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.

The Cost of Your Stuttering vs. the Cost of Stuttering Therapy at HCRI

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

In this article, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), offers a quantitative perspective to help individuals evaluate the cost that stuttering imposes on people’s lives compared to the cost of attending HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program. 

HCRI’s immersion therapy is a powerful, proven behavioral based treatment that works across stuttering types and severities. During therapy, participants systematically learn how to replace the distorted contractions and movements that give rise to stuttering with new speech-muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech.

Looking at the Numbers: Is HCRI Stuttering Therapy Worth the Investment?

It has been estimated that individuals who stutter, compared with those who do not stutter, are likely to earn approximately $7,000 to $8,000 less per year. The simple fact is that stuttering is generally viewed as a negative in the world of work. Typical business hiring practices and promotion policies do not provide accommodations for persons who stutter.

Cost of Stuttering1

Over the course of a working lifetime of 45 years, the anticipated personal earnings of the person who stutterers is approximately $335,000 less than for a person who does not stutter. That represents slightly over one third of a million dollars of lost earnings. And, in a significant number of potential high achievers, the lost earnings could be much higher.

Cost of Stuttering TherapyNow, contrast that number of lost wages with the cost of stuttering therapy at HCRI, with its high probability of a successful, fluent outcome.

The present HCRI stuttering therapy fee of $4,285 provides an intensive 12-day program involving 100 hours of treatment, pre- and post-therapy evaluation, and practice. That means that the actual cost of this program is under $43 per clock (60-minute) hour. Contrast that with other therapies that may well be $80 to $120 per 45- to 50-minute clinical hour. The lifetime cost of HCRI stuttering therapy comes to 1.8 cents per day.

Your Return on Investment with HCRI

Considering the potential of lost wages over a working lifetime, the investment in HCRI stuttering therapy delivers impressive returns.

Therefore, the return on investment of your therapy fees has the potential to be significant over a career.

Beyond the Money

You may also wish to learn that 78% of program graduates surveyed indicated they had increased their quality of life after participating in HCRI therapy.  In the same survey, 79% said their personal happiness and satisfaction increased and 84% reported greater confidence after participation.

There are genuine personal and economic factors to be considered when you are selecting a stuttering treatment program. Our program at HCRI provides exceptional value to our clients.

Proven Results

Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI stuttering therapy participants achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program. When evaluated two years after therapy, 75% maintain their ability to speak fluently. These numbers represents among the strongest documented outcomes of any stuttering therapy.

Therefore, there is a strong likelihood of success with HCRI stuttering therapy. Your commitment to the therapy process at HCRI plays a key role in your outcomes, as well.

We invite you to learn more about our approach to stuttering therapy and how our science-based treatment can benefit you. For more information, contact us at 855-236-7032 or via email. Our website at www.stuttering.org also offers extensive information on our program and what you can expect.

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.

This Fighter Pilot Addresses His Stuttering with Positivity and Action

Navy fighter pilot Justin Norton never lets his stuttering get in the way of what he wants to accomplish in life. As a young child, he remembers how hard it was to simply say his name and get his words to flow smoothly and quickly. However, he always would do his best to communicate, while brushing off the teasing and strange looks from others. As he got older, he kept a positive attitude and maintained an active social life even with his stuttering.

When he finished high school, Justin attended Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. It was there that he learned how to fly airplanes. Soon after he graduated, he joined the Navy and began flight training. He quickly rose to the rank of Navy Lieutenant and became a member of the Strike Fighter Squadron known as the “Black Knights.” The Black Knights are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

“When I was in the Navy, I noticed my stuttering getting progressively worse under the pressure of my increased responsibilities,” Justin said. “My speech was affecting my flying, and my ability to deliver flight briefs and de-briefs. I knew I needed to address my stuttering to be as effective as possible.”

While Justin participated in stuttering therapy with speech-language pathologists during his youth, he knew he needed a therapy approach that would transform his speech for the long term. His wife learned about the intensive stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) in Virginia. After extensively researching HCRI, he enrolled in the institute’s 12-day treatment program.

HCRI stuttering therapy participant Justin Norton
HCRI stuttering therapy participant Justin Norton is pictured here with his family standing next to the F/A-18 Super Hornet he flies for the Navy.

Grounded in science, HCRI stuttering therapy is a one-of-a-kind behavioral therapy invented by HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. The therapy 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. Specially trained HCRI clinicians work with participants using systematic treatment protocols and proprietary therapy technology that guide individuals step-by-step through the treatment process.

“HCRI is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I acquired lifelong skills to control my speech and learned the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of my stuttering. I’m so thankful for the team at Hollins,” Justin remarked.

When he returned to his Navy responsibilities Justin’s fluency was noticeably improved. There was a marked difference in his ability to communicate while flying, as well as briefing and debriefing flights.

“When he attended our therapy, Justin was fully committed to the treatment process and achieved fluency by the end of his 12-day program. Since returning to his naval air station, he practices daily to habituate his newly acquired fluency skills. Moreover, he knows that to win, sometimes you need to work hard – and he has done just that,” Dr. Webster said.

Dr. Webster also noted that Justin’s ability to speak fluently will open up many career pathways.

When asked about his advice to persons who stutter, Justin said, “My advice to others who stutter is to avoid self-pity and do something about your stuttering rather than be consumed by it. Spend time with people who matter and support you. And, remember to laugh.”

About Stuttering

Approximately 66 million people worldwide suffer from the effects of stuttering, with three million in the U.S, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The condition is characterized by repeated or prolonged sounds and syllables, blocks and words that disrupt speech. Stuttering can impair social growth, educational attainment, and career potential.

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute 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 innovative, scientifically derived therapy approaches.

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.

 

What Differentiates HCRI Stuttering Therapy from Other Options?

You have a variety of treatment options available to address your stuttering. The type of therapy you choose can make the difference between short-term or limited fluency outcomes to lasting, strong fluent speech that you control.

At HCRI, we encourage you to do your research before participating in any type of stuttering therapy. Compare treatment approaches, experience of providers, and documented fluency outcomes.

What differentiates HCRI stutteirng therapy?Our nonprofit center has treated 7,000+ individuals, with stuttering conditions that range from mild to severe. Research on therapy results shows that 93% of clients achieve fluent speech by the end of their 12-day HCRI program.

When evaluated two years later, 75% of clients maintain fluency. Moreover, these individuals have the fluency tools they need to control their speech in all types of speaking situations.

As you consider your treatment choices, following are key points you need to know about HCRI stuttering therapy. We invite you to contact us to learn more.

HCRI Therapy Distinctions

  • You benefit from an original, scientifically-based treatment system for stuttering that is comprehensive and focused on your specific speech needs.
  • HCRI therapy focuses on the motor, cognitive and emotional dimensions of stuttering.
  • HCRI’s immersion therapy is specifically designed for highly effective learning and retention of fluency skills.
  • You will learn and apply clearly specified target behaviors that actively generate fluent speech. These target behaviors were developed here at HCRI.
  • Therapy involves established, specific and proven training progressions that enable the transfer of fluency skills to everyday life.
  • To facilitate the learning of lasting fluency skills, HCRI has developed performance norms and advancement criteria for objectively evaluating each participant’s progress in therapy.
  • Your therapy includes computer-facilitated instruction, which was developed at HCRI and tested with thousands of persons in therapy.
  • HCRI researchers invented proprietary, patented electronics that provide you with real-time measurement and feedback of fluency targets. You also have access to HCRI’s iPhone app and FluencyNet software to measure your fluency targets at home, school or work.
  • You benefit from HCRI-specific procedures for effectively transferring clinic-learned fluency skills to all types of life settings.
  • HCRI clinicians have specialized training to effectively administer the institute’s therapy program. Our team is held to high standards of excellence in stuttering therapy delivery.
  • You benefit from extensive post-therapy support and access to resources only available at HCRI. These include phone and email contact with clinicians, FluencyNet practice software, HCRI’s iPhone app, program materials, and more. We also have available brief refresher training, if needed.
  • After therapy, program graduates become part of our growing HCRI alumni network. Alumni receive regular HCRI communication and may opt to take part in alumni-led practice groups. Alumni are encouraged to reach out to HCRI clinicians on an ongoing basis – even years after therapy.

To learn more, contact us at 855-236-7032 or info@stuttering.org. And, you’ll find lots of information about our therapy, along with before-and-after videos, at www.stuttering.org.

 

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.

A View into Stuttering: Incidence, Characteristics and Treatment

Stuttering is one of humankind’s most misunderstood and mistreated disorders.

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

In this primer on stuttering, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. provides an overview on the prevalence and characteristics of stuttering, along with key genetic findings and treatment options. Dr. Webster is president and founder of Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI). He also is a clinical psychologist, author, and professor emeritus of psychology. HCRI is an internationally recognized center for stuttering research and treatment innovation.

When Did Stuttering First Appear in Humans?

Stuttering is unique to humans and has a long, long history in human experience. Research and publications suggest that stuttering became part of the human condition as long as 60,000 years ago and evolved along with our species, homo sapiens.

Ancient Egyptian clay tablets from 4,000 years B.C. referenced stuttering and labeled it “nit-nit.” Chinese poetry noted stuttering over 2,500 years ago B.C. The Bible and Koran make reference to stuttering in a number of instances. In particular, the Bible suggests that Moses may have been a stutterer and, for that reason, asked his brother Aaron to read the Ten Commandments after he came down from the mountain.

Incidence of Stuttering

Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a global disorder, occurring in one-percent of the population. Thus, in the U.S., there are approximately three million persons who stutter. Globally, stutterers number about 70 million. Stuttering affects four times as many males as females. The type and severity of stuttering varies by individual – and the condition may change in intensity, based on the day and speaking situation.

Characteristics and Onset of Stuttering

Individuals who stutter experience involuntary disruptions in their flow of speech, which impacts their ability to speak fluently and effectively communicate in everyday situations.

primer on stutteringStuttering is characterized by interruptions in the flow of speech that take the form of repetitions of sounds, syllables and words (as with “my-my-my-my house”); prolonging the initial sounds of syllables (like “n-n-n-no”); and voice blockage when no sound is produced. These speech characteristics may be accompanied by overt physical behaviors, such as rapid eye blinks, facial twitches or tremors of the lips.

The onset of stuttering typically occurs in 4 to 5 percent of children. It happens when children are between two and four years of age, as speech and language skills are developing. While about 69% of children will outgrow the problem by age 12, their stuttering can negatively impact friendships, daily interactions, and school performance.

If childhood stuttering persists into adolescence, it is unlikely that spontaneous remission will occur as the person ages. Life-long stuttering can dramatically impede social, educational and economic growth, as well as limit the realization of an individual’s personal potential. Stutterers are estimated to earn about $5,000 to $8,000 per year less than their peers who do not stutter.

More on the cost of stuttering >>

Role of Genetics in Stuttering

Stuttering is well known to occur within families. Around 70% of persons who stutter can identify another family member or members who stutter.  For men who have ever stuttered, 9% of their daughters and 22% of their sons likely will be stutterers. For women who have ever stuttered, 17% of their daughters and 36% of their sons likely will be identified as stutterers. Thus, the evidence suggests that women pass on genetic material related to stuttering more than men, even though they are found to stutter less themselves.

In a breakthrough study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), three mutant genes linked to stuttering were identified, and the identification of a fourth mutant gene followed. HCRI collaborated with the NIDCD on this genetic research, as well as with follow-up studies.

HCRI’s work on the genetics of stuttering >>

At the present time, one or more of the mutant genes have been found in approximately 20% of cases showing stuttering. Further research is likely to identify additional mutant genes involved in the causation of stuttering. The key point is that clear evidence of genetic involvement with stuttering support the basic thesis that mechanisms internal to the biological function of humans are causal in stuttering.

In addition to genetic factors, evidence is developing that both children and adults who stutter display anomalies of brain structure and function in areas involved in the production of speech.

Treatment Approaches

There is no cure for stuttering; yet, there are different therapies to help lessen or remedy the condition. Each of the treatments has varying degrees of success and individuals should evaluate treatment options to determine which approaches are best suited to their needs. Therapy options include the following.

  • Traditional speech therapy that involves regularly scheduled sessions with a provider to help reduce disfluency and stress. This type of therapy tends to be open-ended and can last for several years. Fluency outcomes are mildly effective.
  • Counseling-related therapies that focus on helping clients accept their stuttering and decrease communication anxiety. While those treated may benefit from counseling as a means to better accept the fact they stutter, few become fluent.
  • Self-help groups provide a support system for individuals who stutter and help them feel better about their speech. Yet, as with counseling-related approaches, very few individuals achieve fluency.
  • Science-based behavioral therapy, invented by HCRI research scientists, has consistently proven to help individuals achieve and sustain fluent speech. This 12-day immersion treatment teaches persons how to replace faulty speech muscles that give rise to stuttering and replace them with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. Research demonstrates that 93% of therapy participants achieve fluency after 12 days. 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated 2 years after therapy.

More about 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) 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.

 

HCRI Receives $200,000 Gift from National TV Journalist John Stossel

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org), an international stuttering research and therapy center headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, has received a $200,000 gift from national television journalist John Stossel.

John Stossel
Photograph of John Stossel by Gage Skidmore

Mr. Stossel is a former HCRI stuttering therapy client. He is an Emmy Award winning television journalist, news anchor, book author, columnist, and pundit. Mr. Stossel is recognized for his distinguished career on ABC News and Fox Business Channel, as well as his libertarian perspectives on Stossel TV.

“This meaningful gift will enable our nonprofit institute to continue helping individuals who stutter open doors of opportunity that were never before possible,” said HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Funds from Mr. Stossel’s  donation will be used to support the center’s therapy scholarship program and stuttering research initiatives.

“We are grateful for John’s generosity in supporting our important cause. His impressive communication skills are a fine example of how HCRI’s science-based therapy can help individuals stop stuttering and speak fluently in all types of situations,” Dr. Webster said.

Mr. Stossel has been an ally of HCRI through the years. He has promoted the institute in news stories and provided financial support. In recognition of Mr. Stossel’s generous gift, HCRI is designating clinical space at the institute in his name.

HCRI therapy participants spend 12 days in HCRI’s clinic learning lifelong skills that enable them to stop stuttering and speak fluently. The institute’s stuttering treatment program delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes for stuttering therapy. Research demonstrates that 93% of program participants achieve fluency by the end of HCRI therapy. When evaluated two years after treatment, 75% of clients sustained their fluency skills.

Mr. Stossel made his donation to HCRI using bitcoin, which was the institute’s first experience accepting a gift in digital currency. Dr. Webster noted that processing the cryptocurrency donation was an intriguing learning experience – and likely an indicator of what is in store for future gifts across nonprofits.

More than 7,000 people from 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 was founded by Dr. Webster to investigate stuttering, develop new treatment approaches, and administer life-changing stuttering therapy. Stuttering impacts three million people in the U.S. and 66 million people globally.

HCRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is in its 49th year of operation. The center is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at 855-236-7032.

Roanoke Valley Serves as an Inspiring Backdrop for HCRI’s Stuttering Therapy Center

Participants in the Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) stuttering therapy program, held in Roanoke, Virginia, come ready to immerse themselves for 12 consecutive days to acquire skills that enable a lifetime of fluency.

Before arriving at the Institute, program participants engage in multiple communications by phone, mail and email with members of the HCRI team. This ensures attendees know exactly what to expect from their therapy experience and what is required to maximize fluency outcomes.

An evening view of Roanoke, Virginia -Photo by Joe Ravi

While attendees are well-informed about HCRI’s comprehensive behavioral treatment system, they often are surprised by the mountainous, lush beauty of the Roanoke area and the plethora of available activities.

Since the program’s 12 days are packed with therapy activities, many individuals make plans to return to the area or extend their stay to take in the recreation and area attractions.

Something for Everyone

McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail. – RoanokeOutside.com

Outdoor activities abound in the Roanoke Valley with the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, inspiring trails, expansive parks, scenic overlooks, lakes, wildlife, and rivers. From hiking and biking to kayaking and fishing, the Roanoke Valley offers enticing recreation to appeal to nearly every interest.

The Appalachian Trail goes through the Roanoke area and offers superb hiking, along with spectacular views. Other scenic trails pepper the area and offer fun and challenging hiking and mountain-biking adventures.

Smith Mountain Lake covers 20,600 acres and offers water activities and entertainment for all ages.
Smith Mountain Lake covers 20,600 acres and offers water activities and entertainment for all ages.

Nearby Smith Mountain Lake, with its 500 miles of beautiful shoreline, is a hub of activity for all types of water sports, including boating, skiing and swimming.

For anglers, the James River offers some of the best fishing in the state. The river is ideal for kayaking, canoeing and river tubing, as well.

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers unforgettable views of long-range vistas, pastoral landscapes and mountainscapes.
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers unforgettable views of long-range vistas, pastoral landscapes and mountainscapes.

For more leisurely outdoor activities, the Blue Ridge Parkway is minutes from Roanoke and a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon driving in the midst of breathtaking scenery. There are many overlooks along the way and places to picnic while taking in the views.

Visitors also enjoy spending time strolling and biking along the miles of Roanoke Valley Greenways that weave through the heart of the city and beyond. Plus, there are more than 70 parks in the area to enjoy.

Roanoke Star
The Roanoke Star is a popular destination and offers two overlooks with picturesque views of the city. -VisitRoanokeVa.com

Unique Attractions and Cultural Experiences

The Roanoke area features a wide range of appealing sights and attractions. These include the famous mountaintop Roanoke Star, the city’s charming historic downtown, unique shops, and award-winning restaurants.

Roanoke is rich in museums, including The Taubman Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Transportation, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke Pinball Museum, O. Winston Link Museum, History Museum of Western Virginia and others.

The area is host to a growing number of craft breweries and wineries that offer tours and tastings. The city provides a full calendar of special events, theater, concerts, and festivals throughout the year.

Easy Access

Our friendly city is easily accessible and within a day’s drive of 65% of the U.S. population. If you choose to fly, you will find the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport a short 15-minute drive to the Institute.

When you schedule your HCRI therapy, we will provide you with a list of area lodging options and contact information for reservations. We have negotiated special rates for HCRI program participants at nearby hotels – some within walking distance of the Institute – to help reduce your travel costs.

To learn more about HCRI stuttering therapy, please reach out by calling 855-236-7032 or send an email. Our website, www.stuttering.org, provides a host of helpful information, before-and-after therapy videos, and HCRI’s online therapy application.

For more about things to do in the Roanoke area, click here: VisitRoanokeVa.com.