Law and Order: SVU veteran Mariska Hargitay has opened up about her son’s speech struggle and striving for equality and inclusion for those who live with a stutter.
Hargitay and her husband, Blue Bloods’ Peter Hermann, were inducted into the Stuttering Association for the Young’s Hall of Fame this week (May 22) at the organization’s 2023 Gala.
At the event, Hargitay spoke about her son and the work the organization does to help people like her build confidence while also helping to educate parents.
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speaking to Peopleshe said: “Our son stutters, and it was so beautiful to have this lovely community to introduce him to and learn about it from the experts.”
Hargitay first got involved with SAY after meeting its founder Taro Alexander.
She said: “I thought that he was a magical human being, and he told me about the organization, and then he invited us to a benefit. And the night that I came, I was just so moved by the work they were doing and this loving community, and I was so grateful to be educated. I could feel the cells of my heart changing – the molecular construction of my heart – it was so beautiful.”
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Hermann added: “There are so many people who come [to SAY] for the first time, and when they came, they said that they’d never heard another person with a stutter…”
“Their life begins,” Hargitay continued. “The thing about stuttering, and what I’ve learned, is so many times people who stutter try not to speak or try to switch the word or not say anything, get out of it, hide.
“It’s so heartbreaking to think that all these amazing humans with so much to offer would be holding it in because of how the world treats them or for fear. It’s been so exciting to learn and to understand and educate people because as soon as people know , they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Thank you. Tell me more. Tell me more.’ It’s been just a beautiful journey.”
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Their son August also spoke at the event and said: “I think that being in a place where you’re surrounded by the people who are dealing with the same thing you are is super special.
“In school, there aren’t a lot of other people, or on the sports teams you play, at the organizations you go to, at the events I’m at with my parents. There’s always a lot of pressure and conversation.
“So to be in a place where the edge is off and it’s encouraged, it’s welcome. It’s special.”
Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays on NBC in the US. The show airs on Sky Witness in the UK, with select episodes available on NOW.
Freelance News Writer
Jamie Body is a freelance news writer at Digital Spy.