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The King's Speech: Emily Blunt Talks Her Own Struggles with Stuttering

The King’s Speech will be a royal contender at the 2011 Golden Globes. Today it was nominated for a slew of awards including best motion picture to Colin Firth’s performance. And the film isn’t just a period piece, it’s about a personal struggle that will resonate with many, many people from young and old to rich to poor to the mailroom guy to movie stars, and one movie star in particular…Gulliver’s Travels actress Emily Blunt.

The King’s Speech is about King George VI’s struggle with stuttering. This speech disorder can be debilitating, be it if you are ruling a country or ruling the stage. It’s a struggle that many can relate to, one that Emily Blunt knows about in a very personal way. Emily spoke of her own stuttering issues growing up during an interview with a group of us mommy bloggers for the hilarious upcoming Gulliver’s Travels.

Talking candidly about her stuttering issues Emily said that, “It’s something that is quite an anguish thing for children to go through, and their parents as well.  It was awful for my parents, because you feel quite helpless, because it is actually genetic.   It’s actually hereditary.  It’s not brought on by some awful incident or–it’s not from a nervous disposition.  Scientifically you are programmed to have one or not.  So, in my family, my grandfather had one.  My uncle had one.  And so does my cousin.”

“All men, though.  It’s predominantly–speech impediments are usually a problem for boys,” adding that she was, “spouting all this knowledge because I’m now the chair on a board for this…organization for stuttering.” Although you would never notice it now she added that, “I actually still have one sometimes when I’m relating a story or on the phone.  It’s not something that ever quite leaves you.  You’ll always be one if you are one.  But, you can learn different tools.”

Her advice for parents and kids dealing with a stutter? “The thing that really helped me and that I would really advise kids to do is definitely get help, address it very early, because it gets worse.” Emily’s family started to address her speech issues when she was about eight with her stutter being noticeable when she was about six, she thinks that initially her parents may have thought it was something she would “grow out of.” She had a bad stutter until she was 14.

And the thing that helped her? She said that, ” the thing that helped me was acting. Because there are so many actors I know who stutter.  However, they never do on stage.  And I never stutter when I’m acting.” And from her experience she suggested that, “I would encourage parents to put their kids in acting classes, drama classes, even if they’re super shy and embarrassed.  You often find that you don’t stutter when you’re acting. And I think it’s actually psychologically that really helps you get over a stutter.”

She warns that sometimes, “people misrepresent it and think it’s that the child is autistic or they have learning disability.” But that, “you can spot a stutter very early on and address it very quickly, because it will only get worse.  And adults who have had it their whole lives, it’s so ingrained.  And it’s so sad because it stops people getting jobs.” Adding that, “It limits you in so many ways.”

But it is important to get help early. And she’s doing her part to raise awareness. “There’s an amazing organization that I’m a part of called AIS, which is the American Institute of Stuttering.” She added that,” it is a revolutionary company, and they’re doing amazing things to change peoples lives. And they have a very new method of helping people get through it.”

And there is not a sign of her stutter in Gulliver’s Travel, her newest project, which opens December 22 December 25th Christmas Day. Later this week we will have more with Emily Blunt on her role in the Jack Black comedy as well as interviews with Jason Segel and Jack Black too!

You can also find out more about the AIS -the American Institute of Stuttering – right here.

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