Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Raising Awareness About Stuttering and Speech Disorders

By Adair Parr, M.D.

The Oscar nominations were recently announced and one particular movie in the best picture category is a film which addresses a common problem: stuttering. The King’s Speech depicts the courageous efforts of King George VI of Britain, played by actor Colin Firth, to overcome a stutter which first began when he was a young boy. Although many films have featured characters who stutter, this is the first film to focus on the process of someone overcoming speech difficulties.

The King’s Speech highlights the speech therapy that the king went through to overcome his stutter. The movie aptly demonstrates his frustration with prior attempts at speech therapy. His work with Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, portrayed by actor Geoffrey Rush in the film, allowed him to move beyond the previous failures that he had in speech therapy and to achieve success. The story is particularly inspiring as you watch this man deliver a powerful speech to the British people on the brink of World War II. Hopefully, the movie will result in less stigma about stuttering.

Here is a video of His Majesty King George delivering his actual speech on Sept. 3rd, 1939.

Stuttering is a type of speech disorder which affects the fluency of speech. Stuttering is a fairly common phenomenon. Approximately 1 percent of children stutter, and up to 5 percent may display transient stuttering. Stuttering begins during childhood, typically between ages 2 and 4 and may last throughout life. It may involve repetitions of words, prolongation of speech sounds and blocked sound.
What should you do if your child has a stutter or other speech disorder? It is recommended that you seek an evaluation from a certified speech-language pathologist. Your pediatrician, physician or school system may help you find local resources. More information on stuttering is available at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association website.

1 comment:

  1. The Stuttering Foundation is another great source of help. That is where I got many resources including a referral to a great speech therapist.


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