As someone who identifies as a PWS (person who stutters), I thoroughly enjoyed David Webber’s guest commentary “Biden and I have something in common. We both stutter.” (Nov. 27, Columbia Missourian).
It is amazing to me that someone who is running to be the leader of the free world is a PWS. Biden is the most compelling name on the list of “Famous People Who Stutter” on the website of the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation (stutteringhelp.org).
While I agree with the points made by Mr. Webber, I feel that some important aspects are continually omitted in the topic of stuttering.
First, we live in a world of high-profile philanthropy where medical missions are most prominent. I have never heard of medical missions to developing countries that address stuttering and the other speech problems faced by people in all countries.
Second, the public at large seems to forget that stuttering has to accommodate to the fact that we currently live in a nation where there are a large number of immigrants.
Children from immigrant families have the added burden of having to stutter in two different languages, one at home and the other at school. Having to stutter in two different languages is incredibly difficult.
The Stuttering Foundation offers a brochure on their website titled “Stuttering and the Bilingual Child” that addresses strategies for the many children from immigrant families who have to navigate the minefields of speech in two different languages each day.
With Joe Biden being in the presidential race, I hope stuttering can receive more attention, regardless of the outcome of his candidacy.
Juan Gardea lives in South Bend, Indiana.