Dr. Ron Webster has dedicated his career to helping people who stutter experience the joy and opportunities that come with fluency.
Ronald L. Webster, Ph.D. is president of Hollins Communications Research Institute (HCRI), a national stuttering research center he founded in 1972 to investigate stuttering, develop new treatment approaches and administer life-changing stuttering therapy. Stuttering impacts 3 million people in the U.S. and 66 million people globally.
In addition to leading his national stuttering research program and nonprofit institute, Dr. Webster is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Professor of Psychology (Emeritus) at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. He is an expert source and featured speaker on stuttering and speech-related topics.
The HCRI founder and president serves as an adviser on the application of learning principles to training, as well as a reviewer, guest lecturer and researcher. Dr. Webster trained clinicians from Israel, Holland, Canada, England, and China in the delivery of stuttering therapy. He consulted in the Middle East and Holland, and lectured in England, China, Belgium, and Canada. Based on the inherent, physical connection between hearing and speech, Dr. Webster also founded The Hearing Center at HCRI in 1992. This nonprofit center provides people with in-depth hearing assessments and technologically advanced hearing solutions to enhance their quality of life.
Transforming Lives Through Fluency
Dr. Webster invented the concept of comprehensive behavioral stuttering therapy after he and his HCRI research team demonstrated that stuttering is a physically based phenomenon. This scientifically based discovery introduced a dramatically new way of thinking about stuttering and treating the misunderstood condition. HCRI’s physically based stuttering treatment program is designed to teach people how to replace faulty speech muscle movements that cause stuttering with new muscle behaviors that generate fluent speech.
The results of Dr. Webster's treatment strategy yield among the highest fluency outcomes of any stuttering therapy. Research demonstrates that 93% of program participants acquire fluency by the conclusion of their 12-day immersion treatment. Follow-up studies reveal that 75% retain fluent speech when evaluated two years post therapy. These outcomes are in stark contrast to traditional therapies and devices that produce fluency results in approximately 25% of cases.
To date, 6,500+ people who stutter from 50 countries have received stuttering therapy at HCRI. Clients come from all walks of life and include broadcasters, athletes, teachers, engineers, students, doctors, military personnel, business professionals, police officers, actors, a Supreme Court nominee and even royalty.
Raising the Bar on Stuttering Treatment
Since introducing the first behavioral therapy program 45+ years ago, Dr. Webster and his researchers have continued to enhance HCRI's stuttering therapy program, which is now in its third generation with the Hollins Fluency System II, Advance Speech Advanced Speech Reconstruction for Stuttering™.
HCRI's ongoing treatment innovations make fluency-skill learning easier and more precise for people who stutter. Dr. Webster's team have developed specialized electronics, computer software programs, quantitative speech measurement tools, detailed clinician training protocols, and a sophisticated “therapist in your pocket” app, which continue to raise the bar on stuttering treatment excellence. U.S. patents have been awarded to Webster for some of these stuttering therapy innovations. For a list of Dr. Webster’s innovations, click here: Stuttering Therapy Innovations.
Research and Published Work
HCRI's research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, U.S. Department of Education, J.M. Milbank Foundation, Phillip Morris International, and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Webster and HCRI have partnered with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) to advance the scientific understanding of stuttering. Working together, HCRI and NIDCD teams discovered the genetic link to stuttering. The results of their breakthrough research were published in the February 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Webster's HCRI also collaborated with NIDCD on another pioneering study that evaluated stuttering therapy outcomes among a group of stutterers who possess one of the four known mutant genes for stuttering in comparison to a group of stutterers who are not mutant gene carriers. The results were published in the 2019 July/August edition of the Journal of Communications Disorders.
Dr. Webster authored an inspirational children’s story book on stuttering, "Katie: The Little Girl Who Stuttered and Then Learned to Speak Fluently." He also recently a comprehensive book on stuttering and treatment that reveals new insights and dispels the misinformation that surround the disorder. The book is "From Stuttering to Fluent Speech, 6300 Cases Later: Unlocking Muscle Mischief."
In addition, he has written dozens of articles and book chapters dealing with stuttering that have appeared in the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Journal of Fluency Disorders, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and others. Click here for a complete list: Published Work.
Media Expert on Stuttering and Speech Communications
Dr. Webster has appeared multiple times on national broadcast media including NBC Today, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, 20/20, The Learning Channel, and others. His work and therapy program have been the subject of coverage in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, People, Parade, Sports Illustrated, Scientific American and numerous other print publications, as well as across the internet. For a complete list of media placements, click here: Media Coverage.
B. A., 1959, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.
Major in psychology.
M. A., 1962, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Major in experimental psychology.
Ph.D., 1964, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Major in experimental psychology.
Professional and Honorary Societies
American Psychological Association
Virginia Psychological Association
Dr. Ron Webster
- National Stuttering Expert
- Clinical Psychologist
- Professor of Psychology
- Featured Speaker
Dr, Webster and HCRI were
recognized by Virginia Business magazine for its 40-year track record of innovation.
The Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed a house joint resolution commending HCRI for its groundbreaking research and therapy innovation.
HCRI’s stuttering treatment program was the distinguished recipient of the First Award for Scientific Merit at a national competition hosted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Dr. Webster, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist, received the Outstanding Contributions in the Application of Psychology award from the Virginia Psychological Association.
2010 - present
2010 - present