I’m sure many of you saw on the news that President Biden is a person who stammers. Politics aside, this man’s journey and relationship with his stammer is inspiring to all. It is hoped that having such a public figure will help breakdown the public perception of stammering and encourage young and old to talk freely about his/her stammer.
As I was researching President Biden and his stammer, I came across an interview from the American Institute for Stuttering, from 2020 (see link below)
This interview is a conversation between actress Emily Blunt, journalist John Hendrickson & Joe Biden. They all talk openly about growing up with their stammer and how their stammer impacted their lives . It is well worth a watch, here are a few extracts that jumped out at me;
- ‘Don’t let your stammer define you’ J Biden
- ‘Your stammer is neurological, it is not your fault’ E. Blunt
- ‘Courage is the greatest virtue of all’ J Biden
- ‘having a stammer gives you an enormous amount of empathy, a better listener, a better observer’ J Hendrickson
- ‘I think it was a great gift I was given, knowing how it feels to be humiliated and judged’ J Biden
- ‘grateful I experienced struggle, it has made me a better actor’ E Blunt
- ‘Everybody has something beyond their control’ J Biden
- ‘The cracked parts of us is where the light shines through’ Emily Blunt
At the end of the interview they discuss what would they tell their younger selves. They talk about all the times it felt impossible to speak, all of the times you wanted to give up or retreat into yourself, all of those moments are giving you grit and determination. Motivating you to eventually work harder than all your competitors. It has helped them become who they are and given them a powerful insight in dealing with life.
It doesn’t mean they have not required help with their fluency on the way. Jo Biden talks about still putting a #sign in his speeches to remind him to pause. Emily Blunt talks about how acting at school and putting on different accents helped her with her fluency.
For further information on President Biden and his stammer the British Stammering has some interesting articles www.stamma.org