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North Texas Man Relates To “King’s Speech”

By Selena Hernandez, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday night and “The King’s Speech” leads the pack with 12 nominations, including nods for Best Picture and Best Actor in Colin Firth. The film is about King George VI and his struggles as a stutterer. But for a North Texas man, this is more than just a movie. Rather, the film is a reflection of his personal, real life battles with a speech disorder.

Byron Zick has lived with a stutter throughout his entire life. “I’m fearful of certain words,” he explained. “I’m fearful of being seen as a stutterer.” But for the past four years, the 27-year-old has been seeking treatment at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders. “I’d say I’ve come a long way. I’m much more comfortable with myself now.”

But that was not always the case. Just as Firth’s character in “The King’s Speech,” Zick recalls a time when he would get anxious or apprehensive when he spoke. “Certain things have happened where people have, perhaps, called out the fact that I have a stutter. That has shaped my perception of the stutter in a negative way.”

However, with help from UT Dallas speech pathologist Shannon Raby, Zick has learned how to control his speaking. “Most people don’t understand what stuttering is and how it can affect someone,” said Raby. But therapy sessions are different from techniques seen on the silver screen. “Some of the things we do focus on is addressing the internal components, understanding you’re not the only one, accepting who you are, accepting stuttering is a part of who you are, knowing how you talk to yourself does affect how you speak, and your ability to have confidence in yourself as a speaker.”

Despite some storytelling differences, Zick feels that “The King’s Speech” does accurately depict the daily struggles of a speech disorder. “From a stutterer’s perspective, it very much captured the essence of the anxiety and the stress that a stutterer goes through, a particularly bad point of stuttering.”

Zick hopes that the Oscar nominated movie both entertains and educates audiences. Understanding and acceptance are a part of the film’s message – one that should resonate with everyone. “Just give them the same respect, because their opinion is as valid as anybody else’s.”

  • North Texas Man Relates To “King’s Speech” « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] North Texas Man Relates To “King’s Speech” For a North Texas man, “The King’s Speech” is more than just a movie. It’s a reflection of his real life battles with a speech disorder. Go to News Source […]

  • Misha

    I deeply understand what Byron is going through because I am a stutterer. I have been battling with my speech problem for over 30 years and it has been HELL! At times when I am excited or scared I can barely complete a sentence. I have been laughed at, considered stupid because sometimes I can’t finish my thoughts in words and I have even lost jobs due to my stutter. I have prayed for my speech to improve and over the years I speak alot better but I still have a problem. I thank God I came across this article because I will be contacting UT Dallas to start my therapy sessions. Thanks!

  • Gloria

    A good source for help in finding a speech therapist who works well with stuttering, contact the Stuttering Foundation where I found help, as they have referrals worldwide.

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