Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR; www.istar.ualberta.ca) at the University of Alberta has been celebrating ISAD all month! Earlier this month we held a public awareness and fund raiser at the Edmonton Oil Kings hockey game. A detailed story can be found here: http://uofa.ualberta.ca/news-and-events/newsarticles/2014/october/chuck-a-puck-and-support-stuttering-treatment-and-research

Tomorrow, on the actual ISAD we will host a media event highlighting the outcomes of a generous grant that we received from the TELUS Community Board of Edmonton. A copy of the press release is found below. Happy ISAD!


News release

For immediate release


ISTAR, TELUS partnership helps treat stuttering from a distance


Telehealth technology leads to 315% increase in distance speech and language treatment at UAlberta’s Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research.


EDMONTON (Oct. 22, 2014)—A growing number of Albertans with speech and language problems are receiving the treatment they need to speak with confidence, thanks to a partnership between the University of Alberta’s Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research (ISTAR) and the TELUS Edmonton Community Foundation.


A $20,000 grant from TELUS Edmonton Community Foundation in 2012 allowed ISTAR to purchase new polycom technology that significantly improved the institute’s ability to treat clients, regardless of location. ISTAR’s distance client list went from 40 to 170 in just one year—a 315 per cent increase, said ISTAR executive director Deryk Beal on Oct. 22, International Stuttering Awareness Day.


“The technology opens new doors so that anyone, regardless of geography, can speak more fluently and with increased confidence through ISTAR’s proven stuttering treatment program,” said Beal, a speech-language pathologist and assistant professor in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. “That kind of confidence boost can be life-changing, and none of it would be possible without the support of partners like the TELUS Edmonton Community Foundation.”


The technology has helped 11-year-old Connor Franklin find a newfound sense of confidence, in addition to smoother speech. The youngster has received treatment for communication delays and stuttering for more than half his life, sometimes with mixed results.


Working with a local speech-language pathologist in his hometown of Marwayne, a small community near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, Connor managed to make steady improvements, but by the time he reached Grade 4, his progress levelled off.


Their speech pathologist recommended treatment at ISTAR but the distance to Edmonton—five-hour return trips several times a week—was impossible for a busy family with three young children, said Connor’s mother, Ilona Franklin.


The polycom technology made it possible for Connor to receive treatment sessions during his lunch-hour over a period of months earlier this year. He progressed so well that after his treatment he even gave a presentation about stuttering to his classmates at school, said Ilona.


“His speech has definitely improved, but more importantly, he’s more confident and he’s more at ease with himself,” said Ilona. “ISTAR helped him realize that he has something he can do to fix this, and it’s perfectly within his reach, that he just has to practise.”


“The TELUS Edmonton Community Board focuses its giving on empowerment through the use of technology, especially for our youth,” said TELUS vice-president Mark Komlenic, vice-chair of the community board.


“The board is inspired by the unique and important work being done by ISTAR in raising awareness and treating a condition that can be debilitating for so many at any age. TELUS is so very pleased our gift of $20,000 has helped enable ISTAR to offer its stuttering therapy programs through telehealth to those living outside Edmonton or have difficulty getting to the clinic.”



For more information:


Bryan Alary, Acting Director

Marketing & Communications

Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

University of Alberta

t: 780-492-9403 c: 780-297-4425


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