Brayden Harrington, the teen who shared his story on the final night of the Democratic National Convention about how Joe Biden helped him with his stutter, told NBC News Friday it has boosted his confidence and is pushing him to help other kids like him.
“It will change my future,” Harrington, 13, told Nightly News’ Lester Holt in an appearance that will air Friday night. “And I have this thought going around my head that I kind of want to be a therapist when I grow up to help other children in need and other people in need. And that just really is heartwarming to me because some people really need some help with what’s going on.”
He added, “They’ve been hit mentally, too, sometimes with some people mocking them. And it’s just really nice to know that I have that thought in my mind that I want to be a therapist and help these people.”
Harrington, who said he’s been made fun of for his stutter, met Biden in New Hampshire earlier this year and he said he was moved to know that someone of the former vice president’s stature struggled with it as well.
“I knew that I wasn’t alone and someone knew what I was going through,” Harrington said, describing his relationship with Biden as “a tiny little friendship.”
He said before he recorded his message he practiced “over and over” with his speech therapist to overcome certain sounds. Harrington said one thing people do not know about stuttering is it is not just difficult to pronounce sounds, but it also makes it “hard to breath.”
“My lungs tighten,” he said. “Sometimes I can’t like get that extra breath. And it is hard to talk. That’s why I’ve had a therapist for a few years, to try to try to teach me some words to get past those hard times when I can’t breathe. And that’s just one little thing that some people don’t really know.”
Harrington said after his appearance he received an outpouring of support and well wishes on social media, mostly from parents whose children also stutter. The teen said he sees himself as a hero to other kids.
“And that just made me feel really nice about how I made that address and how that’s impacted a bunch of children’s lives,” he told Nightly News.
Owen, Harrington’s father, said Brayden was “overwhelmed” before his appearance but “decided he wanted to push through and continue with this because he wanted to be the voice for those other children that didn’t get the opportunity that Brayden had.”
He added, “I’m proud that he’s my son and I’m proud that he did what he did. I can’t think of any other word, other than pride.”