Meet Ross S. Barrett

Ross S. Barrett, M.A. CCC/SLP - EVMS Fluency Program Director

Ross S. Barrett, M.A., CCC/SLP
Instructor of Clinical Otolaryngology
EVMS Fluency Program Director
Board Recognized Fluency Specialist

As anyone who stutters will attest, one of the most frustrating aspects of the problem is that neither family nor friends truly can empathize with the agony that the stutterer goes through each time that he tries to speak. They can see the effects of excess muscle tension-pursed lips, quivering jaw, involuntary facial and head movements- as well as observe the embarrassment that stuttering often causes. But try as they might to identify with those feelings, the most that they can do is offer compassion.

Even speech therapists, with valuable training and clinical knowledge, cannot offer treatment from the perspective of having experienced the problem themselves. Ross Barrett is a rare and successful exception.

Barrett approaches the treatment of stuttering not only with an uncommon method, but also with singular experience. The simple fact that he stuttered well into his adult life would qualify him, in many stutterers' eyes, to lead a therapy program. What attracts the attention of stutterers and non-stutterers alike, however, are his Master's Degree in speech pathology from the University of Cincinnati and his long record of success in helping his students establish and maintain fluency.

  • 1983-present Eastern Virginia Medical School, Stuttering Program director.
  • 1983-present Community Faculty, Eastern Va. Medical School, Norfolk, VA.
  • 1976-1983 Speech Therapist, Hollins Communications Research Institute, VA.
  • 1976-1983 Instructor, Psychology Department, Speech Pathology and Audiology, Hollins College, Hollins, VA.
  • M.A., Speech Pathology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • B.A.,  Speech Pathology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mr. Barrett is a longstanding member of and is certified by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and is a Board Recognized Fluency Specialist. He is a member of the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia. Barrett has been recognized as a Health Care Hero by Inside Business and has appeared in many national and local newspaper, radio and television news reports for his expertise on stuttering.

It's A Matter Of Mechanics

To achieve this Barrett uses the EVMS Fluency Program, which helps stutterers retrain their speech muscles to produce fluent speech.

The program is centered around the fact that the physical act of stuttering is nothing more than distorted muscle movements. Certain movement patterns produce fluent speech and patterns other than those produce disfluent speech. Most stutterers have spontaneous fluency from time to time but since it is not the result of conscious effort, they cannot control or maintain it. By understanding the mechanics of speech and acquiring new muscle-movement patterns in a step-by-step manner, most stutterers leave the program with controlled fluent speech. "No one can 'cure' stuttering," says Barrett." But those who learn and apply the EVMS Fluency Program techniques can achieve long-term controlled fluency. I can provide the tools and the benefit of my experience as a stutterer, but each group member must contribute commitment and hard work to be successful."

Experience Makes A Difference
While Barrett emphasizes each student's own role in his or her success, invariably his students stress the advantage of receiving instruction from someone who himself battled stuttering. After attending HCRI (Hollins College Research Institute) in 1972, he dedicated his professional life to helping other stutterers achieve and maintain the same level of fluency that he reached. The former stockbroker went back to academics and received his master’s degree in speech pathology. Decades of experience and more than one thousand students later, his experience and personal and professional successes “speak” for themselves.

"When Ross instructs you on what to do and how to do it, you listen, because you know that he has been in your position, and you see what the EVMS Fluency Program can do," observed a recent graduate of the program. "You can tell that he has an understanding of what you're going through, as well as a true desire to help."

The fact that motivation plays an important part in any type of success is not lost on the student-turned-teacher. When asked what compels him to do this work, Barrett replies, "My motivation is the fluent speech that I hear at the end of each program -- and I enjoy the smiles, too."