The AU Speech and Hearing Clinic treats students, children and adults with a range of communication disorders. A staff of certified specialists works to meet the specific needs of each patient on an individual level from its office on the first floor of the Haley Center on Auburn’s campus.
Embry Burrus, a speech-language pathologist at the AU Speech and Hearing Clinic, specializes in working with patients suffering from fluency disorders, which are more commonly known as stuttering problems. Burrus, who is a stutterer herself, explains fluency disorders are neurologically oriented. Recent research indicates there may be a genetic component.
“What we do know is that it tends to run in families, and boys outnumber girls who stutter, five to two,” says Burrus.
The award-winning movie, “The King’s Speech,” recently brought to light the struggle people with fluency disorders face every day. King George VI stammered severely throughout his life. Stuttering was seen as a speech defect and, as a king especially, a sign of weakness. King George received much ridicule from his own family and others for his difference.
The AU Speech and Hearing Clinic began a chapter of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) four years ago. Burrus, the Auburn chapter leader, says it is a time for stutterers to forget any worry or embarrassment; they can come and speak openly and meet other people who stutter. At the last meeting, “The King’s Speech” was discussed. Burrus says the movie has brought positive light to stuttering and those who stutter.
Today, approximately one percent of Americans stutter. While the clinic treats people who stutter of all ages, Burrus says they have recently seen a sharp increase in the number of adults coming in for treatment.
"Maybe they've seen the movie, and are feeling empowered to improve their communication," says Burrus.
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