From Stuttering to HCRI Therapy to Treating Others Who Stutter

Ross S. Barrett believes luck was on his side when it comes to his stuttering and career. Yet, more than luck, it was his drive to achieve fluency, hard work, and passion that led him to where he is today.

Ross S. Barrett
Ross S. Barrett, M.A., CCC/SLP

Barrett recently retired after 39 years as Director of the Precision Fluency Shaping Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). In character with his dedication to helping persons who stutter, he still maintains an office at the institution to provide support to former clients who may need him.

His journey to fluency wasn’t easy. Barrett began stuttering at the age of two and endured his speech condition during his educational years. While many children may stutter at some point in their young lives, Barrett was among the 25 percent of stuttering kids who never outgrow it.

During his formative years, Barrett was taunted by schoolmates because of his stutter. As he grew older, his speech hindered his academic performance in high school and college. He tried traditional speech therapies, hypnosis and even faith healing to address his stuttering. None of the methods worked.

New Hope and Opportunity

When he was 28, Barrett saw an article in the New York Times about a new behavioral treatment for stuttering, which was invented by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. at his Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). Webster founded nonprofit HCRI in 1972 to investigate stuttering from a scientific perspective and focus on treatment innovation.

Barrett refers to the New York Times article as his “first stroke of luck” on his journey to fluency. He contacted HCRI to enroll. While the waiting list was typically long to get into the immersion program, Barrett was able to secure a spot in a matter of months. He calls that his “second lucky break.”

“Once I started HCRI therapy, I knew it was the type of help I needed – therapy that addresses the physical aspects of stuttering and not an approach that focuses on emotions or psychology,” Barrett said.

He found HCRI stuttering therapy to be a transforming experience. For the first time in his life, Barrett was able to control his stuttering and speak fluently. By staying true to the fluency skills he learned at HCRI, he has maintained the ability to speak fluently and confidently throughout his life.

HCRI’s Science-Based Therapy

HCRI stuttering therapy is a comprehensive behavioral therapy program invented by Webster and continually honed through the years. The institute’s approach teaches individuals how to address misbehaving speech-muscle activities that give rise to stuttering – and replace them with new muscle behaviors that produce fluent speech.

Dr. Ron Webster
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., HCRI President and Founder

“At the heart of the stuttering problem is the faulty speech-muscle contractions that occur within the speech production system. Speech organs are forced into positions that are wrong for saying the intended sounds,” Webster explained. “Stuttering occurs as a downstream result of muscle events going wrong earlier in time.”

Once therapy participants are taught new ways to use their speech muscles, they acquire the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently. Research demonstrates that 93 percent of HCRI program participants achieve fluency in 12 days, and 75 percent maintain fluent speech over time.

HCRI’s specially trained clinicians work with participants using systematic treatment protocols and proprietary therapy technology that guide individuals step-by-step through the treatment process. Therapy occurs in HCRI’s clinical setting, as well as in real-world environments. When clients return home, they are provided with a comprehensive package of post-therapy support and fluency tools to help them maintain fluency skills.

“Many therapy programs have evolved from the groundbreaking work Ron accomplished,” Barrett said.

Changing His Career to Pursue a Passion

Barrett’s experience at HCRI inspired him to change his career focus from finance to speech pathology. He went to graduate school and earned his Master’s degree in speech language pathology. After graduation, he said he “lucked out” again. Webster called Barrett and invited him to join the institute as a speech therapist and administer HCRI’s program.

After more than 10 years with HCRI, Barrett relocated to Norfolk, Virginia with his wife when she accepted a new position there. While in Norfolk, Barrett was given the unique opportunity to start his own fluency program at EVMS. Webster arranged for him to use a version of HCRI stuttering therapy so Barrett’s clients could benefit from the same life-changing therapy that he personally experienced.

Barrett and Webster developed a close friendship through the years. Recently, Webster received a note from Barrett sharing that he had retired. Here are excerpts from that communication.

“… I ran my last 12-day therapy group in July. I have officially retired. I will keep a small office on campus just to answer past patient calls.

I wish to thank you for all your support over the years professionally and personally. The therapy you developed changed my life and thousands of others.

It was 50 years ago in July that I came to HCRI as a client. Little did I know then the impact therapy would have on my life…”

Webster said, “I was touched by Ross’s note. I have tremendous respect for him and what he has accomplished. He is a valued friend and colleague.”

Was it Really Luck?

Barrett sums up the role luck has had in his life by noting…

  • I lucked out seeing the New York Times article about Ron and HCRI.
  • I lucked out getting into HCRI’s therapy program without a long wait.
  • I lucked out when Ron asked me to serve as a speech therapist at the institute.
  • I lucked out when Ron gave me the opportunity to use a version of HCRI’s therapy program at EVMS.

Advice for Selecting the Right Stuttering Therapy

For those interested in stuttering therapy, Barrett recommends researching various therapy options and requesting a track record of success from each provider being considered. He also advises to talk with former clients, as well as get a feel for how transparent providers are about their therapy approach.

About HCRI

Since opening its doors in 1972, Virginia-based HCRI, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, has become a leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

Clinicians at HCRI have treated more than 7,000 individuals who stutter. Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcasters, 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 or info@stuttering.org.

HCRI Achieves 50 Year Milestone For Stuttering Therapy Innovation and Research

– H C R I   N E W S   R E L E A S E –

Roanoke, VA, October 4, 2022… Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a nonprofit center dedicated to stuttering research and treatment innovation, accomplishes another milestone with the center turning 50 years old this month.

Rather than take time to celebrate, HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his team are looking to the future and the opportunities that lay ahead. In addition to extensive planning, the team is continuing to conduct research on stuttering and further hone HCRI’s award-winning stuttering therapy program.

HCRI Stuttering Treatment Center
HCRI’s  treatment center in Roanoke, Virginia. This building was constructed exclusively for the purpose of administering stuttering therapy.

What started in 1972 as a small stuttering research and therapy operation in Roanoke, Virginia has evolved into an international center that has treated thousands who stutter with one of the most sophisticated and successful treatment programs available today.

Grounded in science, HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy involves systematic instruction by specially trained clinicians who guide participants through each therapy step. Clients utilize HCRI’s advanced technology and a proprietary app during treatment to make fluency skill learning easier and more exacting. When clients return home, they are provided with a comprehensive package of post-therapy support.

Research demonstrates 93% of HCRI stuttering therapy participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day program. Follow-up studies reveal that 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years later. These fluency results are among the highest documented outcomes of any stuttering therapy.

“Stuttering limits educational, career and social opportunities. When individuals acquire skills to control their stuttering, new doors of opportunity open. The ability to speak fluently and confidently transforms lives,” Dr. Webster said.

Approximately 66 million people worldwide suffer from stuttering, with three million in the U.S. The condition is characterized by repeated or prolonged sounds, syllables, blocks and words that disrupt speech.

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

According to Dr. Webster, “the problem with stuttering is that stuttering is not the problem.” At the heart of the stuttering problem is the faulty speech muscle contractions that occur within the speech production system. Speech organs are forced into positions that are wrong for saying the intended sounds. Stuttering occurs as a downstream result of muscle events going wrong earlier in time.

These faulty speech muscle activities are addressed directly within the HCRI therapy system. Once participants are taught new ways to use their speech muscles, they acquire the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently.

HCRI is recognized for its many accomplishments, awards and “firsts” related to stuttering treatment.

“Our ongoing research focuses on increasing knowledge of stuttering as a physical condition – and uncovering new insights to effective treatment,” Dr. Webster added.

This includes understanding the role genetics plays in stuttering. HCRI partnered with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) on a pioneering study that discovered three mutant genes linked to stuttering.

HCRI has conducted follow-up studies on the genetics of stuttering, including participating with the NIDCD on the first study to evaluate stuttering therapy outcomes among those with and without mutant genes for stuttering.

Looking to the Future

HCRI has a full slate of initiatives planned for the near future.

  • Genetics-Driven Therapy – HCRI will delve deeper into the genetics of stuttering and examine the possibility of customizing therapy for different mutant gene carriers.
  • Anxiety and Speech – The institute’s team will research the effects of anxiety related to speech performance in therapy and identify ways to reduce the impact of anxiety during treatment.
  • Research Partnerships – HCRI seeks to establish new partnerships for cooperative research on stuttering. One of the efforts includes using brain scan technology to identify brain activity before, during and after therapy.
  • Children and Stuttering – Studies focused on children who stutter are in the planning stages and may lead to exciting new ways to help kids learn to speak fluently with greater ease and efficiency.
  • Remote-Access Stuttering Therapy – To make therapy more accessible, HCRI will test the feasibility of remote access therapy that maintains the same rigorous quality standards as the center’s in person program.

“The future holds exciting promise. We look forward to the next 50 years of making a real difference in the lives of persons who stutter,” Dr. Webster said.

More About HCRI

HCRI was established in 1972 by Dr. Webster to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, has become a leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 7,000 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.

The institute is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Virginia 24019. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or call 855-236-7032.

Young HCRI Alumnus Driven to Help Others Who Stutter

In sixth grade, Stanley D. Craig, Jr. of Richmond, Virginia, came to Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) for stuttering therapy after trying other treatments that did not produce results. At age 12, he was among HCRI’s youngest therapy participants.

Yet, Stan’s age didn’t deter his commitment to working hard during HCRI’s 12-day immersion therapy. His focus and dedication to the therapy process paid off. Stan achieved the ability to speak fluently and confidently by the end of his program. For the first time in his life, he could say his name, carry on conversations, and answer questions in class.

HCRI Alumnus Stanley D. Craig, Jr.
HCRI Alumnus Stanley D. Craig, Jr.

Now a 17-year-old junior in high school, Stan continues to speak fluently in all types of environments from school to social settings. He practices his fluency skills regularly and stays in touch with HCRI clinicians. He followed up his therapy with an HCRI refresher program to hone his fluency skills.

“Before HCRI, stuttering impacted my life on many levels, leaving me almost mute when I was in middle school. It took me up to 17 attempts to produce an initial sound. I developed a secondary behavior of head nodding, which exacerbated my struggles to communicate with peers and teachers,” Stan explained. “While I persevered and tried to push through my disfluencies, I was treated differently by kids and adults alike.”

“After HCRI, the change in my speech was remarkable. Now I am comfortable talking in any situation. HCRI therapy is life-changing and I want to do everything possible to help others who stutter,” Stan said.

Stan put his words into action…

Helping Teens Who Stutter

Stan organized a support group for teens who stutter in the Richmond area. The group is called SSEAT, which stands for Stuttering Support, Empathy, and Advocacy for Teens. SSEAT provides opportunities for teens to practice their fluency skills and promotes advocacy of stuttering research and intervention.

“SSEAT’s mission is to provide a safe community for stuttering teens to support each other through social, emotional, and academic impacts of their expressive language differences,” Stan said.

In addition to SSEAT, Stan mentored a student who attended HCRI therapy to help him practice and habituate his speaking skills.

Raising Funds for Therapy Scholarships

Stan set up a GoFundMe account to fund HCRI therapy scholarships for those with financial need. His goal is to make life-changing stuttering therapy more accessible to those who otherwise could not afford treatment. He raised more than $8,400 within two weeks and is continuing to push for more therapy scholarship dollars.

Research Internship with HCRI

Considering his passion for helping teens and young adults who stutter, Stan reached out to HCRI President and Founder Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. He inquired about doing a summer internship with the institute.

The two discussed potential projects that would be meaningful to Stan as an aspiring physician and research scientist, as well as beneficial to the institute. As a result, Stan’s internship work will involve collecting data of speech utterances and quantifying measurements that differentiate stuttered speech from fluent speech.

“Stan is an impressive individual. I remember when he came to HCRI at the age of 12. Even then, he was a go-getter – intelligent and hardworking. I’m looking forward to his contributions,” Dr. Webster said.

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute was founded by Dr. Webster in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Since that time, Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

HCRI clients come from all walks of life and include broadcasters, 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 or info@stuttering.org.

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.

Achieving Fluency and Confidence with HCRI… that Led to a Perfect Marriage 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.

HCRI Announces 2022 Stuttering Therapy Program Dates

HCRI clinicians have helped thousands acquire the ability to speak fluently and confidently in everyday situations. Our nonprofit center’s 12-day therapy is one-of-a-kind, powerful and proven.

We treat individuals with stuttering that ranges from mild to severe. If 2022 is the year you want to move from stuttering to fluency, submit your therapy application to attend one of the programs listed below.

2022 THERAPY PROGRAM DATES

January 3-14
January 24-February 4
February 14-25
March 14-25
April 4-15
April 25-May 6
May 16-27
June 6-17
July 11-22
August 1-12
August 22-September 2
September 12-23
October 3-14
November 7-18
November 28-December 9

 

THE POWER OF THE HCRI EXPERIENCE

HCRI Stuttering Therapy
Here are HCRI participants from a recent 12-day stuttering therapy program. HCRI therapy is highly personalized and conducted in a small group setting with up to 10 individuals at a time.

HCRI stuttering therapy is unlike any other speech therapy you’ve tried. You will find our one-of-a-kind approach enlightening, challenging and powerful.

…Each day of your 12-day program, you will experience progress on your path to fluency.

…Remarkable changes to your speech will occur on a moment-by-moment basis – and you will be in charge of what is happening.

…You will feel a deep sense of connection with our specially trained clinicians who will help you acquire fluency skills on a personalized basis.

…Your time at HCRI may transform your life, as you acquire lifelong skills to control stuttering and speak fluently.

Through fluency, new doors of opportunity can open that were never before available to you.

 

PROVEN THERAPY RESULTS

HCRI Stuttering Treatment Center
HCRI’s stuttering therapy institute is located in Roanoke, Virginia. Individuals have come from across the U.S. and 50 countries to benefit from the institute’s science-based immersion therapy.

HCRI’s stuttering treatment center is located in Roanoke, Virginia. Participants come from across the U.S. and 50 countries for the institute’s 12-day therapy.

HCRI’s documented fluency outcomes are among the most successful you will find anywhere in the world. Research demonstrates the following.

93% of HCRI therapy participants achieve fluency in 12 days.

75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years after therapy.

You can expect similar results with HCRI. Learn more about our nonprofit treatment center by visiting www.stuttering.org.

 

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY TO A LIFETIME OF FLUENCY

Our team is ready to help you achieve skills for a lifetime of fluency. Begin your path to fluency by completing an online therapy application to help us learn about you and your stuttering challenges.

Once we receive your application, we will be in touch with you. For more about HCRI and to view before-and-after therapy videos, visit stuttering.org.  Contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org. We look forward to welcoming you to our therapy center.

 

ABOUT HCRI

HCRI was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, has become an international leader in stuttering research and the development of scientifically derived therapy approaches.

More than 7,000 individuals from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment. Clients represent all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. For more information, visit stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

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.

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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.