Foundation News: Burtis/Vogel and Elkins Community Service Award—Translating Theory to Practice

Foundation News.pngBy: Judith Erwin, MA, CCC- SLP, TSHF Service Award Chair

Clinical services for stuttering are core to the scope of practice of speech-language pathology. However, many, if not most, speech-language pathologists report stuttering as the disorder they feel least comfortable assessing and/or treating. The mission of the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute is to help persons who stutter as well as their families, and their clinicians through provision and sharing of evidence-based practices, implementation of progressive clinical training methodologies, and the completion of innovative research with a specific focus on translating theory into practice. Dr. Courtney Byrd, Founding Director of the Lang Stuttering Institute at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas, is this year’s worthy recipient of the Burtis/Vogel and Elkins Community Service Award.


Dr. Byrd believes that the Lang Institute is unique from all other nonprofit stuttering organizations. It is within the university and actively investigates the underlying nature of stuttering, providing advanced training to university students at all stages of development. At the same time, the institute develops and offers evidence-based services designed to improve communication excellence for preschool children through adults. Remarkably, the Lang Institute provides these services at no cost to clients and their families.

One of the unique programs provided by the Lang Institute is Camp Dream, Speak, Live. an annual summer camp for children who stutter. The camp is an intensive evidence-based therapy program designed to help children who stutter achieve the following: (1) increase the positive perception of their ability to establish peer-to-peer relationships; (2) increase their overall communication excellence and improve how they feel about their overall ability to communicate; (3) enhance their leadership skills; and (4) lessen the influence of stuttering on their overall quality of life. This year’s Burtis/Vogel and Elkins Award will be used to help support the travel of an international camper to attend the camp. As stated earlier, Camp Dream, Speak, Live is entirely free of charge. Funds are raised throughout the year to sponsor the camp, and the camp is run by volunteers. Currently, there is a waiting list of 450 children who cannot afford the travel costs to attend.

The Burtis/Vogel and Elkins Community Service Award was established in 2001 to advance the work of speech-language-pathologists who exceed expectation in providing services that benefit the community at large or who advance the field of speech-language pathology. Clearly, Dr. Byrd and the staff of The Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute are excelling in both areas to help speech-language pathology students learn to better serve persons who stutter to “pursue their dreams, speak their hearts, and with no hesitations live their lives to the fullest.”

To view a news feature on the past year’s camp, please go to

Nominations for the 2018 Burtis/Vogel and Elkins Award are due December 15, 2017.

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