Monday, 3 January 2011

We went to see "The King's Speech"

last night. I would recommend it.
I knew the story. Anyone who has spent as much of their lives working with people who have communication difficulties as I have probably does know the story - or, at very least, the basic facts.
King George VI had a severe stutter and an unorthodox, untrained Australian helped him overcome it to the point where he could speak in public. It was never easy but the King managed it. The build up of tension to the radio broadcast in which HRH announced that Britain was at war was excellent. Colin Firth's acting is magnificent and worthy of an Oscar. I will leave it at that.
The story has great personal significance for me. If I can "name drop" for a moment I once met Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She came to visit the institution at which I was doing some research and asked me what I was working on. Conscious that she had a room full of people who all wanted to talk to her (and feeling very nervous as well) I kept my reply brief. That was not good enough for her. I had mentioned "communication difficulties". It was something of personal interest to HM. She asked me several more questions, displaying a genuine interest in what I was doing. Then she had to move on but, as she left, she looked back and smiled. I am certain that, at that moment, she was thinking of King George and - possibly - doing things differently.
I have always done some things in highly unorthodox ways. When I taught children with severe and profound difficulties I also encouraged them to find ways of doing things that were - well, unorthodox. It did not always go down well with other professionals. There was always a view that "you should learn to do this in the way that everyone else does it". It is important to be "normal". It took me a long time to learn that looking "normal" is not important. It is much more important to be able to do something yourself and not be dependent on others.
I taught a child who could only hold his head up by flinging his arms out as well. When the therapy staff tried to keep his hands tied down so that he would "learn to hold his head up" all we got were tears and frustration. When the restraints were removed that child managed to learn to read despite having no speech at all. He did it his way and his way was different.
I could cite other examples.
The world is full of other examples of people who have done things differently. They have experimented. Sometimes they have failed. Sometimes they have succeeded. There is no "right way" to do something, only ways which work.
If you have a chance to see the film then go. It may encourage you to do something differently and succeed at something new.


Rachel Fenton said...

"There is no right way to do something, only ways which work" - perfect! That should be in every class room!

I am going to see this film - my husband stutters - I have written a collection of poetry about the subject!

Nicole MacDonald said...

It's on my list now :)

The Arrival, on Amazon now!

Anonymous said...

Amazing acting by Colin Firth - one of the finest pieces of acting I have ever seen. I could sit through this film a second time. That is a first for me. Chris

Anonymous said...

You and Chris got in before - Firth's performance is definitely worthy of an Oscar. It is absolutely brilliant.
The film portrayed his problem and the wider problem faced by "the Firm" with great sensitivity. "The Firm" has a lousy, rotten but essential job. Republicans need to take a long hard look at how hard these people work and how much they give up. Bob C-S

Anonymous said...

Watching Firth was like watching myself - I wish I'd had a Logue in my life. Firth was utterly brilliant.