Atlanta United, Falcons owner Arthur Blank marks opening of center to treat stuttering

Atlanta United and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank contributed a $12 million grant to open a facility in Atlanta that treats stuttering.

Emil Moffatt/WABE News

There’s a new resource in Atlanta for those who speak with a stutter.

The Center for Stuttering Education and Research bears the name of Arthur M. Blank — owner of Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons. The facility, which celebrated a ribbon-cutting Tuesday, was established thanks to a $12 million grant from Blank’s foundation.

Blank, who overcame a childhood stutter, says more needs to be done to normalize treatment of the disorder.

“Use President Biden as an example,” said Blank. “He’s a perfect example of an individual who still stutters to this day and openly acknowledges it and reaches out to young folks in any way that he can to make sure they know that ‘you want to be president of the United States?’ You can be president of the United States. You can be whatever you choose to be.”

The facility in Atlanta, currently housed at Children’s at North Druid Hills, is the first satellite location of the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research based at the University of Texas at Austin. Blank contributed $20 million to establish that facility.

Programs at the facilities are free and officials say they hope to help 500 people the first year in Atlanta and double that number in subsequent years.

“A big piece that’s really important to us is that everything that we do here is at no cost to the families,” said Kia Johnson, associate director of the center’s Atlanta satellite. “We know that for stuttering treatment, there are often financial barriers that come with access to speech-language pathologists.”

The center is also designed to teach educators and future educators the skills to help children who stutter.