Newswise — Glen Tellis, professor and chair of the speech-language pathology program at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania and one of about 200 board-recognized fluency specialists in the world, is delighted with the just-released movie, “The King’s Speech.” “There is a lot of positive buzz about it in our profession,” he says. “It’s one of the first movies to depict people who stutter in a good light.” The film is about Britain’s King George VI who was aided by a speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to the point where the King was able largely to manage his condition and speak in public and—critically important in the World War II era of his reign—on radio. Tellis says that Logue used effectively with King George some aspects of a method today called “fluency shaping.” It is one of several therapies employed to treat stuttering and involves air flow management among other things. It is still used today in some therapy programs. “There is no cure for stuttering,” says Dr. Tellis, “but it can be managed effectively. And there is no single method used to manage it. Therapists work with methods such as fluency shaping or stuttering modification—which changes the form and shape of stuttering, to manage it.” “Humor, counseling, and empowerment can play a positive role in stuttering therapy and the film also shows that,” Dr. Tellis notes. And so can positive reinforcement. “Logue was known for positive reinforcement in his therapy,” says Dr. Tellis, “and the King had been through previous treatments that were not successful.” As with all films, there are departures from the historical record, Dr. Tellis notes. “King George VI actually began working with Logue in 1926, about a decade before the film indicates that he did,” he says. “And some have said that the King may not have been as disfluent as the film suggests.” But those are small things and Dr. Tellis is pleased that “The King’s Speech” is mainly on the mark and tells an important story: that stuttering can be effectively treated and managed. “This is the first major Hollywood movie to have a lead actor stutter and also show speech-language therapy,” Tellis says. “It’s a welcome contrast to movies that depict stuttering characters negatively such as ‘My Cousin Vinnie’ or ‘A Fish Called Wanda.’”