Australia - Sydney June 2014 - Course Report

A summary of the McGuire Programme 4-day intensive course held in Sydney, Australia 12th - 15th June 2014.

McGuire Programme for people who stutter

A very happy group of people who stutter who have succeeded to control and manage their stuttering behaviour over a 4-day intensive course in Sydney, Australia in June 2014.

McGuire 4-day Intensive Course Report: Australia Region
City: Sydney
Dates: 12th – 15h June 2014
RD: Geoff Johnston
Primary Course Instructor: Scott Monson
Author: Geoff Johnston

Wednesday night saw 13 new students arrive at the Y Hotel in Sydney. Seven men, four women and two young fellows 13 and 14 years of age.

We were very fortunate to have Dave McGuire visit us for his biennial trip down under. Dave stayed with us for Wednesday night and all day Thursday before he left Friday morning for New Zealand.

Wednesday night begun with first-day videos with a mix of overt and covert stutterers although it has been noticed lately that a larger number of students are tending to be covert stutterers with first videos not showing a great deal of stuttering behaviour.

Dave introduced the course and spoke about the physical and psychological weapons of the enemy, stuttering. He then described the weapons/tools required to counteract the freezing, struggle, distortion, tricks and avoidance; tool s everyone will have to master and use by the end of the course.

Thursday morning Dave taught and the group drilled those tools including costal breathing, deep and breathy tone, hit and hold and block release. Thursday night Dave made a presentation to RD Geoff Johnston who will be calling it a day at the end of the year after 13 years in the job. A lovely inscribed wall clock on timber. Much appreciated Dave, thank you.

Strong graduates and coaches were appointed as mentors to take a special watching emphasis on assigned new students during the course to ensure any struggles or problems didn't go unnoticed.

The course then followed a familiar structure with emphasis on drilling the checklist, laws, rules and directions. Much of this drilling was done after breathing practice first thing every morning reading back and forth in lines 3-5 words per breath with a good 3-5 second pause. Laminated sheets with phrases in red and black were used during this intense drilling.

Friday decision time and three female students left.

Graduate and students contacts were strong with several exceeding 120 contacts on the Friday and Saturday. Public speeches at Darling Harbour were great with use of the tools and no/zero out-of-control stuttering. It's always pleasing that students have faith that things will be great on the day and they always are with many speaking in public without struggle for perhaps the first time in their lives.

Phone practice was an emphasis on this course with two separate segments organised for students and graduates to drill using the phone. A Sunday morning session was used for students to talk via phone to coaches not at the course.

Scott Monson conducted a useful split session for graduates with more than one course behind them. The topic Fixed Mindset v Growth Mindset was particularly relevant to any graduates who were "stuck" in their McGuire journey.

The usual split session for parents and friends was well attended and great questions about what to expect and methods of coaching and helping their loved ones.

The course finished with a course overview for parents and friends by Scott, closing speeches by the new graduates and then returning graduates including a very funny rendition of the checklist by Parvez Boghani. If you haven't seen it yet check out:
Thank you again to the graduates for helping. Without you there would be no course. Thank you to the instructors and those coaches who took segments particularly Scott Monson, Rob Lucas, Stu Dow, Rick Nelson and Paul Loveless. Finally thank you Dave for this programme which is arguably the biggest and best self-help group for people who stutter in the entire world!

Ongoing Challenge:

Dave set a level of discipline which was maintained for the remainder of the course at least in the room. The challenge is still to get people, particularly returning graduates to use the tools and technique outside of the room during breaks and meals. We all love the feeling of freedom, being able to speak so well without fear, anxiety and thought. Unfortunately that's "fools' fluency" and will quickly come unstuck after the course.