But for David Blalock and Scott Mills
, the Oscar-winning movie about King George VI's efforts to overcome his stutter was an emotionally wrenching reflection of their own struggles with speaking.
"I've seen it twice," said Mills, an audiologist with Carolina Hearing Doctors.
and Blalock said the movie was the most accurate portrayal of stuttering that they have seen.
In college, Mills
waited until the final semester of his
senior year to complete a required speech class that most people took as freshmen.
A helpful professor who sympathized with Mills' stutter stood at the back of the room and helped coach him through his
speech, much as King George's therapist guided him in the movie's climactic scene.
finished graduate school, he
hoped to join the Navy
and work in the medical corps.
was making good progress in the application process until he
was asked to read a paragraph aloud, a test used to ensure the applicant is literate.
"The stuttering was incapacitating, and I stumbled my way through it," Mills said.
The recruiter gave him a long look and said: "Tell me what just happened."
stutter, the recruiter told Mills
would get through officer training.
"If you stutter, you are a strong person because you've put up with a lot for a long time," Mills said.
"To have someone tell me that I was not strong enough to overcome this, that was disappointing, and it took a long time to get past that."
Like Blalock, Mills
has encountered people with preposterous notions about the roots of his
One man insisted that Mills' stuttering must have been caused by sexual abuse.
Mills quickly dismissed that notion, but the man persisted.
stumbles with words that stop suddenly between syllables, such as hundred.
Moving from the N to the D can cause him to stop for 30 seconds.
In a stroke of bad luck, he
also struggles with words that begin with "au," such as audiologist, his
It's a word he
has to say every day.
Mills is now the president of the N.C. Academy of Audiology, a job that requires him to give monthly speeches.
wife, Sue Ann, with giving him the strength to make those speeches.
has given him the type of support that King George's wife, Elizabeth, gave him, Mills
With "The King's
Speech" continuing to draw moviegoers around the world, Blalock and Mills
are hopeful that people will look at stutterers as people with speech motor problems, not people with psychological scars or mental disabilities.