Monday, February 14, 2011
A quieter triumph for The King's Speech?
As well as scooping the awards and giving Australian audiences a shot of national pride, 'The King's Speech' will, I hope, be an inspiration for people who suffer from stammering.
I'm not a speech pathologist but I've coached clients with speech disfluencies. They range from a strong lisp, to stammering - but only in public, to habitually transposing sounds (replacing 'd' with 'v' or 'th' for example).
Some of these people have bravely confronted their difficulty, and some were aware of their problem, but didn't care. They did not want to change anything.
My job is to bring clarity to their communication. If a person wants to develop their professional presence, how can they can do that if they stammer, lisp, or mix up their consonants? In our culture, a a public stammer can be agony for speaker and listener alike - as Colin Firth's George VI so powerfully demonstrates (you can listen to the real Bertie here). And lisps, or an inability to say 'th' sound to us like 'baby talk'.
To be serious about sounding professional, mature, intelligent, capable, I believe these disfluencies need to be reduced or overcome. I refer people to a speech pathologist if they agree to it. I hope that Geoffrey Rush's Lionel Logue will mean more people feel comfortable getting the help they need.
What do you think?