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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Inspired by Joe Biden’s childhood struggle with stuttering

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic presidential debate in Houston
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Houston on Sept. 12.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As someone who has had issues with stuttering throughout my life, I was absolutely thrilled to read your article on former Vice President Joe Biden’s childhood struggle with stuttering.

Your article correctly pointed out that 75% of kids stop stuttering, but it should have also been mentioned that it is essential that a child be brought to a speech therapist right when the stuttering speech starts. Experts posit that consultations with a speech therapist increase the chances that the child will be among that 75%.

Biden’s story is amazing. In fact, Biden’s name is the most prominent on the Stuttering Foundation’s list of famous people who stutter.

Biden’s success with his speech is totally nonpolitical and nonpartisan. People on all parts of the political spectrum can appreciate this amazing achievement.

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Juan Gardea, South Bend, Ind.

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To the editor: Only a person who has stuttered in childhood and adulthood can possibly understand exactly how much grit and determination it takes to stand in front of hundreds of people and give a speech. I am one such person.

In 1948, I was born second in a set of triplets in London. I suppose my stutter was the result of trying to get a word in edgewise between the other two siblings. I was embarrassed and ashamed, whether I was playing with friends or at school.

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I believe my parents thought I would “outgrow” it. I was never sent to a doctor to get help.

Years later, answering phones when I worked for the L.A. County district attorney’s office was a challenge. A “D” is always a stutter-prone beginning for a word. However, we stutterers learn extraordinary ways to work around our difficult syllables.

We can think so fast that we are able to substitute an “easier” word in the blink of an eye. Can you?

Wendy Robinson, Saugus


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