Breaking Through in Brisbane

The McGuire Programme held its first Australian course for 2016 in Brisbane from 13-17 April.

Five new students, all young men aged 14-24, and over 35 graduates attended the intensive course and all showed great commitment to challenging themselves moving beyond the (sometimes self-imposed) limitations of their stutter.

New Students were guided by the best examples of instructors and coaches during the formative hours of Day 1 where the foundations of their self-discipline, posture and costal breathing were laid. At the same time, returning graduates were put through their paces in a different room in a ‘Refresher Day’ style environment. This gave the stronger graduates an opportunity to demonstrate that they know their basics, are disciplined and can be a good example for our new starters. It also gave graduates an opportunity to receive more attentive direction and coaching from the session leaders and graduates around them.

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

Speaking in social situations is the one of the most common scenario for our speech to falter. We wanted everyone on the course to have the chance to take home a positive social speaking situation, where we would feel more comfortable speaking in a noisy, crowded, public situation. This was achieved through the Australian programme’s first official “course dinner”. It was great to see a positive mindset towards a new opportunity, different people getting to know each other and being open to sitting with new people outside of their ‘comfort groups’; this not only benefits us as individuals, but strengthens the networks between everybody involved in the Programme.

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” - Vera Nazarian

What really stood out during the course was the strong sense of connection between all of those participating – new students, graduates, family members and even a visiting speech language pathologist! The SLP in particular had a moving journey from initially only seeing 40 people who ‘slipped through the cracks’ of traditional therapy, to then witnessing the developing sense of camaraderie as those same people laughed, joked and openly shared their experiences of stuttering – and the success they have had moving beyond stuttering.

Australia’s next course will be held in Sydney, 6-10 July.