Sunday, 31 January 2010

The King's Speech helps raise awareness of stammering and the role that speech & language therapists play

Colin Firth’s performance as the dysfluent prince who ascended to England’s throne in 1936 has generated Academy Awards talk for “The King’s Speech.” The film which portrays King George VI’s relationship with his Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), has also generated unprecedented awareness of stammering/stuttering and the therapists who treat the problem. 
“This movie has done in one fell swoop what we’ve been working on for 64 years,” says Jane Fraser, president of The US Stuttering Foundation, founded by her father in 1947.
The movie depicts Prince Albert’s debilitating stammer and how he overcame it to address the British people on live radio during World War II.
Speech therapists are thrilled with the accuracy of Firth’s portrayal of the condition. He reportedly spent hours getting the dysfluency right as well as imagining the ‘inconsolable despair that those who stutter feel’.
 Bertie, as Prince Albert was known before he became King George VI, had to face his fears about talking when his older brother abdicated the throne to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.  
Early intervention is certainly the key so let’s hope that the film will help with awareness and referrals across the globe.  
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