'King's Speech' Puts Purdue Work In Spotlight

University Leads Way On Stuttering Research

The Oscar-nominated film "The King's Speech" is shedding light on the frustrating world of stuttering and putting Purdue University in the spotlight.

The movie tells the story of the friendship between King George VI of Britain and his colorful speech therapist who helped him overcome his debilitating stutter.

More: Oscars Special Section

Purdue is the second-largest research center for stuttering in the nation, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported.

Researchers are currently conducting a groundbreaking study involving 4 year olds in an effort to identify children who suffer from chronic stuttering and find the best treatment options.

"When you look at the preschool population, it's about 4 to 5 percent of preschoolers who stutter," said Purdue professor Christine Webber-Fox. "Were comparing them on many different measures; how their brain activity looks for different kinds of brain processing tasks, how their muscles work when they're speaking."

The study of stuttering is an issue that's close to Caryn Herrings, 23, a speech pathology graduate student at Purdue, who has struggled with a stutter since she was 8.

"I think it could have ruined my life just because it was going to hold me back a lot," she said. "I think a lot of the way I feel is the way I perceive other people feeling, I sense that they're uncomfortable that I'm stuck then I get more uncomfortable."

Through therapy, Herrings said she is now at a place of acceptance which has granted great confidence. She applauds "The King's Speech" for educating others of the realities for those who deal with this issue

"He's still stuttering, which I think is great. It's not like the movie was, 'Oh I stuttered and I got cured and it was a great ending,'" she said. "It was that he's still going to stutter and he is still going to do a great job."

Purdue officials said they have seen an uptick in people seeking help with stuttering since the movie was released.

More Information: Purdue Stuttering Project