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Biden offers advice to young boy with stutter while campaigning in Milwaukee

Last
year,
9-year-old
Harry
Abramson
wrote
President
Biden
a
letter,
asking
him
one
big
question:
How
did
he
overcome
his
stutter?

According
to
Biden’s
campaign,
Harry
wrote
to
the
president
for
advice
on
how
to
handle
his
stutter

saying
that
maybe,
if
he
learned
how
to
control
his
stutter,
he
too
could
one
day
be
president.

End
of
carousel

Biden,
who

regularly
talks
about
his
struggles
with
a
stutter

and
the
work
he’s
put
into
overcoming
it,
wrote
back.
And,
on
Wednesday,
he
met
with
Harry
during
a
visit
to
Milwaukee
to
personally
deliver
some
advice.

“Don’t
let
anybody
tell
you
that
you
can’t
do
anything,”
Biden
told
Harry,
according
to
a
Biden

campaign
video
.
“You
can
do
whatever
you
want
to
do.”

Biden
has
spoken
at
length
about
how
he
was
made
fun
of
as
a
child
for
stuttering,
experiences
he’s
said
helped
him
understand
how
to
deal
with
bullies

including
former
president
Donald
Trump,
who
has
repeatedly
mocked
Biden
for
his
stutter,
doing
so
most
recently
at
a

campaign
rally

on
Saturday.
During
his
rambling
speech,
Trump
asked
the
crowd
sarcastically
if
Biden
would
bring
the
country
t-t-t-together

while
talking
about
Biden’s
State
of
the
Union
address.
Transcripts
of
the
speech
show
that
Biden
did
not
say
that.

Trump’s
remarks
immediately

drew
scorn
from
disability
advocates
,
who
called
his
mockery
a
demeaning
form
of
bullying
and
“dehumanization.”

On
Wednesday,
the
president
told
Harry
that,
when
he
was
younger,
he
used
to
be
bullied
because
he
used
to
“find
it
hard
to
talk
on
the
telephone
or
stand
up
in
front
of
people
and
talk.”

“These
people
would
make
fun
of
it,
like
this
president
is,”
Biden
said,
referencing
Trump
and
his
mockery.
“But
remember

look
at
me

you’re
smart,
you’re
handsome,
you
know
what
you’re
doing.”

The
president
then
told
Harry
the
story
of
Brayden
Harrington,
a
teenager
whom
Biden
met
during
his
2020
presidential
run
who,
like
Harry,
had

contacted

to
the
former
vice
president
for
advice
on
handling
a
stutter.
By
August,
Brayden
was

delivering

a
powerful
address
at
the
Democratic
National
Convention
describing
how
Biden
had
inspired
him
to
reach
higher.

Biden
gave
Harry
a
few
tips
Wednesday
on
how
he
navigates
his
speeches
with
a
stutter.

“I
put
a
little
mark
on
my
speeches,”
Biden
said,
showing
Harry
a
copy
of
his
remarks,
and
the
places
in
the
text
where
he
adds
pauses.

Trump’s
remarks
over
the
weekend
were
not
the
first
time
the
former
president
has
taunted
Biden
for
his
stutter.
In
January,
Trump
accused
Biden
of
stuttering
through
a
speech
and
then
play-acted
as
if
he
were
Biden.
Biden
did
not
stutter
in
the
speech
Trump
was
referencing.

About
3
million
Americans

stutter
,
a
communication
disorder
in
which
speech
is
not
fluent
because
syllables
or
words
are
repeated
or
prolonged.
The
causes
of
stuttering
are
not
fully
known,
but

genetics

can
contribute.
Stuttering
has
long
been
misunderstood
and
stigmatized.

While
Biden
does
flub
lines
and
at
times
has
halting
speech
patterns,
he
has
spoken
openly
about
how
he
has
overcome
the
kind
of
stutter
that
was
debilitating
for
him
as
a
child.
He
gave
a

speech
in
2016

to
the
American
Institute
for
Stuttering,
sharing
the
childhood
shame
he
felt
over
his
stutter
but
also
crediting
it
for
widening
his
perspective.

“I
learned
so
much
from
having
to
deal
with
stuttering,”
Biden
said.
“It
gave
me
insight
into
other
people’s
pain,
other
people’s
suffering.
It
made
me
understand
that
everyone,
everyone
has
something
they’re
fighting
to
overcome

and
sometimes
trying
to
hide.”


Lauren
Weber
and
Carolyn
Y.
Johnson
contributed
to
this
report.

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