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.

Now, 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 direct treatment. 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.

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 nearly 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 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 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.

 

Why Choose HCRI Stuttering Therapy? – Infographic

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

Infographic - Why Choose HCRI Stuttering THerapy

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.

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

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

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

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

Question: 

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

Dr. Webster’s Answer: 

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

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

Question:

Is your HCRI stuttering therapy available on the web?

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

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

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

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

Question:

Is HCRI stuttering therapy a good value for me?

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

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

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

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

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

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

Question:

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

Dr. Webster’s Answer:

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

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

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

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

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

Why HCRI Stuttering Therapy is NOT an Online Program

We are fortunate to live in this time of tremendous digital convenience with apps and internet services that make our lives easier and more efficient. Online banking, education, stock trading, e-medicine, shopping and more fit our busy lifestyles. 

That’s why it is not surprising when we are asked whether HCRI stuttering therapy is available as an online program. The short answer is… No. And, for good reason. In fact, here are eight reasons why coming to HCRI’s national therapy center in Virginia is so important to achieving life-long fluency.

1. 100% Focus on Your Speech. When you come to HCRI, you are away from all the distractions of everyday life. For 12 consecutive days, you immerse yourself in our intensive program and focus on acquiring skills to speak fluently for a lifetime. The richness of the HCRI experience – and the proven fluency results it delivers – simply cannot be replicated through an online program.

2. Intensive, Distinctive Experience. At HCRI, participants benefit from invaluable one-on-one guidance with our expert clinical team. Specially trained clinicians focus on you and your speech needs, and guide you each step of the way on your path to fluency. This individualized, face-to-face approach is essential to therapy success.

HCRI therapy participants
This photo shows a group of HCRI stuttering therapy participants on the last day of their 12-day treatment program. HCRI offers therapy programs throughout the year.

3. Success Begins on Your First Day. HCRI stuttering therapy is a proven, science-based program that has been tested with thousands of stuttering persons from mild to severe. Each step in the stuttering therapy process helps you achieve success benchmarks that you build upon throughout your 12 days.

As each day unfolds, you will develop a growing sense that you command the skills to make fluency happen at will. The unique therapy environment at our nonprofit center, including face-to-face instruction, fluency-training technology, and extraordinary support, is designed to propel your success in achieving lasting fluency.

4. Group Support and Camaraderie. At HCRI, you will participate in therapy with a small group of people who stutter that come from near and far. On your first day, you will quickly feel at home with the other program participants. You’ll interact with these individuals each day and will likely feel a close bond with them by the end of your program. Many life-long friendships are made at HCRI. These special connections cannot be realized through online therapy.

5. Enhanced Confidence and Self-Esteem. HCRI therapy focuses on the physical aspects of speech and teaches participants how to rebuild speech muscles to speak fluently and spontaneously. Our center’s one-of-a-kind behavioral approach to therapy not only delivers strong fluency outcomes; it positively impacts how individuals feel about themselves and their emotions. Through the ability to speak fluently, worry diminishes and is replaced with greater confidence and enjoyment in all types of speaking situations.

6. Access to Proprietary Therapy Technology. Integral to HCRI stuttering therapy is the use of the center’s on-site treatment technology. Developed in-house, HCRI’s therapy technology makes fluency skills easier to learn and more precise. In addition, these tools help participants effectively transfer fluency capabilities learned in the clinical setting to real-world situations.

7. Lifetime of Post-Therapy Support. Once attendees complete their HCRI program, they return home with an unprecedented package of fluency practice tools and clinical support. Clients are encouraged to stay in contact with clinicians via phone and email contact. In addition, post-therapy tools include HCRI’s FluencyNet practice software, an iPhone app, program materials, access to practice groups, refresher programs and more. At HCRI, we are your partner in fluency for life.

8. Consistent, Proven Outcomes. HCRI research demonstrates that 93% of therapy participants acquire fluent speech by the end of their 12-day program. Follow-up studies show 75% retain fluency when evaluated two years later. These fluency outcomes are among the highest documented results of any stuttering therapy available. HCRI results are based on individuals coming to the institute for therapy.

Making the commitment to take 12 days to solely focus on your fluency at HCRI can be one of the best investments of time you will ever make. Through the ability to speak fluently, confidence increases, personal satisfaction grows, and doors of opportunity open.

————

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.

How 12 Days Can Positively Impact a Life

THE TRANSFORMING EFFECT OF HCRI STUTTERING THERAPY

Dallas native Connor Lane can’t remember a time when he didn’t stutter. While growing up, he couldn’t say his name. He feared meeting new people. He refrained from participating in class discussions. And, he couldn’t order food in restaurants.

As a teen, Connor’s stuttering continued to worsen. His inability to speak fluently impeded his quality of life. Yet, he tried to stay positive and kept pushing forward, making the best of circumstances with each passing day. He spent his time focusing on his grades and exploring his interests.

Connor Lane
Connor Lane

One particular interest that evolved into a passion was his love of music and playing the flute. Connor would practice for hours and perform in school recitals. Though, as he progressed with his musical skills, the speech blocks from his stuttering extended to his flute playing. Connor experienced issues with tongue articulation and control that got in the way of his ability to play.

Fast Forward to the Present

Today, Connor is working on his Doctoral in Musical Arts at University of Memphis and is a graduate assistant teaching music appreciation. Three times a week, he delivers the subject matter to a class of 150 students, while fielding questions during his presentations. His speech is fluent and eloquent.

At the same time, with his immense talent as a flutist, he is a member of the university’s orchestra and performs with area ensembles. He plays with precision and emotion, absent of the worry he once had about tongue control.

Enabling the Dramatic Change    

When Connor was a senior attending Bowling Green State University, he reached a point where he knew he needed to do something about his stuttering once and for all. He did not want his speech to get in the way of his ability to achieve his dream of becoming a college professor and an accomplished flutist.

His prior experience with speech therapy earlier in college was ineffective so he began researching other treatment options. An online search led him to the 12-day stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – www.stuttering.org).

“When I read about HCRI’s program, it was clear that the approach was different from other therapies.” Connor said. “I watched the before-and-after videos and could tell this therapy is something special.”

Then, Connor contacted the Virginia-based institute for more information and applied to HCRI’s therapy program. He knew attending involved a meaningful investment of his time, money and dedication to the therapy process. He was ready for it.

HCRI’s Immersion Program

HCRI stuttering therapy is a science-based, behavioral treatment, which was invented by HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Therapy involves a step-by-step treatment system that teaches individuals who stutter how to replace faulty speech-muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. Through this 12-day immersion program, people acquire the ability to control their stuttering and speak fluently in all types of situations.

“HCRI stuttering therapy is a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind treatment that has been tested and proven with thousands of cases that range from mild to severe,” Dr. Webster said. “No other stuttering treatment replicates the sophistication of HCRI stuttering therapy – or the individualized approach from which clients benefit.”

The Experience

At HCRI, Connor spent eight hours a day working one-on-one with specially trained clinicians and learned new ways to use his speech muscles to stop stuttering. Therapy took place in HCRI’s clinical setting, as well as in real-world environments. He practiced his newly acquired speaking skills with other participants who stuttered and used HCRI’s proprietary treatment technologies.

“The therapy was like a much-needed shock to my system. It was challenging, but such a huge opportunity to learn. I took it very seriously,” Connor said.

As each day passed, Connor’s speech continued to transform and his stuttering continued to diminish. He left HCRI with the ability to speak fluently and spontaneously. He also left with a comprehensive package of post-therapy support that included on-going phone support with clinicians, fluency practice software, program materials, and an iPhone app to help him practice and check his fluency skills.

Connor added, “The therapists guided me every step of the way. I worked primarily with Holly Humphreys who encouraged me, challenged me, and helped me achieve fluency. She was great to work with and I stay in contact with her regularly.”

Fluency through HCRI Therapy

Mrs. Humphreys, HCRI’s clinical supervisor, said Connor’s fierce dedication to the therapy process helped propel his success in the program. “He followed each step of the program to a T and worked diligently each day. Since returning home, Connor checks in with me whenever he needs guidance and support, which I encourage all of our clients to do.”

Mrs. Humphreys noted that Connor is a great role model for how to work hard and achieve lasting fluency with the HCRI program. Research demonstrates that 93% of HCRI participants achieve fluency by the end of their 12-day program. Follow-up studies reveal that 75% of participants maintain fluency when evaluated two years later.

Through the ability to speak fluently, Connor is well on his way to accomplishing his life goals to be a professor and sought-after flutist. According to Connor, “What I got from HCRI was life changing. The experience was priceless.”

__________

About HCRI

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

More than 6,500 people from across the U.S. and 50 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering treatment over 12 days. 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.

 

Results Announced for Pioneering Research on the Effect of Mutant Genes on HCRI Stuttering Therapy

NEWS ALERT:  Roanoke, Va (September 12, 2019) – Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a national center for stuttering research and therapy innovation, just completed another research initiative in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study is the first to evaluate stuttering therapy outcomes among a group of stutterers who possess one of four mutant genes for stuttering in comparison to a group who do not carry the same mutant genes.

Findings revealed significant fluency outcomes for both groups following participation in HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program. At the same time, results suggested stuttering is slightly more resistant to therapy in individuals who carry a stuttering gene mutation. While dysfluency measures after therapy were similar for both groups, personal perceptions of fluency among the carrier group were weaker. The results of the study are published in the 2019 July/August issue of Journal of Communications Disorders.

HCRI has treated thousands of stuttering cases that range from mild to severe.
HCRI’s specially trained clinicians have treated thousands of stuttering cases that range from mild to severe.

For this research, HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. and his team worked in collaboration with Dennis Drayna Ph.D. of NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

The two organizations have partnered for two decades on research to advance the scientific understanding of stuttering. HCRI was a member of the NIDCD team that discovered the genetic link to stuttering ten years ago.

HCRI stuttering therapy was used for the study because of the treatment’s quantitative, systematic methodology. In addition, HCRI clinicians have treated thousands of individuals who stutter with consistently positive results.

“At HCRI, we are in a strong position to facilitate genetics research because of our objective, physically based approach to therapy, as well as the large number of clients we have successfully treated,” Dr. Webster said.

HCRI research demonstrates that 93% of clients achieve normal levels of fluency by the end of their 12-day therapy. When evaluated two years post therapy, data indicates 75% maintain fluent speech. An additional 15% of individuals remain with improved fluency; however, they did not fall into the normal range.

Each group of stutterers was comprised of 51 individuals matched on age, gender and ethnicity. Speech samples before and after HCRI therapy were scored using detailed disfluency measures. Also, participants provided self-reported scores of their speech, based on perceived measures of struggle, avoidance and expectancy when speaking.

While therapy can be effective for mutant gene carriers, according to Dr. Webster, findings from this study provide a springboard for fine-tuning treatment when there is a genetic factor involved.

“We need to delve further into the physical details of speech, with emphasis on the carrier group,” Dr. Webster added. “Additional research will enable us to more precisely define the effects of therapy and may set the stage for customizing treatment for those individuals who carry mutant genes. And, we are working on that at HCRI right now.”

About Stuttering

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

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. 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.

Jean DePiro Overcame Stuttering’s Debilitating Impact and Found Her Voice

A LOOK BACK AFTER 30+ YEARS

Music served as a refuge for the young, gifted Jean DePiro who began stuttering before she entered grade school. To escape the relentless taunting from classmates and siblings, Jean would spend time alone playing piano and listening to music. She would also sing to herself, since the physical properties that drive stuttering are typically not present when someone sings.

While growing up, Jean’s stuttering inhibited her from participating in classroom discussions, making new friends, and engaging in social activities. Her speech condition eroded her confidence and made her reclusive.

Jean DePiro Overcame Stuttering
Jean DePiro

“As a massive stutterer, I was miserable. I couldn’t pick up the phone and say hello. I couldn’t communicate with others. And, I simply shut down. Music was my only joy,” she said.

That all changed when Jean turned 17. Her parents learned about the pioneering work in stuttering therapy at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI). HCRI’s research scientists had identified a new way to view and treat stuttering. The result was a transforming, immersion therapy that systematically teaches individuals how to use speech muscles in new ways to control stuttering and speak fluently.

Jean enrolled in the nonprofit center’s three-week program and began therapy with 10 other participants from across the country. She worked intensely each day under the guidance of the center’s clinicians. Her efforts paid off. By the end of treatment, Jean was able to speak fluently for the first time in her life. In addition, she was amazed by her ability to talk with ease when standing in front of other participants. Prior to HCRI, speaking before a group was a terrifying concept.

“I was in tears by what I had accomplished,” Jean explained. “When you struggle with stuttering for so many years and have it resolved in such a short time, it is an overwhelming experience.”

According to HCRI President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., “HCRI therapy is founded on science and tested with thousands of cases. Clients learn step-by-step exactly what they need to do with their speech muscles to achieve fluency. They are instructed by specially trained clinicians and use HCRI’s proprietary technology to make fluency acquisition easier, precise and long lasting.”

HCRI’s program, which is now 12 days in length, is effective across a wide range of stuttering types and severities. It yields proven, quantitative fluency outcomes. Research demonstrates that 93% of participants achieve fluent speech by the end of treatment and 75% sustain their fluency when evaluated two years later.

After Jean returned home from HCRI, she felt a new sense of freedom and potential. “My experience with HCRI therapy was life-changing,” she said. “For so long, I didn’t have a voice. Thanks to HCRI, now I do and I love to talk.”

More than three decades later, Jean continues to use the fluency skills she learned at HCRI. Her speech never holds her back from anything she wants to do. Music continues to play an important role in her life. She serves as the music director for a popular theatre house, as well as a church choir director and organist, while working in Revenue Cycle Training at the University of Virginia Hospital.

Moreover, she used her journey from stuttering to fluency to inspire a student she met at the University of Virginia. She shared her story and encouraged the student to seek HCRI stuttering treatment to help him realize his career dreams. He took her advice and is facing a future filled with opportunities through fluency.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About HCRI

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

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

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