Theories describing stuttering as an emotionally-based problem have been abundant for nearly half a century, despite a lack of scientific evidence supporting those theories. In addition, therapy programs developed from such theories have been unreliable in providing treatment for stuttering.
More recently, research devoted to the physical aspects of stuttered speech has evolved into an effective, as well as efficient, means of treating the problem. Through the use of computer analysis, speech spectography, additional techniques, a succession of essential - though minute - elements of speech movement has been observed which, without difficulty, can take the place of the distorted speech gestures of stuttering.
At the Precision Fluency Shaping Program, stuttering is treated as a behavioral problem, and not perceived as the consequence of a complex emotional disorder. The accurate redevelopment of the physical properties of speech compromises a valuable approach to a perplexing, long-standing affliction.
The term "fluency shaping" is descriptive of the process by which the speech of stutterers is reconstructed. Through an exacting gradation of activity stuttered speech is progressively "shaped" into speech which is essentially fluent not only in the clinical setting, but in everyday life as well.
The Precision Fluency Shaping Program employs laboratory-derived principles of learning in the development of new speech skills. In the therapy program, the physical mechanisms used in the production of speech are precisely and systematically retrained. Initially, participants in the Precision Fluency Shaping Program relearn the proper means of producing the elementary sounds of speech. The stutterers then rebuild their ability to correctly produce syllables, words, and ultimately, complete sentences.
The Precision Fluency Shaping Program was developed by Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D., at the Hollins Communications Research Institute in Roanoke, VA and is administered at the Eastern Virginia Medical School under the direction of Ross S. Barrett, M.A., CCC/SLP. Mr. Barrett helped conduct the Precision Fluency Shaping Program at Hollins from 1976 to 1983 after having gone through the program as a patient in 1972.
As a stutterer himself, Ross has dedicated his professional life to helping other stutterers achieve the same level of fluency that he reached. He was also Instructor in the Psychology Department at Hollins College where he taught Speech Pathology and Audiology courses where the HCRI clinic is located. In 1983 Mr. Barrett started his own PFSP clinic at the Eastern Virginia Medical School where he has successfully treated over 1,000 stutterers.
Mr. Barrett is certified by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Board Recognized Fluency Specialist, and has received the certification of the Precision Fluency Shaping Program.
The Precision Fluency Shaping Program involves approximately 90-100 hours of therapy at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. Each individual receives personal supervision as they progress through the program at their own pace. In the therapy program, the physical mechanisms used in the productions of speech are precisely and systematically retrained. A small personal computer is also used to monitor the participants speech to assure correct development of new speech skills. Initially, participants in this program relearn the proper means of producing the elementary sounds of speech. The stutterers then rebuild their ability to correctly produce syllables, words, and ultimately, complete sentences.
After the completion of the Precision Fluency Shaping Program a follow-up program assists the individual in transferring the use of proper speech responses into the home environment. In addition, periodic data obtained from those who have completed the therapy program is used to anticipate difficulties.
Admission to the Precision Fluency Shaping Program at the Eastern Virginia Medical School is accomplished through the following sequence:
Contact the PFSP Clinic for the current therapy fee at:
Alternatively, you may request information by filling out our Contact Form.
Participants in the program are responsible for their own maintenance during the course of the program. In addition, participation in the therapy program requires that each person bring a good quality tape recorder and six hours of cassette tape. Assistance in meeting the therapy fee may be available through State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies or personal or group health insurance plans.
Within a one-mile radius of the Eastern Virginia Medical School are a number of hotels and motels which offer reduced rates for those staying one or more weeks. Contact Us for more specific lodging recommendations.