From Speech Impediment To The Opera: Turning A Child's Challenge Into A Strength

From Speech Impediment To The Opera: Turning A Child's Challenge Into A Strength

Tess Wilson
Sep 20, 2012

I recently read about a young actor who struggled with a speech impediment as a child. To help him control it, his parents enrolled him in opera lessons, and he ended up part of New York's Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus!

I haven't seen Ezra Miller in any of his movie roles so far (City Island, Another Happy Day, We Need To Talk About Kevin), but he seems pretty rad. He told Out magazine that he was mocked as a child for his stutter, but eventually learned to control it through singing lessons. Of course, being a child opera star comes with its own teasing/bullying potential, but as Miller said in another portion of the interview, "Getting socially outcast can be the best and most informative thing that can ever happen to you because you have to learn who you are separate from the pack." Well said.

When I was very little, I had scoliosis and my family doctor told my parents that they could either put me in a brace or put me in ballet lessons. Luckily for me, they chose the latter, though I know they had to make sacrifices to fund my lessons over the years. I never became a star, but I did continue studying ballet through college and loved every minute of it. Now, I am no doctor, and I don't know the current medical philosophy regarding scoliosis & ballet, but I know it worked for me. Not only did I avoid great pain and potential surgery, I gained great posture, confidence, endless amounts of fun, a strong belief in "mind over matter", a light-footedness that allows me to sneak up on people when necessary, and so much more. It wouldn't have worked for every case, of course, and not everyone has access to ballet lessons, but I'm eternally grateful that my parents chose the option that gave me so much, in addition to eliminating my problem.

I'm sure there are a million more stories like this. Were you able to overcome a challenge thanks to learning a skill? Has your child benefitted wonderfully from something intended solely as a treatment? I'd love to hear your stories..

(Image: Jonathan Tichler/Metropolitan Opera via Girl Gone Travel)

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