Today is Inauguration Day, which got us thinking about speech-making and speeches.
At the Democratic National Convention, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington took to the virtual stage to talk about meeting Biden at a campaign event in New Hampshire.
“He told me that we were members of the same club,” Harrington said. “We s-s-stutter.”
An estimated 1% of the world’s adults stutter, which in the United States translated to 3 million people. In one study, two-thirds of people who stuttered had a family member who also stuttered, or used to.
Yet the condition — which seems rooted in neurobiology and likely has a genetic component — remains misunderstood and even stigmatized. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders describes stuttering as a “speech disorder, characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks.”
But speech-pathologist Naomi Rodgers, who has stuttered since childhood, says this definition does not adequately capture it’s like to live with a stutter — that the medical model of disability does not account for the social environment. The Rodgers is an assistant professor at the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders.
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