Have you ever seen The King’s Speech? It is one of my favorite movies of all time. Yes, I am a fan of the Royal Family, but that has nothing to do with the reason as to why I am a fan of this movie. I am a fan because someone who was not supposed to be the king became king and he conquered his fears of public speaking in a not so conventional way. He led his country during a time when they needed him and came out on top. The role may have killed him in the end, but his stutter did not control his life. That is why I celebrate International Stuttering Awareness Day.
The day of awareness is honored on October 22nd around the world. This is a disease many people suffer from and it can be humiliating and embarrassing. Think about people who stutter; they have a speech disorder that is involuntary and distracting. You stutter on sounds, words, phrases and syllables. It can be a repetition of a certain letter or vowel. There can be prolonged silent pauses and blocks. The worst part is, is that you feel completely helpless when you have the stutter and you do not know how to correct it.
For every problem, there is always a solution. I have read about an American Football player who has a stutter, but when he reads poetry out loud it disappears. He sounds so eloquent when saying the poetry, but when he is not scripted he suffers from a stutter. In the film The King’s Speech, King George VI played music in the background and when he did this, his stutter was not there. It is fascinating how people are able to cope with such a crippling disease.
Think about how much a stutter can affect a person’s everyday life. Every time they open their mouth they have the fear of stuttering. During a work interview, at their job, on a date. It is something that will always be there unless they know how to control it. This can have a big effect on their personal lives and professional lives. It is hard to trust a figure head that is not able to speak properly at a debate, isn’t it?
You are probably wondering what you can do for International Stuttering Awareness Day. Since it is a day of awareness, you want to bring cognizance to the situation. Speak to school officials and see if they have a speech therapist at the school. If they do not, ask the school as to why not. Every student who has a speech impediment deserves the right to speech therapy from the school system. After all, isn’t that what you are paying your taxes for?
Once you have talked with the school, do what I do, write a letter to the local newspaper. I am always writing letters to them it seems. Tell them about stutters. List a bunch of celebrities who have stutters. Some may surprise you like Emily Blunt, James Earl Jones, Winston Churchill, Lewis Carroll, Shaq and Ed Sheeran. If these people were able to overcome their stutter, then they should be able to influence those people who have a stutter to work hard at overcoming it.
When I started to research the people that have a stutter I was shocked. I could not believe how many famous people and athletes have a stutter. I would never have known until I did the research. Do your research and inspire someone around you who has a stutter. You will usually find it in children since they have not learned how to overcome it yet. Show them celebrities that have overcome it and allow them to idolize them that much more. It is important for them to see that their speech impediment will not affect them for the rest of their life and that they too will overcome it.
Kids need to know about this day of awareness. They can be difficult on one another and imagine how much they are being bullied for having a stutter. Kids will be kids, but they need to understand why some kids are different from them.
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