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

Roll-out Scheduled for Week of January 26, 2009

JANUARY 21, 2009 / Roanoke, Virginia /PRNewswire/ — Scientists at Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI - www.stuttering.org), a leading center for stuttering research and treatment innovation, 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.

In addition, the iPhone records every speech sample in an onboard file for later transmission to HCRI. This information enables the institute's therapists to provide more detailed and precise training to clients, as they learn to apply new speech capabilities in everyday situations.

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."

Webster added that client responses during the trials, which were completed last week, have been extremely positive. He attributes the device's strong appeal to the fact that the iPhone is a practical and fun piece of technology to use for the advancement of stuttering treatment outcomes .

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™, 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.

An estimated 66 million people worldwide suffer from the effects of stuttering, with three million living in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health. There is no cure for the condition - only stuttering treatment can help.

About HCRI

Hollins Communications Research Institute, founded in 1972 by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., has grown into a world-leading center for the investigation and treatment of stuttering. The 501 (c) (3) nonprofit institute is unique from other stuttering organizations in that work focuses on developing scientifically based treatment methods, as well as administering stuttering therapy.

More than 5,600 people from 23 countries have come to HCRI for stuttering therapy. Clients include John Stossel of ABC TV's 20/20 program; Arthur Blank, cofounder of Home Depot; and Annie Glenn, wife of senator and astronaut John Glenn. HCRI is located at 7851 Enon Drive, Roanoke, Virginia, 24019. Contact HCRI at admin@stuttering.org or 540-265-5650. For video speech samples and more information, visit http://www.stuttering.org.