"King's Speech" Receives Applause From Stuttering Community
"The King's Speech" is being hailed as a landmark film within the stuttering community. It's based on a true story about King George VI of England who worked with a speech therapist to conquer his speech impediment.
"I think that it has done more for stuttering and will do more for stuttering with a single swing of the bat than the stuttering community could do in a hundred years," said Speech Language Pathologist Peter Reitzes.
Reitzes, who practices in Brooklyn, started stuttering when he was in kindergarten. As a member of the Stuttering Foundation, he had the opportunity to meet with actor Colin Firth who plays King George in the movie and director Tom Hooper.
"They don't know what they've done. They know that people are coming up and thanking them. And they're so truly touched. I walked up to them and said, 'You did more for stuttering with one swing of the bat than I could ever do,'" Reitzes said.
Long time speech therapist Dr. Phil Schneider agrees. For more than 30 years he has counseled clients in the Bronx. He's also produced documentaries about the speech disorder.
Schneider says "The King's Speech" will help boost self esteem for stutterers.
"I think it's also the first commercial portrayal of a person stuttering that's not demeaning," Schneider said.
"My stuttering trait was the most pronounced that my therapist growing up had ever seen. It took me two minutes to get my name out. So I went through much of my childhood in humiliated silence," said speech therapy patient Daniel Kremer.
Humiliated no more, Kremer and many of more than three million Americans who stutter say "The King's Speech" is giving them a new reason to raise awareness and speak out with confidence.