The World of Henry Higgins and My Fair Lady

The Elocutionist who passed off a flower lady as High Society with intensive speech therapy.

The Elocutionist who passed off a flower lady as High Society with intensive speech therapy.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with one of the most popular musicals there ever was on Broadway.  It was My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.  The film version included Audrey Hepburn as Eliza.  If you have not had the opportunity to see this wonderful film, I would strongly suggest it.  Why?  It’s a wonderful musical firstly with songs and lyrics that can stay with you for the rest of your life….Secondly it is the story of an ELOCUTIONIST.  This term was used in the previous century as the name of the professional who could improve your speaking.  He knew the fine art of Elocution, which is the ability to utter speech sounds clearly and distinctly.

The story is about a common street vendor by the name of Eliza Dolittle, who was poor and of the working class.  The story depicts a scene where professor Dolittle and a friend are coming out of a theatre, and observe the brogue of Miss Dolittle, and then wager that Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) could make her speak like royalty, or the highest class.  The wager is made, and Miss Dolittle agrees to undergo elocution lessons or speech therapy in order to become known as a woman of means and Education.  You will just have to see the movie; for it is similar to how a speech pathologist works with the process of speaking today.

Select your speech language pathologist carefully.  There are some who are more elocution and language based who will work with the person on their speaking clarity and expressive language, and there are others who are more cognitvely trained, and will work on more of the calculation, reading, writing, problem solving and memory.  Please be sure that you know what YOU want to concentrate on and find the therapist who will be best fitted for what YOU want to achieve in speech therapy.

Our book, The Teaching of Talking, is a book for Caregivers, family members and Speech Language Pathologists.  It will show how to perform fun and easy language stimulation that deals with stimulating speech in situations that demand speaking.  The caregiver or speech language pathologist learns that language can be stimulated anywhere, any place, or anytime, and one does not need flash cards, hand out sheets or computer programs.  If the person who has difficulty speaking can imitate vowels or simple words this method can be used in a fun and easy way that stimulates speech and language when speech and language is needed in the communication situation.  This is similar to how people learn foreign language or how children learn to speak at home.  Teaching of Talking can be ordered through the teaching of talking website, or the audio book from

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About Mark Ittleman

Mark Ittleman is a Senior Speech Language Pathologist and serves those with moderate to profound speaking difficulties. He consults with many of the best rehabilitation hospitals and now travels the country with his wife, and lectures at Universities, Hospitals, and Aphasia Organizations. He also consults with people all over the world with speaking difficulties and their families.
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