×
Mariska Hargitay Opens up on How 'Heartbreaking' It Is for Her Son Who Has a Stutter | "Stutterers Live In Isolation”
ADVERTISEMENT

Mariska Hargitay Opens up on How 'Heartbreaking' It Is for Her Son Who Has a Stutter | "Stutterers Live In Isolation”

“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," Mariska Hargitay said.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Rodin Eckenroth; (R) Gary Gershoff

Peter Hermann and Mariska Hargitay are proud parents. The couple—who have just been inducted into the Stuttering Association for the Young's (SAY) Hall of Fame—discussed their relationship with the group and its founder, Taro Alexander, in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, at SAY's 21st Annual Gala. Hargitay and Hermann are parents to three kids together: August, 16, Amaya, 12, and Andrew, 11. They opened up about their own struggles with a child with a stutter. “Our son stutters,” shared Hargitay, talking of August, “and it was so beautiful to have this lovely community to introduce him to and learn about it from the experts.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Image Source: Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy
Image Source: Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy

 

Hargitay highlighted the unfortunate reality that many people who stutter often resort to avoiding speech, substituting words, or opting for silence in order to evade their struggles or conceal their condition. “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,” she said. 



 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

August's personal experiences is why, SAY holds a special place in Hargitay and Hermann's hearts. Hermann, 55, says it felt powerful to know just who to contact to help August. “It was extraordinary when we first heard his stutter to meet Taro and have someone to go to because so many stutterers live in isolation. And there are so many people who come [to SAY] for the first time, and when they come they say that they’d never heard another person with a stutter,” he said. Hermann has come to understand the value of patience and how important it is to “give out grace to take space and take time and to let the ideas out that want to come out.” 



 

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Promoting self-acceptance is a key message embraced by SAY, and this resonates deeply with the parents involved. Hargitay expressed her belief that when individuals feel secure and loved when equality is fostered, it enables them to embrace their true selves and foster a sense of openness towards others.

Hargitay acknowledges that, personally, when she feels unsafe or fearful, she struggles to express herself effectively, and so this organization feels like a gift to her. August agreed with that sentiment, saying it feels “super special” to have a space where you're around people dealing with similar things. “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,” he said. “So to be in a place where the edge is off and it's encouraged, it's welcomed? It's special.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Image Source: Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy
Image Source: Getty Images | Jamie McCarthy

 

References:

https://people.com/mariska-hargitay-son-who-has-stutter-found-lovely-community-support-exclusive-7503221

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Rodin Eckenroth; (R) Gary Gershoff