Mariska Hargitay is opening up about her eldest son's speech impediment, and how eager she is she has found a community for him that represents him.
The Law & Order: SVU star has three kids with her husband Peter Hermann, who she met on set while filming the beloved procedural in 2002, and they tied the knot in 2004. Their kids are August, 16, Amaya, 12, and Andrew, 11. August is the pair's first and only biological child, while their youngest two were adopted within six months of each other in 2011.
As the longtime couple were inducted into the Stuttering Association for the Young's (SAY) Hall of Fame over the weekend – their adorable kids were in attendance at the event – the actress opened up about finding support for her son, who stutters.
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Speaking with People at the gala, Mariska said: "Our son stutters," adding: "And it was so beautiful to have this lovely community to introduce him to and learn about it from the experts."
She further explained: "It was extraordinary when we first heard his stutter to meet Taro [Alexander] 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," referring to the organization's founder, Taro Alexander.
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Further gushing about Alexander and SAY's work, she added: "I met Taro through the sort of actor communities. We know a lot of people in common. I thought that he was a magical human being, and he told me about the organization, and then he invited us to a benefit."
She continued: "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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Speaking of her experience having a son with a stutter, she said: "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."
The mom-of-three added: "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."
Her husband Peter then weighed in with: "It is increasingly important that we give out grace to take space and take time and to let the ideas out that want to come out," adding: "And some of it is just speaking. Just everyday speaking, that chance to simply be."
Scroll below for more photos of Mariska and her family.
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