Here is a quick overview of what makes our immersion programs so unique.
- You’ll learn about stuttering and how to identify areas that may be problematic for you. During our immersion programs, you’ll receive expert information about stuttering in general. In addition, we’ll help you become more aware of the situations that may make you more likely to stutter – and how best to handle them.
- You’ll become less sensitive of your own stuttering. We call it desensitization. You will complete activities to help you reduce your fear and negative reactions to stuttering and about speaking in challenging situations.
- You’ll develop a healthier attitude about your stuttering. The technical term is cognitive restructuring. You will learn to hold less fearful, more helpful thoughts about stuttering. At AIS, we incorporate avoidance reduction, mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology to help you shift to a more healthy view of stuttering.
- You’ll learn valuable speech modification tools. During our immersion programs, you’ll learn ways to reduce the physical struggle that accompanies stuttering and discover your own natural speech fluency.
- You’ll become a more effective communicator. You’ll engage in activities that help to improve overall communication and public speaking skills in social, academic and career settings.
- You’ll learn how to transfer all of these skills to the real world. At AIS, you don’t just practice these skills in our office. We provide extensive opportunities for you to engage in real-world practice – with group challenges and strategies designed to help you maintain and continue achieving progress after your immersion program ends.
The AIS immersion program incorporates both group and individual therapy. You’ll get the best of both worlds – personalized attention and the benefits of working alongside other people who stutter.
The most important way to assess the severity of someone’s stuttering problem is to ask the individual how he/she feels about it:
- How does it impact your life?
- How limiting or handicapping is it?
- How much does it control your life?
When assessing personal success in therapy, we consider:
- Do you feel a greater sense of freedom?
- Has your self confidence improved?
- Do you feel comfortable communicating with others?
- Do you feel you have the ability to effectively manage your speech?
At AIS, we measure success by clients gaining the skills they need to live authentically and approach every speaking situation confidently. Countless client testimonials reflect the effectiveness of our treatment. Here is what the research says:
- In a study by Pollard (2012), all participants who completed the AIS intensive program showed significant reduction in the frequency and length of their stuttering blocks. Most showed a 50-60% reduction.
- A study of data from all AIS intensive programs from 2010-2015 showed the following outcomes:
- 98% of clients self-reported significant improvement in their quality of life as a result of the program.
- At the beginning of the program, clients reported that, on average, stuttering had a negative impact on their lives that was rated as “moderate/severe” while after the program, negative impact was reduced to “mild/moderate.”
- Clients showed significant gains in ability to communicate in daily situations. They reported greater self-confidence, enthusiasm for life, as well as physical and emotional well-being.
At AIS, we use proven methods to help people speak freely and live fearlessly.
■ “My stuttering was so bad – I was affected both physically and emotionally. My life changed when I was referred to AIS. AIS is not only an institute for modifying speech, it is also a home. From the first day, I recognized this was definitely the environment that could change the life of any stutterer. I have changed a lot in a very positive way. I am a lot more courageous and willing to speak. This would not have been possible without the help of the entire AIS organization.”
– Desmond B.
Follow-up support is essential. The immersion program is the beginning of a longer process of integrating all of the changes into one’s life. We offer a variety of follow-up services to accommodate the differing needs of our clients including phone sessions, online video chat sessions, practice/support groups, public speaking workshops, fear reduction workshops, and more.
There is a weekly practice/support group for New York tri-state area clients to attend on a regular basis here at AIS. These clients also typically maintain contact with each other during the week as well. The group is a time of focused practice to strengthen speech management skills as well as a time for discussion of issues and challenges. Anywhere from 5 to 25 people typically attend these sessions.
In addition, the National Stuttering Association (NSA) has many support group chapters across the country. Our long-distance clients can join an NSA group for support. FRIENDS: National Association of Young People who Stutter offers regional workshops for people who stutter and their families. Contact the NSA and FRIENDS for information about their resources.
Many of our clients have gone on to join Toastmasters which offer local chapters internationally. People from all walks of life and vastly different professions join Toastmasters to hone and strengthen their public speaking skills.
ADDITIONAL FOLLOW-UP SERVICES AT AIS
- Individual sessions (in person, telephone, or webcam)
- One- or two-day workshops
- Morning and evening group workshops and gatherings
See our Program Calendar for more information.
All follow-up sessions are designed so that clients can take from them an enhanced understanding of speech management, a renewed and empowered attitude and a clear understanding of where to go next. These sessions are typically a combination of skill review and practice as well as in-depth discussion of issues and challenges.
“Before I came to this program, my life was dominated by fear of stuttering, the fear of what others thought about the way I talk, and what they thought about me. I guess about 90% of the decisions I’ve ever made were dictated by an unbendable composer – my stutter. I knew I couldn’t live this way. It wasn’t until I came to AIS that I was taught to let go of all the fears I had bottled up in my life and all the consequences fear instilled in my speech.”
– Augie K.