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Institute's Technological Innovations Lower Cost of Stuttering Therapy to Less Than Half of the National Average

Thursday, November 12, 2009 General News J E 4
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Hollins Communications Research Institute Pioneers Stuttering Therapy Advancements

ROANOKE, Va., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Individuals who stutter now can receive affordable, effective treatment thanks to technological advancements that reduce the average cost of stuttering treatment by more than 50 percent. At the same time, stuttering therapy participants benefit from more effective learning of fluency skills and greater confidence in their abilities to overcome stuttering.

Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI - www.stuttering.org), an internationally recognized non-profit center specializing in stuttering research and treatment, has redefined how stuttering therapy is administered. HCRI researchers have developed electronic and computer technologies that improve the ease of learning lasting fluency skills. In addition, HCRI's developments have significantly reduced the cost of therapy administration, making treatment more affordable and accessible to greater numbers of people.

An estimated 66 million people worldwide and three million in the U.S. have a stuttering disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health. Stuttering can negatively impact a person's ability to freely and effectively communicate, which impairs personal, social and professional development. While there is no cure for stuttering, therapy can help. The cost for stuttering therapy in the U.S. ranges from $50 to $125 per clinical hour (50 minutes), based on figures provided by the Stuttering Foundation of America. The average cost of therapy is approximately $78 per clinical hour.

By integrating technology with stuttering therapy, HCRI clients pay under $35 per clinical hour and benefit from better learning of fluency skills through precise physical measurement of speech and real-time feedback. The Institute's clinicians work with each client and use computers to facilitate acquiring and retaining new fluency skills. Sophisticated speech monitoring and feedback tools, including the use of HCRI's iPhone and iPod Touch application in therapy, help track speech progression and individualized support needs. Finally, when clients return home, HCRI's FluencyNet home practice system is available to them for use on their own computers. FluencNet provides a practical tool for guided practice of fluency skills.

In sharp contrast to other stuttering treatment approaches and stuttering devices, 90 to 95 percent of HCRI clients attain normal fluent speech after participating in HCRI's 12-day stuttering program. Follow-up studies indicate 70-75% retain fluency for the long term.

"Each step forward in the creation of user-friendly technologies means that persons who stutter will experience more confident and successful learning of the skills that generate fluent speech," said HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster. Ph.D. "In addition, the use of technology has enabled each person attending HCRI's program to benefit from a significant reduction in the cost of treatment," he added.

HCRI has treated more than 5,700 cases of stuttering at its Roanoke, Virginia center. Clients come from across the U.S. and 23 other countries. For more information, visit www.stuttering.org or contact HCRI at admin@stuttering.org or 540-265-5650.

SOURCE Hollins Communications Research Institute
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