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.

HCRI Receives Special Funding to Make Therapy More Affordable

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!  

HCRI Headquarters
HCRI’s stuttering therapy institute is located in Roanoke, Virginia.

Thanks to the generosity of several of HCRI’s past stuttering therapy participants, the nonprofit institute is able to provide a special tuition reduction of $500 to individuals who participate in one of HCRI’s 12-day programs by the end of 2022.

The financial gifts from these HCRI alumni reduce the therapy fee for HCRI’s 12-day immersion program from $4,285 to $3,785. Therapy includes 100 hours of intensive stuttering treatment and evaluation, as well as a comprehensive package of post-therapy support.

2022 Eligible Program Dates

Sep. 12-23

Oct. 3-14

Nov. 7-18

Nov. 28-Dec. 9

About HCRI Stuttering Therapy

Pictured here are recent stuttering therapy participants who attended HCRI's 12-day program.
Pictured here are recent stuttering therapy participants who attended HCRI’s 12-day program.

Clinicians at HCRI have treated individuals with stuttering conditions that range from mild to severe – and who come from across the U.S. and 50 countries. The institute’s one-of-a-kind, science-based treatment helps persons who stutter achieve life-long skills to control stuttering and speak fluently.

Therapy is conducted in a small group setting at HCRI’s center in Roanoke, Virginia. It includes fluency training in the clinic, as well as practice in real-world environments. Additionally, HCRI’s computer technology and an iPhone app are used in treatment to make fluency acquisition faster and more precise.

HCRI Stuttering Therapy Can Be a Life-Changing Experience

Attendees can expect their therapy experience to be challenging, rewarding and even transforming. HCRI’s documented fluency outcomes are among the most successful you will find anywhere in the world.

  • 93% of participants achieve fluency in 12 days
  • 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years after therapy

Individuals can expect similar results when they attend HCRI.

Act Now To Benefit from the $500 Tuition Reduction

Linda Booth, Director of Client Services
Linda Booth, Director of Client Services

For those who have already submitted a therapy application, contact Linda Booth for scheduling so you can take advantage of the $500 tuition incentive. Call 855-236-7032 or send an email to info@stuttering.org.

For persons who have yet to apply for HCRI therapy, click here: HCRI Therapy Application. When your application is received, a member of the HCRI team will reach out shortly.

In addition to the links above, call 855-236-7032 or send an email to info@stuttering for questions or more information.

Here’s What Makes HCRI Stuttering Therapy Effective and Enduring

As you evaluate your stuttering therapy options, the key is to find a treatment approach that is proven, effective and long-lasting. To assist in your selection process, following is an overview of the 12-day therapy at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). This one-of-a-kind immersion program was created by Dr. Ronald Webster and his clinical team.

 Below Dr. Webster provides a summary of HCRI stuttering therapy. You can use this overview to compare HCRI’s offerings to other available treatment options – and determine which therapy is best for you.

Dr. Webster Explains How HCRI Therapy is Designed

When our team created HCRI stuttering therapy, we focused on the behavioral analysis of stuttering. Our goal was to develop a premium stuttering therapy that was:

1. Objective

2. Reliable in its outcome

3. General in its usefulness across different persons who stutter

Dr. Ron Webster
HCRI President and Founder Dr. Ron Webster

Through the years, we have applied our latest research findings to continually refine HCRI’s stuttering therapy offering.

At the heart of HCRI therapy, we identified new core features that define stuttering. We developed new methods of training that empower our clients to actively generate fluent speech and to retain the skills learned in therapy.

One of the remarkable features of HCRI stuttering treatment is that it takes into account the inherent complexities of speech production and provides specialized, focused training, thereby improving the quality of our therapy process.

Our stuttering therapy represents a comprehensive treatment system that deals directly with the:

  • Motor malfunctions of speech
  • Formation of correct positioning of the vocal tract for different speech elements;
  • Built-in transfer training that facilitates everyday speech fluency after therapy is completed
  • Reduction in speech-related anxieties by means of in vivo (real world) desensitization exposure. The integration of transfer training and desensitization adds power and longevity to therapy outcomes

An additional feature is that vocal control training for fluent speech is facilitated by our electronic measurement of energy profiles that actively generate fluent speech. Our proprietary technology helps clients better learn and understand precisely how their fluent speech is being generated. Exacting physical measurements provide an unprecedented level of learning and retention of key fluency skills.

HCRI therapy is built upon the physical details that create fluent speech. By working properly with the correct physical details, you’ll benefit from the strength and longevity of fluency skills.

As a result, with HCRI ‘s comprehensive therapy system, you will acquire skills to control your stuttering in all types of situations and speak fluently with confidence.

HCRI Fluency Results – Effective and Long-Lasting

HCRI stuttering therapy addresses stuttering that ranges from mild to severe. THe institute’s clinicians have treated more than 7,000 individuals, aged 11 to 73, from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

Research demonstrates:

  • 93% of participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy program
  • 75% of participants retain fluency when evaluated two years post therapy

Before-and-After Therapy Videos >>

Clients include broadcasters, athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, police officers, actors, paramedics, and other individuals from all walks of life.

Before coming to HCRI, most program participants tried other therapies for stuttering without long-term success. HCRI therapy is designed to teach fluency skills that can be maintained for a lifetime.

More 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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Overcoming Stuttering Paved the Way to Greater Confidence for This Talented, Young Entrepreneur

Akinleye Soyinka is among the latest generation of entrepreneurs who are leveraging their talent, passion and contacts to make their mark on the world. His creativity and diligence have enabled Akinleye to wear many hats, including fashion designer, disc jockey, and social media expert.

His latest undertaking involves launching his own fashion line that consists of cutting-edge clothing and jewelry, which will be showcased on his new website, nuyorkworks.com. Akinleye is humble when speaking about his achievements so early in his career. He points to the importance of hard work and effective communication as the underpinnings of his success.

Akinleye Soyinka
Akinleye Soyinka is a fashion designer, disc jockey and social media expert who is based in the New York area.

Effective communication holds particular importance to Akinleye because he developed a stuttering condition during his teenage years. His stuttering stood in the way of speaking at will, including joining classroom discussions and engaging with people in social settings.

“When I began to stutter in high school, it eroded my confidence. New people I met didn’t get the speech disorder and would laugh when I spoke,” Akinleye said. “By the time I got to college, I learned to simply deal with my speech and focus on what I wanted to accomplish.”

While in college, Akinleye went to a speech therapist with the hopes of quelling his stuttering. But, the twice-a-week regimen didn’t help. Then, he learned about Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) and the center’s 12-day immersion therapy program. He attended the program during a summer break.

HCRI stuttering therapy is a one-of-a-kind behavioral therapy invented by the institute’s research scientists. Specially trained clinicians work with participants using systematic treatment protocols and therapy technology that take individuals step-by-step through the therapy process – and on to fluency achievement.

“Our 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,” HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. explained.

During therapy at HCRI, Akinleye learned life-long skills that enabled him to control his stuttering and speak fluently. He participated in therapy with 9 other individuals from across the country.

“When I came to HCRI, I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. From the clinicians to the other participants, everyone was so supportive. It inspires me to know that people who stutter can get meaningful help from HCRI,” Akinleye said.

When he returned to college, Akinleye’s classmates and friends recognized right away the notable difference in his speech.

According to therapy research, 93% of HCRI participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day program. When evaluated two years after attending, 75% sustained the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently.

“Fluency has given me more confidence and courage. HCRI taught me that stuttering is a physical condition that can be managed with tools that stay with you for life,” Akinleye added.

He also shared that his fluency capabilities are linked to the tremendous support he received from his family – before, during and after treatment.

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.

Nearly 7,000 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI to learn skills for overcoming stuttering. 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.

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.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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