I had fun watching the movie Parental Guidance with my kids over the holidays. Every member of the family found something that was funny.
I was of course transfixed by poor Turner, the school aged kid who had a debilitating stutter. It’s really uplifting at the end when he “overcomes” his stutter when he follows his grandfather and starts sports commentating.
I have heard of a number of adult stutterers who are actors report a similar phenomenon- they don’t stutter when they’re acting/public speaking. It seems that taking on a different persona/using a slightly different voice enables stutterers to use a different “speech pathway” which is stutter free – the same mechanism is thought to be the reason that very few stutterers stutter when they sing. Unfortunately when people revert back to “themselves”, their stutter returns. It is particularly important to watch this issue when treating preschoolers using the Lidcombe Program – we need to make sure that they practice “smooth speech” using their regular voice, not “in character”.
So unfortunately, it’s actually unlikely that Turner in Parental Guidance was “cured” of his stutter but it made a nice ending to the movie, and food for thought for speech pathologists 🙂
To find out about our Stuttering Therapy