you would be hard pressed to find one that equals what we do at HCRI. We have treated more than 6,500 individuals who stutter. This depth and scope is unparalleled in the treatment of stuttering.

11. Where Fluency Happens
If you want to achieve lasting fluency, it makes sense to attend a program that has a rich history of helping people address the unique human disorder of stuttering. If results matter to you, then HCRI’s program has consistently demonstrated positive and lasting fluency outcomes for nearly 50 years. You will be impressed and delighted once you start the therapy process with its power, reliability and true effectiveness.

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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.

Individuals who stutter have traveled from across the U.S. and 50 countries to participate in the HCRI stuttering therapy experience. 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 in Roanoke, Va. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

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.

Learning from Nature and Science to Address Stuttered Speech

Creating effective stuttering therapy involves understanding specific events in nature that give rise to stuttering – and then developing a solution through science to address the problem.

HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.
HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D.

The one-of-a-kind stuttering therapy at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org) is grounded in science and successful with thousands of stuttering cases at all levels of severity.

The therapy was invented by HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his research team who demonstrated that characteristics of stuttering are produced by misbehaving contractions within the muscles of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal folds. The result is that the speech organs during stuttering incorrectly move into positions that are not correct for the intended sounds.

This discovery dispelled long-standing assumptions that stuttered speech is derived from emotional or mental issues. Dr. Webster’s findings changed the way stuttering is viewed and needs to be treated. His research led to defining specific behavioral patterns that occur naturally in fluent speakers. Correct use of these patterns replaces the distorted contractions and movements that produce stuttered speech.

These muscle-movement patterns are called “targets.” Targets include clearly specified speech behaviors and feature permissible ranges of variation. Science shows that targets can be readily learned and retained with the right type of therapy. HCRI’s experience treating more than 6,500 individuals who stutter demonstrates that proper training and use of targets yields fluency in 93 percent of cases.

During a recent presentation at HCRI’s annual retreat, Dr. Webster explained the foundation of the institute’s comprehensive stuttering therapy system, which delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes of any speech therapy. He shared that it is the job of science to:

  • Create methods that help us understand nature
  • Describe essential features of events in nature
  • Define causal relations between and among events in nature

“The good thing about science is that it is true, whether or not you believe in it,” Dr. Webster explained. “When considering the problem of stuttering, the events that happen are also true, whether or not you believe in it.”

Targets learned in HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program are based on what nature has taught us. They are real and they work if done correctly and consistently when speaking, according to Dr. Webster.

HCRI’s comprehensive therapy system involves detailed instruction, practice and support on the use of targets to help individuals who stutter become fluent speakers. The nonprofit center’s therapy program includes:

  • One-on-one guidance by specially trained HCRI clinicians who teach participants how to produce targets when they speak
  • Use of computers in therapy to measure target production and help participants lock in fluency skills
  • Fluency training in the clinical setting and in real-world environments
  • Extensive post-therapy support that includes HCRI’s FluencyNet practice software, a mobile app, program materials, access to fluency practice groups, and HCRI events
  • Clinician follow up after therapy through phone contact and emails

Dr. Webster shares that we all are creatures of nature and our bodies obey natural laws. “Individuals stutter because a physical mechanism within their body forces speech muscles to contract in usual ways. The vocal tract is forced into positions that are not right for sounds that need to be produced,“ he said.

At the same time, Dr. Webster emphasizes that, because of the laws of nature, speech-muscle activities can be reconstructed and retained. Vocal tract shapes and shape changes can be normalized. When therapy participants apply precise standards of performance to targets when they speak, reliable production of fluent speech can be achieved.  Then, a world of new possibilities becomes a reality through fluency.

To learn more about HCRI’s approach to overcoming stuttered speechs using the laws nature and principles of science, click here: 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) 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.

Post Therapy Support at HCRI – Clinical Services

When stuttering therapy participants at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org) complete their 12-day program, they return home with a comprehensive package of HCRI support tools and clinical support to help them maintain fluency for the long term.

Tools for use after therapy include HCRI’s FluencyNet practice software, an iPhone app, program materials, and access to fluency practice groups. The HCRI clinical team actively stays in touch with program participants after therapy through phone contact and emails. Even years after completing therapy, HCRI clinicians welcome calls and emails from alumni needing support and guidance.

For many HCRI clients, stuttering therapy is a one-time experience; fluent speech has replaced stuttering and additional treatment is not necessary.  Yet if  individuals desire additional help to fine-tune their fluency, the institute provides a number of clinical programs. To participate in these programs, alumni need to contact a member of the clinical team for an assessment and discuss which program is the best match for their needs. Following are the clinical programs and services that HCRI offers after therapy.

Alumni Refresher

In this five-day program, targets are introduced at a one-second syllable duration. During the course of the week, participants move to practice at one-half-second syllable duration and then to slow-normal syllable duration. The program provides a review of stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. Other review includes target pairs, exaggeration, and covert practice. Additional activities include telephone transfer, daily situation transfer, and speeches. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive a packet of materials for follow-up and practice. Clinicians review this information with participants and discuss practice strategies that can be utilized at home.

Target Tune-Up

During this two and a half day course, practice sessions are at slow-normal syllable duration. Clinicians review stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. Clients practice using FluencyNet software and audio tracks. Target pairs, exaggeration, covert practice, and self correction are also covered. Additional activities include telephone transfer and daily situation transfer, including mall visits and speeches.

Remote Refresher Therapy – Eight-Session Package

This service enables alumni to review and refresh targets at home via FaceTime with a clinician. The therapy package includes eight one-hour sessions, which are scheduled two times per week. All practice and transfer is at slow-normal syllable duration. Therapy includes a review of stretched syllable, full breath, and amplitude contour targets. The remote program also covers target pairs, exaggeration, covert practice, and self correction. Computer practice is utilized with equipment mailed to alumni for the eight sessions. Transfer practice is tailored to each participant’s specific needs.

Remote Therapy – One-Hour Sessions

This flexible therapy option enables HCRI alumni to have one-on-one FaceTime transfer sessions with a clinician. Each session is tailored to the participant’s practice requirements, such as interview practice, presentations, introductions, question and answer sessions, and exaggeration practice. All sessions are at slow-normal syllable duration. The number of sessions is based on client needs.

For more information about HCRI post therapy support, contact the institute at info@stuttering.org or 855-236-7032.

John and Annie Glenn – Reflecting on a Remarkable Couple Who Conquered Amazing Challenges

John and Annie Glenn at an HCRI alumni reunion
John and Annie Glenn attending an HCRI alumni reunion

John and Annie Glenn are beloved national heroes, each in their own right. With John’s recent passing, public interest in the couple’s remarkable lives has continued to grow.

John is recognized as a space pioneer and made history as the first man to orbit Earth. He made history again as the oldest astronaut to complete a space mission when he was 77 years old. In addition to his NASA contributions, John’s impressive military service and leadership as a four-term U.S. senator from Ohio will be long remembered.

For Annie, life was often overshadowed by the daily challenges brought on by her stuttered speech. As a severe stutterer, she was afraid to speak in social settings and meetings, use the phone, hail a taxi, order food in a restaurant, or summon help when needed. While she was able to adapt to get things done, her stutter held her back. John served as a tremendous support system for Annie, helping her navigate through life with her speech disability.

Her severe stutter was not known to many, even considering John’s very public profile. The couple often appeared together and John helped to shelter his wife from speaking opportunities whenever possible.

Then, when she was 53 years old, Annie and John saw television news coverage on NBC Today about the behavioral stuttering therapy developed by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI).

After she and John extensively researched the therapy approach, Annie enrolled in the science-based treatment program at HCRI in Roanoke, Virginia. By the end of her intensive therapy, Annie was able to  speak fluently for the first time in her life. She called John and it stunned him to hear her fluent voice over the phone.

 

HCRI therapy was the beginning of a new chapter in Annie’s life. With her new-found ability to talk at will, Annie seized opportunities to speak out on issues and help others. She became a national advocate for people with speech disabilities and provided hope and inspiration to many.

While John and Annie are known for their many accomplishments, the Glenns are admired for their loving, supportive marriage that is viewed as a role model for couples everywhere.

At HCRI, we continue to mourn John’s passing. He was a dear friend of the Institute and always accompanied Annie when she visited HCRI. John and Annie have helped raise stuttering awareness and the importance of receiving effective treatment. We are deeply grateful for all the couple has accomplished.

Following are links to some articles that have appeared over the years about Annie’s struggles with stuttering and the couple’s remarkable lives.

 

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.