For the past 40 years, HCRI's focus on innovation has brought fluency skills to thousands who stutter.
Roanoke, VA (PRWEB) June 21, 2012
Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI – http://www.stuttering.org) is recognized in this month’s issue of Virginia Business magazine as one of the most innovative nonprofit organizations in the commonwealth. This recognition reaffirms a 40-year history of “firsts” for the Roanoke, Virginia center, which is among few organizations in the world that specialize in both research on stuttering and effective treatment of this unique disorder.
For the past 40 years, HCRI’s focus on innovation has brought fluency skills to thousands who stutter around the globe. People from every state in the U.S. and 47 other countries have come to HCRI for the center’s one-of-a-kind, scientifically based stuttering treatment.
According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 66 million people stutter, with three million living in the U.S. Impairing the ability to speak smoothly and spontaneously, the condition can limit educational and career aspirations, hinder social growth, and produce emotional scars that may last a lifetime. Through the years, traditional stuttering and speech therapies have done little to help people manage their stuttering and speak fluently over a sustained period of time.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. recognized this issue and founded HCRI in 1972 to investigate stuttering and develop new, scientifically based treatment options that improve fluency outcomes. Webster and the HCRI team began by conducting extensive research and discovered that stuttering has a physical basis, dispelling long-standing notions that stuttering is caused by emotional or mental issues.
This discovery led to the definition of specific speech muscle behaviors called “targets,” which replace distorted muscle activities that produce stuttering. With these target definitions, HCRI research scientists developed the first comprehensive behavioral therapy for stuttering, representing a marked departure from other forms of stuttering treatment.
Now in its third generation, HCRI’s 12-day behavioral stuttering treatment program works with all major stuttering types and severities, and delivers excellent results. Research shows 93 percent of HCRI clients acquire fluent speech by the end of their 12-day treatment. Follow-up studies show 70-75 percent maintain long-term fluency. The therapy dropout rate is less than one percent.
“Ongoing innovation drives our work. We continually refine our therapy program and create new stuttering treatment tools, such as our ‘clinician in your pocket’ iPhone app and FluencyNet home-practice system, that make fluency-skill learning easier and longer lasting,” Webster said.
HCRI’s contributions continue to change how stuttering is viewed and treated today. Highlights of the Institute’s ongoing list of industry “firsts” include:
- Creating comprehensive behavioral stuttering therapy;
- Incorporating systematic, quality-controlled procedures into the stuttering therapy process;
- Inventing the Voice Monitor, a real-time electronic measurement and feedback system that enhances fluency learning and clinical efficiency;
- Using computers in therapy to make fluency acquisition easier and more precise;
- Creating a sophisticated home practice program, FluencyNet, to help clients reinforce fluency skills learned during treatment;
- Developing an iPhone app that serves as a “clinician in your pocket,” providing real-time speech feedback to help clients practice and stabilize newly acquired fluency skills; and
- Building a stuttering therapy system on a web-based platform, which offers the capability to expand access to quality-controlled stuttering therapy worldwide via the Internet.
“Each day we continue to push the envelope to discover new information, new therapy tools, and new ways to make fluency learning more effective. There is nothing more rewarding than to see someone who stutters experience the joy and personal growth that comes with fluent speech,” Webster said.
Virginia-based Hollins Communications Research Institute is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization that has become an international leader in stuttering research and treatment innovation. More than 6,000 clients have come to HCRI for stuttering therapy. They represent all walks of life and include broadcaster John Stossel of Fox News; Annie Glenn, wife of Senator and Astronaut John Glenn; as well as athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, a supreme court nominee, business professionals, police officers, actors, and even royalty.
HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Va. 24019. For more information, visit http://www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at call 855-236-7032 (toll-free), 540-265-5650 or info(at)stuttering(dot)org.