Well fair old England--the land of tea crumpets, anglo-saxon accents, Cornwall and Buckingham Palace-- did not always have a Queen. In the time before present-Queen Elizabeth's long reign (which goes back nearly 59 years!!!), there were many Kings and Queens who followed each other to the throne consecutively.
Queen Elizabeth the Second's father--King George VI--who besides raising a very proper daughter, was King of the United Kingdom from 1936 until 1952. The reason why I am giving this brief history lesson is not because I dream of being a teacher, but because last night, I braved the bitter, winter wind, to see an excellent film, "The King's Speech," which stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter. The movie follows the relationship between the former-King of England, George VI, and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, as they work together to overcome the King's debilitating speech impediment. Using unorthodox methods, Logue helps King George VI (a.k.a Bertie) overcome his stammer, in order to effectively lead his great empire--the United Kingdom--through the travails of World War Two.
As I watched the film, I was shocked to see early 20th-century speech therapy methods included the following: speaking with marble balls in the mouth (à la My Fair Lady), having your wife sit on you in order to stretch out your diaphragm [although my speech therapist said that it was a perfectly normal speech therapy exercise...] and shouting curse words to relax your mind [she also mentioned that the way to discern a real stutter from fake like in Glee is to make them sing, since people never stutter singing or shouting]. Nevertheless, these seemingly ancient methods obviously worked since the King was able to overcome his stammer.
The reason why I am asking is because I was wondering how realistic is the research that shows that 79,522 children with a hearing loss, ages 3-21, in the public schools in Fall 2003 received speech therapy services? In fact, 24.1% of students in public schools within the United States aged 3-21 received services for speech or language disorders (not just hearing loss) in the Fall of 2003.
Speech therapy, whose proper name is "Speech and Language Pathology," is the intervention and treatment for a variety of issues concerning speech, language communication, and swallowing disorders, such as hearing loss. One of the earliest mentions of speech disorders was a clay tablet written in Ancient Mesopotamia about King Mursilis (1344-1320 B.C.), "Thus spoke His majesty Mursilis, the great king: “I rode to Til Kunnu […] and suddenly a thunderstorm broke out, whereupon the Storm god caused terrible thunder and I became afraid and the speech faded away in my mouth and the words rose up with some difficulty. These happenings I forgot completely. But as the years came by and passed by, it happened that this matter repeatedly occurred in my dreams and the hand of God struck me during a dream and my mouth went askew." As time went on, doctors tried different approaches to treating speech disorders, from meditation and exercise (as in ancient Rome) to recommendations that stammerers practice a difficult word repeatedly (as stated by 19th-century Ebenezer Porter). In fact, one of the first books on speech disorders was written by Samuel Potter, an American 19th-century doctor who stuttered, which analyzed and focussed on the terminology and treatments of a variety of disorders, such as dyslalia (stuttering).
Personally, I have gone to speech therapy since I was 2.5 years old, in order to learn to speak (I could not speak since I couldn't hear speech as a result of my hearing loss). My hearing loss has made it more difficult for me to pronounce words and understand non-crisp speech, so my speech pathologist and I work hard to help me overcome these obstacles. Every Thursday, I walk up three flights of stairs to her office and practice my "s-sounds" (You have to smile when pronouncing "s"). Instead of trying not to choke on marbles, I have used whistles, listened to songs with just my worse ear and repeated close to a million words using just my left ear to hear the repeatable word. Ugh!
I have found speech pathology extremely helpful; my speech has become increasingly crisp and I am able to understand speech more easily. When I was younger, my communication and interaction skills were greatly improved. I, now, have confidence in my speaking abilities.
So, I was wondering what have you done in speech therapy? Do you go? Do you find it helpful? How long have you attended speech therapy?
If the King of England can go to speech therapy, then so can you! You, too, can even be proud of your speech therapy, instead of hiding it from your friends! Bertie was able to address his stutter and you can address the quality of your speech!