Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech - and other disabilities

Congratulations to the cast and crew of "The King's Speech" for  worthy Oscar-wins last night.  Did you know that King George never really got rid of his stutter? What he did gain was a spot of self-confidence.

I've always been interested in speech disorders. I remember at school (yes, I can go back that far) one of my classmates stuttered. I thought it was attractive, actually, and wished I could sound like her. Even tried it out once or twice (in front of the bathroom mirror) but I couldn't get the hang of it.

The things you admit on your blog. Dear oh dear.

Ever since I started teaching I've been interested in another condition: dyslexia or developmental reading disorder as it's also known. There always seemed to me to be differing levels and even types of this disorder which required special and individual therapy. In fact, I believe many of us have it in us to some degree, mostly to a tiny extent. I'm not "dyslexic" as such, but I do have problems writing "d" and "b" without getting them mixed and I never know my right from my left. 

But I do have terrible trouble with numbers. That's called dyscalcula and probably explains my abysmal math results and why no-one ever gets a phone call from me.

There's no real connection between stuttering and dyslexia, although both start in childhood. Some people say stuttering is caused by some emotional trauma, but that certainly hasn't been proven.

Why's she waffling on about speech and reading disabilities, I hear you say. Well, "The King's Speech" sparked part of the reason but also my book "Perfect Score" deals with both conditions. One of the main characters, Sam, stutters but only when he's not with people he feels he can completely trust. He also has a severe form of dyslexia.

I set the book in the 1960s and early 1970s to show how little was known about the conditions at that time, which, let's face it, wasn't that long ago. Poor Sam was mostly considered a "retard" who should be "locked up", yet as another character says about him: "he's probably the most gifted person I know".

So if a movie about stuttering can win Oscars - can't I push my book which considers that issue and dyslexia just a little bit? Please? Pretty please? 

If you want to give it a whirl - the button's on the right, in the panel. It says, "click to buy" Perfect Score
Oh by the way, no-one's discovered the alternative medicine technique I talked about in the last post. No ideas? No takers?


  1. I loved this movie.

    A disability can create instant empathy as long as the character is shown in a proactive light.

  2. Absolutely Maria. Thanks for commenting!


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