HCRI Therapy Works Across Stuttering Types and Severities

You may wonder how the stuttering therapy program at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI) can be effective with so many persons who stutter. After all, doesn’t each individual who stutters have a unique pattern of disfluencies?

HCRI’s 12-day therapy program is called the Hollins Fluency System III: High Definition Speech Reconstruction for Stuttering. It has proven effective in thousands of stuttering cases that range from mild to severe. What makes the stuttering therapy effective lies in understanding the common, central defining feature that is present among those with developmental stuttering. This feature involves muscle contractions that are not correct for the speech sounds being attempted.

These faulty contractions drive the speaker’s vocal tract into positions that are not correct for the speech sounds being attempted. There are many faulty vocal tract positions that can be seen across persons who stutter. After all, many different muscles can be involved in forcing the vocal tract into incorrect positions. Thus, observations of stuttering appear to indicate that different stutterers show idiosyncratic features in their disfluent speech. This would appear, at first, to represent a potential problem when it comes to treating stuttering.

However, the key to the success of the HCRI stuttering therapy program is that we all must share closely similar vocal tract positions in order to produce recognizable, fluent speech. The HCRI program, through precise, systematic training, brings each therapy participant’s muscle-force patterns and vocal tract shapes into conformance with those that are proven to generate fluent speech.

In effect, by understanding the essential defining features across those who stutter, it becomes possible for a single therapy to be highly effective with the many variations observed in stuttering.

How HCRI Therapy Works to Address the Central Defining Feature of Stuttering

As shared above, Hollins Fluency System III  helps clients with all forms of developmental stuttering learn how to replace faulty muscle contractions that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. By literally “reconstructing” muscle actions that drive movements of the tongue, lip, jaw, soft palette, and vocal folds, therapy participants can achieve and sustain the ability to speak fluently.

During HCRI’s 12-day stuttering therapy program, expertly trained clinicians work one-on-one with clients to instruct, evaluate and guide them through each tested step in the institute’s stuttering treatment system. In addition to personalized coaching, the use of proprietary computer software and a mobile app during therapy help make fluency acquisition easier and more precise. Post-therapy clinical support and a comprehensive package of practice tools help keep clients on track with fluency throughout their lives.

No other stuttering treatment replicates the sophistication of the Hollins Fluency System III therapy program – or the individualized approach from which clients benefit.

What to Expect When You Attend HCRI Therapy >>

HCRI Stuttering Therapy Outcomes

Research studies demonstrated that 93% of therapy participants achieved fluency by the end of their 12-day program. These individuals represented a broad spectrum of stuttering types and severities. When evaluated two years after therapy, 75% of clients maintained their fluency using the skills acquired during HCRI therapy.

More on Treatment Results >>

 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 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.

 

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.

HCRI Program Participants
Recent HCRI program participants who attended the center’s 12-day immersion program. Stuttering therapy is held in a small group setting with up to 10 attendees at a time.

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.

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.

Overview of HCRI Work and Accomplishments

As Hollins Communication Research Institute (HCRI) enters its 50th year of stuttering research and treatment innovation, here’s a summary look at the breadth of work and accomplishments of the nonprofit center.

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.

HCRI HeadquartersStuttering Therapy

  • Under the direction of Founder and President, Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D, HCRI was the first to develop a comprehensive behavioral therapy for stuttering that is based on science. Since introducing the stuttering therapy program in 1972, HCRI has continually innovated and refined the therapy program by developing specialized electronics, computer software programs, detailed clinician training protocols, and technologically advanced therapy tools.
  • Dr. Webster and his research team invented the Voice Monitor, a real-time, computer-based speech measurement and feedback system. The Voice Monitor makes fluency-skill learning more exacting for clients and increases clinical efficiency by 500%. A U.S. patent was awarded for the Voice Monitor.
  • HCRI stuttering therapy delivers among the highest documented fluency outcomes of any stuttering treatment available. 93% of clients achieve fluency in 12 days and 75% maintain fluent speech when evaluated two years later.
  • HCRI introduced the first web-based home practice tool for clients called FluencyNet, which reinforces fluency skills learned in therapy.
  • HCRI introduced an iPhone app that serves as a “clinician in your pocket,” providing real-time speech feedback to stuttering therapy clients, helping them practice and stabilize newly acquired fluency skills.
  • HCRI created a training program exclusively for the institute’s clinicians to ensure consistent, results-based therapy delivery. This rigorous 500-hour program surpasses any available professional training or certification in the field.
  • HCRI clinicians have treated more than 7,000 individuals who stutter, aged 10 to 75,  from across the U.S. and 50 countries.

Recognition

  • HCRI’s stuttering treatment program was the distinguished recipient of the First Award for Scientific Merit by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • The Virginia General Assembly, during Governor Jim Gilmore’s term,  unanimously passed a house joint resolution commending HCRI for its groundbreaking research and therapy innovation.
  • HCRI was recognized by Virginia Business magazine for its long-standing track record of innovation.
  • HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor Emeritus of psychology, received the Outstanding Contributions in the Application of Psychology award from the Virginia Psychological Association.

Research

  • HCRI partnered with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) on a pioneering study that discovered three mutant genes that are linked to stuttering. Results of the study were published in the February 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • HCRI conducted a study on the genetics of stuttering and mucolipidosis in association with NIDCD, the Laboratory of Communications Disorders, and Porter Neuroscience Research Center. Findings demonstrated the two conditions are associated with different variants in the same genes. The study and its findings were published in the July 15, 2015 issue of the European Journal of Human Genetics.
  • HCRI participated with the NIDCD in the first study to evaluate stuttering therapy outcomes among a group of stutterers who possess one of the mutant genes for stuttering compared to a group of stutterers who do not carry the same mutant genes. The results were published in the July/August 2019 issue of the Journal of Communications Disorders.

Published Work

  • Dr. Webster has written dozens of stuttering articles and book chapters throughout his career that have appeared in publications including the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Journal of Fluency Disorders, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and others.
  • Dr. Webster published a comprehensive book on stuttering and treatment that offers new insights and dispels the misinformation that surround the disorder. The book is “From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief.”
  • He also authored an inspirational children’s story book on stuttering, “Katie: The Little Girl Who Stuttered and Then Learned to Speak Fluently.

HCRI Media Coverage

The HCRI therapy program and Dr. Webster’s work have been the subject of coverage in national, regional and local media. HCRI media coverage includes NBC Today, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Scientific American, Sports Illustrated, U.S. News and World Report, and many others. In addition, articles about HCRI stuttering therapy have appeared in digital outlets across the internet.

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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 job potential.

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 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.

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.