When the envelopes are opened Sunday at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, Keiko Brown, mother to a child who stutters, will be rooting for “The King’s Speech” to take home best film, best actor, best everything. Brown’s 17-year-old daughter Melanie stutters, as did King George VI, who is played in the movie by British actor Colin Firth.
“The King’s Speech,” which has been nominated for multiple Oscars including best film and best actor for Firth, has gone a long way toward teaching people with fluid speech about the high-stress world of stutterers. “I think if it takes an Oscar, it’s good,” said Brown.
“Before, nobody really understands,” said the Japan native as she sat in the waiting room of therapist Vivian Sisskin, the University of Maryland speech disorder expert who had just led Melanie and three other teenage girls with stutters through a one-hour therapy session. “People say they understand, but I don’t think they really do understand how much they suffer and how much stress they have every single day,” Brown said, her gaze fixed on Melanie, sitting at her side.
“The King’s Speech” is based on the true story of how a speech therapist helped George VI control a severe, lifelong stutter to allow the monarch to address the British people as they prepared to enter World War II. The National Stuttering Association hailed it as an “accurate depiction of people who stutter through the compelling story of a real-life hero.”
Hopefully, more movies will be made in the near future that will bring awareness to disabilities including speech, hearing and sight.