Speech-Language Pathology/Stuttering/Fluency-Shaping Therapy/Fluency-Shaping Programs

Hollins Fluency System (Ronald Webster)


Ronald Webster's Hollins Fluency System is an intensive, residential stuttering therapy program. Clients practice at the Virginia speech clinic seven and a half hours a day for 12 days.

The Hollins program begins with extremely slow, two seconds per syllable speech. This is even slower than Perkin's two seconds per word speech. It also makes all syllables the same length. E.g., at two seconds per word, "American" is a half-second per syllable, which is too fast for stutterers to speak fluently. At two seconds per syllable, "American" takes eight seconds to say and even severe stutterers should be completely fluent.

The Hollins program doesn't use DAF devices. Instead, clients watch stopwatches to time their speech.

After mastering slow speech, you work on "gentle onsets" or gradual onset of phonation. A "voice monitor" device (now a computer program) provides biofeedback on the "gentle onset" target behavior. A second biofeedback device is used to train diaphragmatic breathing.

Clients also practice stretched syllable including stabilization of the first sound position, definite completion of the final articulatory position and bringing articulators to neutral.

When these targets are mastered, the two seconds per syllable speech (ten times slower than normal speech) is reduced to one second per syllable (five times slower than normal speech), then half-second stretched syllables (half the normal speaking rate) and then quarter-second per syllable "slow normal" speech, which is a little slower than normal speech but has normal prosody. This speech rate is still too slow for normal conversations with other people unless you force them to wait.

Transfer is first done with telephone calls to local businesses, and then is done in shopping malls.

. There is not enough transfer into the real world but this is good for Hollins as it protects them from being blamed for the failure that many clients experience after they leave Hollins.