My mother told me there was a movie out about a Speech Therapist and a king, and that it could win Academy Awards. So of course I begged her to go with me to The King’s Speech.
The acting moved me greatly. I cringed with each “stammer” that Bertie (the future King George VI) endures, in the same way that I hold my breath each time one of my students gets stuck in a stutter. The loved the unconventional and unabashed demeanor of Lionel in his speech therapy sessions, and the persistence of Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth.
As a Speech Pathologist who went through years of schooling, thousands of dollars of accreditation, and piles of paperwork, I felt that I should have been outraged at Lionel’s lack of credentials and coursework. But I wasn’t. I was mainly just relieved that someone else was having success with helping an individual with serious disfluencies. Because heaven knows, that I am having a tough time with it! And it is the 1930’s for goodness sake! I’ve got to give him some credit for lack of speech programs and national accreditation.
It renewed my spirit in my profession and that I do make the difference in the lives of individuals. Even after doing this job for 10 years (exactly!), I still wish I received more thanks for my job. The number of parents I’ve had actually thank me for helping their child (some of them I worked with daily from Kindergarten to 5th grade!) I could count on one hand. And yet again I felt sorry for myself this holiday season, in which I got no thanks from students or the teachers, whose arses I save every single day. But this movie helped get me out of my glut and made me feel a little bit more important.
updated: Professor X recently sent me a great article written by another Speech Pathologist, who has experienced stuttering.