ASHA Condemns Public Mockery of Stuttering

Association Calls on National Leaders and Other Public Figures to Lead by Example, Demonstrate Humanity and Respect for People Who Stutter

March 15, 2024

(Rockville, MD) The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is imploring our nation’s leaders to demonstrate basic decency and respect for people who stutter as campaigning for the general Presidential election begins.

It’s a point that bears emphasizing. In recent campaign appearances, former President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked President Joe Biden’s stutter.

Such comments demonstrate a callous view of communication differences. They can also have deep and long-lasting effects on children and adults who communicate in different ways.

ASHA members work with people who stutter and know the impact bullying can have. Contemporary approaches to stuttering treatment emphasize the importance of speaking with confidence—rather than always speaking fluently. Communication partners are urged to focus on the content of a person’s speech, not the way it is said. However, this approach is undermined every time anyone—particularly people in powerful positions—mocks a person’s stutter. It also creates a permissive environment for bullying, as demonstrated by people who laugh at the mockery of stuttering.

Let us stand up against unacceptable, cruel, and ableist behavior that has the potential to harm people of all ages across the country—and demand empathy and understanding from our public figures and fellow citizens.


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Stuttering (ASHA Public Information)

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 234,000 members, certificate holders, and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology assistants; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders.

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