Poet with Auditory Processing Disorder and Speech Articulation Issues
Amanda Gorman is the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate. At age 22, she became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, reading her poem, "The Hill We Climb" during President Biden's inauguration.
Her family revealed in a 2018 interview that Gorman was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder and a speech impediment as a young child.
“She had trouble expressing herself,” Gorman's mother said in an interview with Understood. “But she was always advanced in her thought.”
In a 2021 episode of The Oprah Conversation, Gorman spoke to Oprah Winfrey about her diagnoses:
"I was born early, along with my twin. A lot of times, for infants, that can lead to learning delays," Gorman said. "One of my delays was in speech and speech pronunciation.”
“The auditory processing issue just means I really struggle as an auditory learner," she continued.
“R” sounds in particular challenged Gorman the most. “It is one of the most complex letters in the English alphabet. That was something that I would struggle with until probably 20 years of age," she said.
Gorman credits her speech impediment for making her stronger as a writer.
“When you have to teach yourself how to say words from scratch – when you are learning through poetry how to speak English – it lent itself to a great understanding, I think, of sound, of pitch, of pronunciation,” she said. “I think of my speech impediment not as a weakness or a disability, but as one of my greatest strengths.”
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Photo by Carlos M. Vazquez II/U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff