First grader Wyatt Dixon has been receiving help from speech pathologist Lindsay Culbert since kindergarten.
He has an articulation delay. It’s the most common speech problem Lindsay sees in her line of work.
At his age, Wyatt says he gets no grief from his fellow students. Lindsay says unless the problem is addressed early on, that will change.
“As the kids go through their adolescence, anything that is different and sticks out, they tend to make fun of,” says Culbert.
Children grow into adults who feel isolated.
And that’s the story behind “The King’s Speech.”
It’s the story of King George VI of England portrayed by Colin Firth.
The king seeks help from an unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue to help with his stuttering problem.
“I loved it. I thought it was a very accurate portrayal of a clients and a speech pathologists interaction. Well actually the supporting character, the speech pathologist demanded equality and participation. It doesn't matter what walk of life you come from, or what your background is, when you are in speech you are equals. And everyone, like the king said, everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard,” says Culbert.
Culbert says no one knows exactly what causes stuttering, she doubts researchers ever will. Boys are more likely than girls to stutter. Treatment she says, takes time and patience,
Culbert has been at Westergard Elementary since 2003. She is one of 100 speech therapists in the school district helping more than 1400 students.
She says signs of stuttering can show up between three and five years of age. Some children grow out of it but most of that happens with the help of a speech pathologist.