King’s Speech gets us all talking

Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech.

Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech.

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A LEADING speech therapist has praised the movie The King’s Speech for raising awareness of what sufferers go through.

Melanie Wade, clinical lead speech and language therapist (SLT) for Sunderland Royal Hospital, believes the Oscar-nominated drama examines the difficulties with great realism.

She said: “The advantage of the film is that it is getting people talking about speech impediments and how people overcome the difficulties they face.

“My colleagues have said it portrays the problems that people and their families face in the right way.”

Tom Hooper’s drama is tipped for huge success after earning 12 Oscar nominations and 14 Bafta nods., including Best Supporting Actress for Helena Bonham Carter and Best Lead Actor for Colin Firth.

She said: “The most important part of the film for me is the King’s relationship with his therapist. This will show people who have a speech impediment that someone is there who can help.”

About 2.5million people in the UK have some form of speech impediment that affects their life.

Norbert Lieckfeldt, chief executive of the British Stammering Association has seen the film four times.

He said: “I think the best thing is that people who come out of it will genuinely have a better understanding of what a stammer means to people who have one.”

A new initiative called Giving Voice UK has been launched by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in an attempt to maintain funding after 84.4 per cent of practising therapists have been asked to reduce their services.

Norbert, who has uploaded his own video to the site, said: “It is a superb idea because more and more of the funding is being cut for our SLTs treatment of adults and now even children under six.

“I fully support all of the college’s good work.”

l 2.5million people in the UK have a speech impediment.

l Five per cent of children under five will go through a phase of stammering in some stage of their development.

l Twice as many boys stammer as girls under the age of five.

l 1.2 per cent of school-age children (109,000) stammer.

l One per cent of the adult population (459,000) stammer.

l Almost four times as many men have one than women.

l People with a stammer are not necessarily nervous. They are identical in mental state and intelligence to everyone else.