LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A 13-year-old boy who has a stutter gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that went viral on social media Thursday night, bringing awareness to a challenge thousands of Americans face.
Brayden Harrington met Joe Biden earlier this year in New Hampshire. They became fast friends because they both share a similar challenge: stuttering.
Lexington Hearing and Speech Center Executive Director Marcey Ansley saw the video Friday morning and was overwhelmed with pride to see Harrington speaking on a global stage because she knows how much work he and his family have put in to bring him to the point of feeling confident to speak.
"The fact that they're bringing awareness out and about fluency in about speech-language disorders and how proud I am of that sweet boy to come out and share his journey and his story, and an understanding that everything is okay,” she said. “And if you can't get an 'S' out sometimes that's okay. There's a lot of things, those of us can't do."
Biden and Harrington showed each other the tricks they use to speak showing the world something that comes easy to most, is a tedious task for others.
Ansley said it is an inspiration for people like Harrington to see someone as successful as Biden overcome the same struggles they are dealing with.
"It's wonderful to have those role models and mentors and to see what can be possible," she said. "I guess a lot of hope to younger families in particular who know it's hard. It's a lot of work but it pays off."
That therapy commitment can start as young as 2 years old. Ansley said it is important for children to work one-on-one with a therapist to develop the tools and strategies that work best for them.
Ansley said there are milestones to be on the lookout for. A full list is available on the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center's website.
Her hope for Harrington's viral video is that struggling kids, adults and families know that there is hope in any situation, especially if early intervention is possible.
And with the organization's implementation of teleintervention therapy, which has increased by 80% since the pandemic began, there has never been a better time to get help.
"The fact that there is intervention accessible and available to all Kentuckians, especially right now," Ansley said.