Is Online Stuttering Therapy in HCRI’s Future?

At Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org), we are sometimes asked whether our 12-day therapy is available as an online stuttering therapy program. It certainly would be more convenient for many. Though currently, the answer is “no.” Yet, what about the future? Would the fluency results with online stuttering therapy be the same as our in-person program?  Read on for more on this topic.

online stuttering therapyIn an age when web-based doctor appointments and digital education are increasingly popular, HCRI has approached the online arena carefully and thoughtfully. This is out of concern for maintaining the quality and outcomes of the institute’s proven stuttering therapy program.

Based in Roanoke, Virginia, HCRI is an international leader in stuttering research and treatment innovation. Since the nonprofit center opened in 1972, HCRI has consistently broken new ground in the treatment of stuttering. Researchers at HCRI invented an innovative 12-day that has been continually refined through the years. This 12-day program delivers among the most successful fluency results of any stuttering treatment.

Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI therapy participants achieve fluency by the end of their program. And, 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years later. The success of HCRI’s stuttering therapy is based on research with thousands of stuttering cases – from mild to severe.

“HCRI’s program involves applying stringent principles of learning, along with precise clinical protocols and personalized guidance by trained clinicians.” said HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. “This rigorous, individualized approach is difficult to replicate online without potentially compromising therapy quality and results.”

Yet, Dr. Webster and his researchers have never shied away from a challenge in the institute’s 49 years. Recognizing the growing interest in online services, Dr. Webster and his team are presently evaluating the viability of online access to HCRI treatment. They are developing different virtual approaches, which will be tested and analyzed before an online option is introduced. Beta testing will begin late this year.

“We will not introduce an internet version of HCRI therapy until data proves the web-based program delivers the same results as the institute’s in-person therapy,” Dr. Webster emphasized.

Online therapy is not an unfamiliar concept to HCRI. For a number of years, the institute has offered past therapy participants a virtual option to refresh their fluency skills. According to Dr. Webster, this offering to HCRI “alumni” is effective because individuals are experienced with program details. In addition, participants are focused on honing fluency skills – not learning them from scratch.

Advantages of In-Person HCRI Therapy

Highly Individualized Learning. HCRI’s one-of-a-kind therapy is grounded in research and principles of learning to optimize outcomes. Therapy is also highly individualized. During treatment, HCRI clinicians provide instruction and feedback to guide participants through the process of retraining faulty speech muscle movements that give rise to stuttering. Clients are taught how to rebuild tiny details of speech-muscle behaviors to speak fluently. This very specific training and ongoing clinician feedback present challenges to successfully administer over the web.

 Access to HCR Therapy Technology. Located in-house, HCRI’s computers and therapy technology make fluency skills easier to learn and more precise. These therapy aids also help participants effectively transfer fluency capabilities learned in the clinical setting to real-world situations. Clinicians closely monitor fluency performance, as participants interact with the technology.

 100% Focus, No Distractions. When clients come to HCRI, they are away from all the distractions of everyday life. For 12 consecutive days, participants immerse themselves in HCRI’s 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 – are challenging to replicate via the internet.

Invaluable Support System. HCRI stuttering therapy is conducted in a small group setting. In addition to tremendous support from HCRI clinicians and staff, participants connect with others who stutter who have come from across the U.S. and globally. A special bond is often formed among therapy attendees that extends long after participants return home. This camaraderie and support adds to the therapy experience and would be difficult to fully experience with an online program.

Proven Results or Convenience?

“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,” Dr. Webster explained. “The ability to speak fluently increases confidence, enhances personal satisfaction, and opens doors of opportunity.”

While HCRI is continuing to study online options for its therapy program, individuals who seek stuttering therapy are encouraged to enroll and come to the institute for its 12-day stuttering therapy. Acquiring the skills to speak fluently can transform your life.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About HCRI

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

More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI to achieve fluency. Clients come from all walks of life and include teachers, business professionals, athletes, broadcasters, engineers, musicians, students, doctors, military personnel, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee, and even royalty.

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

 

 

News Update from HCRI … and How You Can Help Shape the Future

HCRI NewsWe have exciting developments underway here at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), including initiatives that will impact how stuttering is viewed and treated in the future.

As you review a summary of our news below, we ask you to consider giving a gift to our nonprofit center that will enable these projects to flourish. Our goal is to raise $125,000 by the end of 2018.

HCRI News Update

Mutant Genes for Stuttering – Research Initiative:
We are leading a study with the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders that examines the impact of HCRI therapy on persons with mutant genes for stuttering. The findings may lead to an exciting new way to target stuttering therapy to optimize outcomes.

New Stuttering Therapy Program for Young Children:
We have initiated test trials on a new clinical treatment program that is designed to enable fluent speech in children. It would be terrific if we could bring this new method into our HCRI offerings and help children near and far eliminate the burdens of stuttering in their early lives.

Remote Refresher Training for HCRI Alumni:
We have rolled out a program for past therapy participants that enables distance refresher training via the web. While we do not yet have our 12-day therapy available remotely, we have a solid base through this effort that will lead to that long-term goal.

Scholarship Assistance:
We are once again working to increase scholarship assistance to young adults who want our therapy but who cannot afford to attend. The opportunity to participate in HCRI therapy can transform their futures.

How You Can Help

Please help us reach our goal of raising $125,000 by the end of the year. At HCRI, we are on the threshold of remarkable developments that represent new avenues to help more persons achieve fluency. Your tax-deductible donation can make a better tomorrow for individuals who stutter. Please consider a gift to HCRI today. Thank you in advance for your support.

To learn more about the important work we do, please visit www.stuttering.org or call us at 855-236-7032.

About HCRI

HCRI is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. The pioneering center was founded by Ronald L Webster, Ph.D. in 1972 to investigate stuttering through scientific discovery and treatment innovation. Virginia-based HCRI is now 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.

2017 HCRI Alumni Retreat

April 29-30, 2017 – Roanoke, Virginia

 

The 2017 Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) Alumni Retreat is a prime time for past therapy participations to sharpen fluency skills, spend time with the HCRI team, hear informative presentations, and reconnect with other alumni.

2017 HCRI Alumni RetreatThe retreat will take place April 29-30, 2017 in Roanoke, Virginia on the campus of nearby Hollins University. Alumni will come from across the U.S. to attend this two-day event. The retreat weekend features a packed schedule that includes the following.

Saturday: Activities begin at 9 a.m. and include an information session, target review, alumni workshops, transfer activities, and a presentation by Gerald R. McDermott, Ph.D. An HCRI alumnus, Dr. McDermott is Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School and author of the book, Famous Stutterers. In the evening, HCRI will host a buffet dinner for attendees and their guests.

Sunday: Activities feature more alumni workshops and presentations, along with “round robin” practice opportunities. The weekend will wrap up at 1 p.m.

Registration and Conference Fees:

The registration fee for alumni to attend the weekend event is $285. The fee for participants who accompany alumni is $160 per guest. There is no charge for children ages 10 and under who are accompanying alumni over the weekend.

For more information and to sign up, click here: Register Today!

For questions, contact Linda Booth or Bonnie Witt at 540-265-5650, 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org.

How Fluency Changed Scott Nickell’s Trajectory in Life

Scott Nickell spends his work days calling prospects, conducting face-to-face meetings, strategizing solutions with co-workers, and giving presentations to packed rooms of industry professionals.

Scott Nickell - HCRI Therapy Participant
Scott Nickell

As Business Development Manager for a leading distribution company, success depends on Scott’s ability to effectively communicate with decision makers and convey how his company can transform their operational systems into a competitive advantage.

His daily communication requirements are demanding even for the most eloquent and powerful speakers. Though, the gift of speech isn’t something Scott takes for granted – and it isn’t something that comes naturally or easily. He lives with a stuttering condition that surfaced in his youth.

In school, his stuttering hindered his ability to socialize and diminished his self-confidence. He couldn’t say certain words and struggled to communicate each day.

After trying traditional speech therapies with no success, Scott’s parents heard about the unique behavioral therapy offered at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) in Roanoke, Virginia. They enrolled him in the intensive treatment program when he was 12 years old.

“My parents and I saw HCRI as the last shot. The ability to speak fluently meant everything to me and I was committed to giving 110 percent to the therapy program,” Scott recalled.

He found HCRI stuttering treatment unlike any other therapy experience. It was hard work and he was the youngest of 10 participants in his therapy group. Yet, HCRI clinicians provided tremendous support and guided Scott through each step in the treatment process.

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., HCRI clinicians work one-on-one with therapy participants and help them learn new, specifically defined ways to use speech muscles that enable the ability to speak fluently. Webster and his research team invented HCRI’s comprehensive behavioral therapy approach, which has been tested with thousands of people who stutter and continually refined through the years.

“Today, the use of advanced computer technology and real-time speech measurement during therapy at HCRI makes fluency acquisition even easier and more precise for participants,” Webster said. “In addition, our post-therapy clinical support and a comprehensive package of practice tools keep participants on track with fluency throughout their lives.”

HCRI research demonstrates that 93 percent of therapy participants achieve fluent speech at the conclusion of their treatment. When evaluated two years later, 75 percent of participants maintained their fluency.

By the end of his HCRI program, Scott spoke fluently for the first time in his life. When he returned home, people could not believe how well he spoke. It was exhilarating for the 12-year-old to talk like everyone else.

However, Scott is quick to point out that it is easy to fall back to old speaking habits without ongoing practice of the speech skills he learned during treatment. In fact, he practiced his HCRI fluency techniques every day for many years.

“When you are a stutterer, how you talk is always in the back of your mind,” he said. “Even to this day, I recall my HCRI fluency training and take advantage of HCRI’s online fluency-practice tools that are available to alumni.”

Scott believes his experience with HCRI at an early age changed his trajectory in life – from his educational achievement to his career success. “I talk every single day, every single hour, as part of my job. I love what I do. I would be in a completely different line of work if it hadn’t been for HCRI. I don’t know where I would be without fluent speech,” he added.

HCRI clinicians have treated nearly 7,000 people who stutter, aged 11 to 73, from 50 countries. Clients include students, broadcasters, athletes, teachers, engineers, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, police officers, actors, paramedics, and others from all walks of life. For more information about HCRI stuttering therapy, visit www.stuttering.org.