The Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute has raised more than twice its fundraiser goal in a HornRaiser campaign to benefit persons who stutter, their families and their clinicians.
The fundraiser finished Jan. 1, and each donation was matched by Michael and Tami Lang. The fundraiser was hosted by HornRaiser, UT Austin’s official crowdfunding platform. The goal of the fundraiser was to keep the institute’s programs free and to reduce its waitlist by expanding said programs.
“Many persons who stutter are unable to receive services because the related cost is too steep and their requests and appeals for insurance support have been repeatedly denied,” said Courtney Byrd, an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and founding director of the Lang Institute. “We operate primarily through volunteer efforts — no donation is too small to make a difference.”
Currently, the institution has a year-long wait to join its programs and a three-year wait to join its camp. It serves as the only specialized research center in the nation to provide free services to people who stutter.
According to the institute, stuttering is most likely caused by four factors: genetics, child development, neurophysiology and family dynamics. The Lang Stuttering Institute aims to further the understanding of these factors that contribute to the onset, development and persistence of stuttering through innovative research and clinical competency.
The Lang Stuttering Institute is based in the Moody College of Communication. Its programs include Camp Dream. Speak. Live., an intensive therapy program for children who stutter, and Everyday Leaders, a leadership program based on advocacy. Through these programs, people learn how to target, advocate and spread awareness about stuttering.
“The money from our HornRaiser will help us expand our programming so we can serve more people and increase our ability to train a larger number of Longhorn students who will go on to work with people who stutter,” said Elizabeth Hampton, the Lang Institute’s associate director.
The Lang Institute was established in 2014 through a $3 million gift to UT from Michael and Tami Lang. The Lang Institute also provides clinical training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.
“Just because someone stutters doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that defines them,” said An Nguyen, an electrical and computer engineering freshman. “I really support this because I believe everyone should be confident in who they are. Their differences don’t make them any less human.”