Apple’s iPhone Finds New Use in Treating Stuttering at Hollins Communications Research Institute
Scientists at Hollins Communications Research Institute have just completed successful trials using Apple’s iPhone as a stuttering therapy tool to enhance the transfer of new fluency skills from the clinical setting into real-life situations.
The iPhone device was programmed at HCRI with a sophisticated voice monitoring system that evaluates and scores speech behaviors taught during stuttering therapy. When clients use the device during training in outside situations, such as in a shopping mall, restaurant or business setting, fluency measurements for each utterance are displayed on the iPhone screen. Having this data immediately available to stuttering therapy program participants makes speech practice more effective and helps improve the speed with which fluency results are achieved.
The iPhone has exceeded expectations during trials with stuttering therapy participants, according to HCRI Founder and President Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. Client scores in outside trials were similar to those made in the clinical environment, indicating that quality transfer of fluency skills was being attained.
“Our clients now have a dynamic, easy-to-use tool that can be used in virtually any setting to evaluate how well they are using newly learned fluency skills,” Dr. Webster said. “In addition, the device provides training feedback and performance data that were previously available only with our clinic-based computers.”
The iPhone will become a regular component of HCRI’s stuttering treatment during the week of January 26, 2009. HCRI’s stuttering program, Hollins Fluency Program: Advanced Speech Reconstruction for Stuttering(TM), helps people who stutter learn how to replace faulty muscle contractions that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech. By helping people learn how to reconstruct muscle actions that drive movements of the tongue, lips, jaw, vocal folds, and breathing mechanisms, individuals who stutter can acquire and sustain the ability to speak fluently.