Oscar Winner Puts Spotlight on Stuttering

Article excerpt

"The King's Speech" shows how a man coped with stuttering almost a century ago, and now the film and its Academy Award-winning buzz have people talking about this speaking disorder in the 21st century. "The history of stuttering goes back to the ancient Greeks when people put pebbles in their mouth to try to cure the problem," relates Anne Smith, professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

"In the 1960s, parents were told to ignore their child's stuttering, and this movie even highlights some unconventional therapies. Today, we know that early intervention and therapy can make a difference in that child's life. Thanks to many new studies of the onset and development of fluency problems in young children and of the neural bases of stuttering, we have learned so much just in the past 20 years."

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"Even though a person stutters, they know exactly what they want to say," explains Christine Fox, professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences. "Our research shows that the brains of adults and school-age children who stutter function differently for both listening and silent reading as well as in coordination of movements for speaking. …