American Institute for Stuttering

About: The American Institute for Stuttering provides stuttering therapy in New York City. The “therapy broadly focuses on behavioral and cognitive management strategies related to stuttering specifically and communication in general. The delineated goals of the program include acceptance of one’s stuttering, elimination of avoidance behaviors, changes in affective and cognitive components of stuttering, development of stuttering modification and fluency shaping techniques, and provision of choices for continued speech management following treatment.” 1

Evidence: One clinical trail has been published about the American Institute for Stuttering. Five adult stutterers attended a 3-week, six hours per day therapy program. Stuttering was reduced 50-60%. On affective/cognitive measures (OASES and PSI) four of the five subjects had improved scores. Long-term follow-up data wasn’t included in the study. 2

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 3 reviews
by Matthew O’Malley on
Good for some, not for others

If you’re wondering what adult therapy looks like at AIS, the live-streamed therapy here. It’s a great way to get a first hand look at their services:

I attended the American Institute for Stuttering approximately ten years ago. It has changed quite a bit since then. I went through an intensive stuttering course which utilized strategies to desensitize negative reactions to stuttering as well as promote fluency through vocal fold management. Myself, nor the other people I attended with (4 others) did not experience lasting gains in fluency and upon re-entering normal life, many of the anxieties associated with stuttering quickly returned. The staff was and is very well meaning and supportive of people who stutter. Their heart is in the right place. However, from what I've seen of their clients, fluency increases are usually not achieved. So, if this is one of your primary goals I would not recommend this organization. However, if you're looking to embrace your stutter, gain encouragement on your stuttering journey, and be taught some psychological tools to help you cope better with stuttering, this may be a good choice for you. A recently posted video of a client who has been working with AIS for five years is on youtube. She is happier with her stutter and life, however, fluency gains are absent. So, depending on your goals for your stuttering, you might consider this institution. However, I would suggest a thorough weighing of all the options out there.

by MM on
AIS offers an amazing program

After many years of trying to find a speech therapist who could help our son with his stuttering, we finally came upon AIS. When he was in 7th grade, we enrolled him in a two week intensive course after which his speech was markedly improved. In all the years of trying to find help for his speech, this was the only program that really helped. We had taken him to multiple speech therapists, beginning when he was about 5 years old, some of whom were very well meaning, but weren't able to offer much help. It's been eight years now since he's completed the program. I would say he had a 90% improvement in his speech initially, and today it remains about 80% better than before he enrolled in AIS.

by LeRoy Jones on
Do not go here

Do not go here, this "Institute" does not offer a real stuttering program. The American Institute of Stuttering (AIS) was founded by someone who originally worked for Dr. Ronald Webster of the Hollins Communications Institute in Virginia,a real Institute associated with a University, AIS occupies a few rooms on one floor in downtown Manhattan. The Founder of AIS delivered the Hollins Precision Fluency Shaping Program (PFSP) for Ronald Webster in NYC for approx. 8 years until Dr. Webster finally determined she wasn't delivering it correctly and he fired her. I went to the NYC PFSP in the 80's and knew her. And went back there several times for refreshers. What I found out the hard way is that she never understood Dr. Webster's stuttering program, she never delivered it correctly and she probably was never really interested to deliver it correctly. She was too heavily influenced by her experiences at the Option Institute in Mass. that she heavily attended. The Option Insitute is has a cult like environment led by a charasmatic leader who provides advice on how to be happy and successful using such techniques as "don't judge yourself or others" which you are supposed to do constantly all day long (how practical is that?). With respect to her and Dr. Webster, she was fired as I said and she then started the Total Immersion Fluency Program (a rather bold title don't you think?) using the same information and technique provided by the PFSP without their important feedback computer to judge your voice and used the same material in new manuals with her name on it. SHE ADVERTISED HER NEW PROGRAM "AS THE RESULT OF TRAVELING ALL OVER THE WORLD"!! I took this program and she told me before I came that it was all new material!! She had dropped one PFSP speech target and I trusted her and then I walked around stuttering out of control until I put it back in and then my speech improved. She then continued to change the PFSP program until it was called the American Institute for Stuttering program. The AIS Founder seems to think that she has the "option" to change the speech program she delivers for approx. $4,000 whenever she wants to and experiment with people who are hoping to have control over their speech as often as she wants. The American Institute for Stuttering program is yet one more program that the Founder came up with that does not work. But AIS has a board of famous people who stutter whose speech problem was mild in the first place (obviously) who you would think is active in the AIS stuttering program providing tips and such but they are not, they are just on the Board for show. The AIS program is a buffet of all and any techniques for stuttering determined over the past 100 years including a small part of the Hollins program (hey, what the heck!). AIS is actually guilty of false advertising indirectly since one of course assumes that either the people on the Board took one of her programs or that they use techniques that are in the AIS program or that YOU will be able to eventually talk like them. This is not true. One major part of the AIS program is heavy use of Option techniques to reduce the nervousness associated with stuttering. Their effectiveness is questionable. The AIS program is actually a glorification of the Founders personal experiences at the Option Institute where now SHE is the guru of HER Institute. People believe she is wonderful because they believe she has the right idea that stuttering cannot be cured or really controlled (it is neurological and genetically based) and that she is wonderful enough to know that and tell them that which is not true. People love her because she doesn't make them do the unfortunate tuff work which one has to do to control stuttering (which the people on the Board may have done) and gives them recognition for their stuttering problem and "emotional" support for the problem. AIS is a mini Option Institute and monument to the Founder of AIS who had an uncanny knack for charming people of all backgrounds and professions to do things for her like be on her board. The main stuttering technique is RANDOM FLUENCY MANAGEMENT. Go to Hollins and work hard.


  1. Pollard, Ryan. (2012) A Preliminary Report on Outcomes of the American Institute for Stuttering Intensive Therapy Program. doi: 10.1044/ffd22.1.5
    Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, May 2012 vol. 22 no. 1 5-15.
  2. Pollard, Ryan. (2012) A Preliminary Report on Outcomes of the American Institute for Stuttering Intensive Therapy Program. doi: 10.1044/ffd22.1.5
    Perspectives on Fluency and Fluency Disorders, May 2012 vol. 22 no. 1 5-15.