People who live with stuttering are getting some welcome relief with the overwhelming positive response of the Oscar winning movie “The King’s Speech” that deals with King of England George VI’s stuttering and overcoming his fear of public speaking.
Nina Reeves, a board recognized fluency specialist/mentor in stuttering therapy services has worked with McKinney ISD for the last two years, said she is thankful that a movie finally portrays people who stutter with intelligence.
“I really thought ‘The King’s Speech’ was the best portrayal of stuttering that I’ve
seen, even though we would never use the methods today that the doctor used in the movie. It was a great example of someone who has a severe case of stuttering, and how if you believe in yourself and someone also believes in you, then you can overcome the obstacle,” Reeves said.
The McKinney resident uses new methods with her clients and with the speech pathology staff at McKinney ISD, in addition to Garland ISD, and Frisco ISD to help people who stutter live productive and positive lives. Reeves has more than 24 years experience of working in speech language pathology, and was in the initial group of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s first fluency disorder program. She has worked approximately 15 years in fluency, dealing with children who stutter.
In addition to focusing on students’ speech, Reeves works with student’s communication issues due to their stuttering, she said. Reeves also spends time clearing up misinformation about stuttering on a regular basis. Stuttering is a neurological disorder and despite what has been portrayed by the movie
industry, it is not caused by psychological trauma, Reeves said.
“First and foremost people think that they know what stuttering is caused by, such as psychological trauma and that is simply not true. Stuttering is a neurological disorder impacted by environmental factors and is not caused by one thing that occurred in a person’s life,” Reeves said.
Stuttering is also not caused by a case of the nerves and it cannot be cured, Reeves said
“Early stutters begin stuttering between two-and-a-half years-old to five years-old and in many children return to normal fluency, but it’s not a cure. There’s hope and treatment. The goal of school age children who stutter is to learn to not let it have a negative impact on their lives and that they can learn to become more confident,” Reeves said.
She hopes the focus on stuttering will be continued to be portrayed in a positive and respectful light, and that any attention garnered from “The King’s Speech” will help people better understand stuttering.
“The portrayal of stutters in the media has been absolutely horrifying and stutters have been treated like they have no intelligence. I haven’t seen anything that has done such a good job of portraying someone who stutters and dealing with the fear of public speaking than ‘The King’s Speech’ has done. I’m just very thankful for the movie ‘The King’s Speech’ because it allowed us to get the true message out in the media and where society can break down the myths of stuttering.”
The National Stuttering Association Conference is also capitalizing on the popularity of The King’s Speech” as the 2011 conference will feature David Seidler, the screenwriter of “The King’s Speech”, who also stutters, as the conference’s keynote speaker, Reeves said. The conference will be held July 6 – 10 at the Renaissance Hotel in Ft. Worth.
“This year’s event will be the largest gathering ever, from the largest self-help/support organization in the world for people who stutter,” Reeves said.
For more information on stuttering, and other fluency disorders, visit www.nsastuter.org.
Ten Famous People Who Stutter
James Earl Jones – actor
Bruce Willis – actor
Marilyn Monroe – actress
Carly Simon – singer, songwriter
B.B. King – singer, songwriter
Samuel L. Jackson – actor
Nicole Kidman – actress
Emily Blunt – actress
Prime Minister Winston Churchill –
Vice President Joe Biden
Story by Brandi Price
Photo Courtesy photo from Nina Reeves: Nina Reeves, a McKinney based board certified fluency specialist/mentor speaks to students about stuttering and other fluency disorders at her job as a consulting fluency specialist with the McKinney, Frisco and Garland independent school districts.