December 5, 2010 |
Public speaking consistently ranks as one of life's most stressful events, up there with divorce, bereavement and home foreclosure. But there's a look of paralytic terror on the face of the protagonist of "The King's Speech" that goes beyond any working definition of stage fright. As the man who will one day become King George VI prepares to deliver a few ceremonial remarks, his doomed countenance suggests not so much a judgmental audience as a firing squad. Colin Firth, who portrays "Bertie," the second-born, stammering son of Great Britain's King George V, captures the adrenaline-racing horror of a person obliged to speak when speech itself is an uncertain thing.
November 29, 2010
In the film "The King's Speech," Colin Firth plays King George VI of Britain. After his older brother Edward ran off with an American woman, George took over the throne. But in order to address his subjects, the new king had to overcome a major obstacle: his stutter. By portraying the difficulties the king faced in confronting his speech disorder, the film promises to bring awareness to a topic that is often misunderstood by the public, say national leaders in the field. "We are absolutely thrilled to see stuttering portrayed in a way that is going to introduce a whole new generation to how devastating this problem can be," says Jane Fraser, president of the Stuttering Foundation of America, a national nonprofit organization.
November 29, 2010 |
Robin Sullivan was 10 when she first began looking for information about her stutter. She'd had the speech disorder for as long as she could remember ? one of her earliest memories is of lying on a table practicing breathing exercises. She wasn't bullied or teased, she says; she just felt ignored. "I went to the library, and I read everything I could get my hands on," she says. "I was looking for that feeling of not being alone. " It took Sullivan, now in her early 40s, until high school to find the help that she needed.
November 29, 2010 |
My childhood, adolescence and part of my adult life were plagued by a debilitating stutter. Can you imagine being terrified to say your own name, order food in a restaurant, ask a question in school or even answer the telephone? That was my life. When I was 5 years old in Ireland and my mother was in the hospital, our neighbor picked my siblings and me up for school and asked who was looking after the baby. I tried to say "Daddy," but the best I could muster sounded something like "Paddy," which happened to be the name of our pet cow. This prompted other kids to make fun of the cow looking after the baby.
November 29, 2010
If you or someone in your family stutters, a number of national resources are available with information and professional help. To find a group or expert in your area, contact one of the following organizations: The National Stuttering Assn.: An organization with local chapters, some offering support groups. http://www.nsastutter.org , (800) WeStutter (937-8888) or (212) 944-4050. Stuttering Foundation of America: A national nonprofit organization devoted to providing up-to-date information about research, as well as help for parents and people who stutter.
October 31, 2010 |
It's a peculiar person ? if not an unabashed sadist ? who takes pleasure in someone's stuttering, particularly at a public event. Yet when filmmaker Tom Hooper heard that Colin Firth couldn't stop stammering while accepting an acting honor for "A Single Man," Hooper couldn't hide his delight. For "The King's Speech," opening Nov. 26, Hooper had cast Firth as King George VI, the World War II-era English monarch who was nearly rendered a silent sovereign by a crippling speech impediment.
October 27, 2010 |
British actor Colin Firth plays a completely convincing stutterer as King George VI in the upcoming film "The King’s Speech" -- at least that’s the opinion of someone who could have been one of his harshest critics. Norbert Lieckfeldt, head of the British Stammering Assn. , and Firth discuss stuttering and the movie in which King George VI, who unexpectedly took the throne in 1936 after his older brother abdicated, works doggedly with a speech therapist. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation posted on the association's website: (Lieckfeldt)
October 22, 2010
Slow down when you speak. That’s advice not just for children who stutter but for their parents too. Being more relaxed in your own speech helps a stutterer more than telling them to "try it again slowly. " The tip comes from the Stuttering Foundation , which marks International Stuttering Awareness Day on Friday. The goal is to spread the word about early intervention, reports the Newport News Daily Press blog Health Notes . Not every kid who stutters will do so for the rest of his or her life.
February 11, 2010 |
Government researchers have discovered the first genes linked to stuttering -- a complex of three mutated genes that may be responsible for one in every 11 stuttering cases, especially in people of Asian descent. Studies of stuttering in both families and twins had long suggested that stuttering has a significant genetic component. But until now, scientists had not been able to identify specific genes that might cause the disorder. The finding is important, experts said, because it shows that stuttering, which affects as many as 1% of all adults worldwide, is biological in origin and not the result of poor parenting, emotional distress or other nebulous factors that many physicians have cited as causes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2008 |
It's a point that bears repeating. Silencing a stutter is a matter of putting mind over mouth, according to Marcus Hill. That's what the 20-year-old Arleta resident did to become one of the country's top speakers this month by winning a national public-speaking contest for community college students. The Los Angeles Valley College sophomore has stuttered since age 7, when he suffered a deep cut on a leg and was so traumatized that he couldn't explain to his family what had happened.