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Apple’s iPhone Finds New Use in Treating Stuttering at Hollins Communications Research Institute


Posted on January 22nd, by Kim Poh Liaw in archive. 3 comments

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.

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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.

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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.





  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4E3TEGR23PVJEKX5LZYXXPONNU Leroy Jones

    he Hollins Program is a very interesting program that really only works

    >for a few people completely. There is no doubt that the majority of

    >people, maybe even the 93% (claimed by Hollins) that complete the Hollins

    >program, are fluent but this 93% fluency is measured on the last day of

    >the program after a person has spent nearly 100 hours of practicing the

    >Hollins speech “targets” as they are called, using electronic

    >equipment/computers that provide feedback to the client in the highly

    >supportive (of course) Hollins clinic starting with

    > 2 second syllable

    >durations to “slow normal” syllable durations.. After such heavy

    >conditioning ( two second syllables!) it is no wonder that people are

    >fluent, especially in a supportive environment like

    >Hollins where the program is all about stuttering and helping stutterers

    >and providing a program completely for stutterers. Now that is a lot of

    >attention! So the person leaves assuming naturally that they will be just

    >as fluent on the outside.  On the last day of the program I went into a

    >cubicle and read some paragraphs and I was being videoed and was aware how

    >fluent I was as I read but did not know why! because I really hadn’t

    >learned completely what I needed to know. The  problem is that the Hollins

    >program is completely “laboratory derived” and not derived for use in the

    >real world. A client is supposed to assume that the program works in the

    >outside world and if he runs into a problem he is

    > supposed to “exaggerate”

    >the targets and/or practice more. The REAL problem with the Hollins

    >program is how slowly a person talks when they are done. I mean how slowly

    >a person talks after the Hollins program as compared with the people he

    >has to talk to. Just look at the Hollins videos of people who just got

    >done with the program,  yes they are fluent, yes they are happy being

    >fluent and this makes perfect sense but they are talking so slowly it is

    >hard to imagine how they can keep up a conversation with

    >

    >a normal speaking person let alone perform duties at a job interacting

    >with other people, talking on the phone, etc. . If a person could accept

    >how slowly they talk and be able to make people wait for him to finish and

    >be able to not care how slowly they are getting their message across in

    >spite of the interrupting that other people do, then people would be

    >really successful with this program  I mean

    > in the United States the vast

    >majority of people talk very fast, talk over each other.  A person who

    >uses the Hollins targets has to have nerves of steel and incredible

    >patience and will power to be able to do all of this unless they were a

    >mild stutterer in the first place like, well, the people that Hollins uses

    >to advertise their program!!”

    >

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4E3TEGR23PVJEKX5LZYXXPONNU Leroy Jones

    The Hollins Program is a very interesting program that really only works for a few people completely. There is no doubt that the majority of people, maybe even the 93% (claimed by Hollins) that complete the Hollins program, are fluent but this 93% fluency is measured on the last day of the program after a person has spent nearly 100 hours of practicing the Hollins speech “targets” as they are called, using electronic equipment/computers that provide feedback to the client in the highly supportive (of course) Hollins clinic starting with 2 second syllable durations to “slow normal” syllable durations.. After such heavy conditioning ( two second syllables!) it is no wonder that people are fluent, especially in a supportive environment like Hollins where the program is all about stuttering and helping stutterers and providing a program completely for stutterers. Now that is a lot of attention! So the person leaves assuming naturally that they will be just as fluent on the outside.  On the last day of the program I went into a cubicle and read some paragraphs and I was being videoed and was aware how fluent I was as I read but did not know why! because I really hadn’t learned completely what I needed to know. The  problem is that the Hollins program is completely “laboratory derived” and not derived for use in the real world. Hollins says that it is meant for the real world due to the “behavior analysis” that was done and the operant conditioning nature of the program but there is no description or explanation of how this was accomplished and derived and how it works and how it readily transfer  to the real world and if you ask them, you will not get an answer, I asked them and did not get one. In fact, I had to research “behavior modification” and “conditioning” on my own  in order to come up with the description of the program I just explained. Anyway a client is supposed to assume that the program works in the outside world and if he runs into a problem he is supposed to “exaggerate” the targets and/or practice more. You wonder how Hollins knows that this will work since the program is laboratory derived! One wonders what this “laboratory” is exactly. Anyway the REAL problem with the Hollins program is how slowly a person talks when they are done. I mean how slowly a person talks after the Hollins program as compared with the people he has to talk to. Just look at the Hollins videos of people who just got done with the program,  yes they are fluent, yes they are happy being fluent and this makes perfect sense but they are talking so slowly it is hard to imagine how they can keep up a conversation with a normal speaking person let alone perform duties at a job interacting with other people, talking on the phone, etc. . If a person could accept how slowly they talk and be able to make people wait for him to finish and be able to not care how slowly they are getting their message across in spite of the interrupting that other people do, then people would be really successful with this program  I mean in the United States the vast majority of people talk very fast, talk over each other.  A person who uses the Hollins targets has to have nerves of steel and incredible patience and will power to be able to do all of this unless they were a mild stutterer in the first place like, well, the people that Hollins uses to advertise their program!!  But that is not the only problem. I took the Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP)  in 1980 at the Communications Reconstruction Center (CRC) in Manhattan. I also know someone who took the PFSP in 1984 at Hollins since we compared notes on speech targets over a period of many months. PFSP is the original stuttering program that is now called the Hollins Fluency System (or whatever it is called now). My friend, who attended many refreshers and reunions at Hollins said that the PFSP was finalized in 1984. As I mentioned I took  PFSP in 1980. In 1980, in my private practicing cubicle, my clinician walked in and started to cross out sections of the manuals used with the program. Let me tell you I was genuinely nervous, wondering if this was something personal she was doing, wondering why this had to be done and why were the manuals not reprinted since I was not paying nearly $2000 for a marked up manuals? My point: I did not have a finalized program, that is, I was receiving ever changing speech targets and the ones I received, since they were just being introduced, were poorly explained by the therapist because they were new to her! I remember asking questions using my stuttered speech (a real struggle by the way since using all the words you want to for this effort was really important) and getting vague answers that left me confused leaving me to try to make sense of it myself. I asked my friend about these new targets and found out that he was confused himself and had it wrong and still has it wrong until this day!  When I told him how it was supposed to be done, he refused to believe it, hanging onto his interpretation of how it is supposed to be done (which is understandable, who would want to admit to himself that they spent over 20 years practicing, using targets in public, failing, struggling). It gets worse. I acquired new Hollins speech manuals several years ago. There were other changes!!!!  I was in shock! There were changes that clarified, re-explained major speech targets and minor speech targets and breathing targets that when applied gave you much more control over your speech than you had before. With stuttering, if you feel you have control over your speech, in spite of little mistakes or hesitations or repetitions, etc. you are okay. If you feel you don’t have control, if you start to have more and more repetitions, hesitations, blocks, etc, you can quickly go downhill!!   Actually it makes you wonder if the Hollins program is still changing???!!! Now, some people will say “well things are always being improved, nothing wrong with that”. Yes, that is true, but since Hollins states that stutterers make sounds the wrong way, this actually is the main theme of the Hollins program, since Hollins provides VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR RESHAPING your speech from berating to articulation to fluency shaping, a complete new way of speaking, and since they even give %75/25% target usage rates, how could a person have been fluent in the 1980′s ???? Wait, how about all the people BEFORE 1980? How were they 93% successful using different targets? How were they 70 to 75% fluent outside the clinic? The answer: they were not unless their stuttering/self consciousness/lack of confidence was lower than others and using the targets that were available was sufficient for them, like a John Stoessel! The 93% is an in- clinic number that to a large extent is situation dependent. Actually, we have just proved that this is true! As for the 70% to 75%, well, Hollins has never explained how they arrived at this figure! And when I asked Hollins about the CRC clinic in the 1980′s and their PFSP program their answer was that Hollins taught a 100 clinicians and once they were out on their own they sometimes changes the speech targets on their own, Dr Webster had no control over them at all and did not monitor their activity. And this was the answer they gave after I told them I had a letter from CRC with Dr. Webster’s name on it identifying him as the President of CRC! And they already has in possession a paper from the ex-Director of CRC stating she managed CRC thru 1985 under Dr. Webster’s direction. Oh, well. Look, if you take this program, make sure you understand everything, make sure you ask a lot of questions away from you practicing cubicle and ask for a letter from them saying that this is the final program or a letter from them stating that you are participating in an experimental program and sign it if you want to. Or if you are too uncomfortable to do this, which is understandable, then just do the best you can with the program, work hard, and hope for the best knowing somewhere in your soul that it might not work out as well as you are hoping for and certainly get a scholarship if you can. I wish you the best, perhaps you will be very fluent, I hope this is the case. 

  • Leroy Jones

    It won’t matter if Hollins adds the I Phone as a stuttering therapy tool, it really won’t help that much but it sounds darn good, right? I mean anyone who has ever taken the origina Hollins speech program known as Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP) or the “new” Hollins program (both programs have the exact same speech targets, no difference at all) know that Webster can introduce all the electronic gadgets he wants if a person can’t understand how the program works, and most don’t, or if a person is not ABLE TO DO ALL THE SPEECH TARGETS, WHICH MOST CAN’T, these gadets will not help one bit at all. Actually even if a person DOES KNOW AND CAN DO ALL THE SPEECH TARGETS, and this is rare, THAT PERSON WILL TALK TOO SLOWLY FOR NORMAL CONVERSATION IN THE UNITED STATES. ALSO MOST PEOPLE WHO ARE FLUENT DON’T USE ALL THE SPEECH TARGETS AND MODIFY THEM FOR PERSONAL USE!!!!!! These gadgets will not help with these problems, which for the vast majority of PFSP/Hollins clients have. I mean for a guy like Webster who has a PHD in Clincal Psychology and has come up with a behavior modification program/speech therapy program he would be the best person to figure out how to help people USE HIS PROGRAM outside of the lab but he is not interested. He only believes in Skinner, no one else, and does not care for why else would he come up with electronic stuff year after years which does not work ONLY SOUNDS GOOD! I guess that is how he solves his personal problems, only works on the behavior. And he only seems to use people to advertise his program who had a mild problem in the first place (John Stoessel). Just look at his videos of graduates and see for yourself how slowly they speak. Oh, notice how there are no comments, he reviews each one!!!! All that the IPhone application will do is to let you know if you are doing the targets right but it will not help you do the targets right except during the time you are using the I PHone alone at home or perhaps in your cubicle at work quietly or situation like that. So it is exactly like the feedback computer in the Hollins clinic and once you leave the Hollins clinic or once you stop using the IPhone as described and you go out there and use the targets you will have the same problem as before-not being able to use the Hollins targets because you are talking too slowly or because you become self conscious or because of anxiety or whatever!!