66,000 Steps to Control in Dublin – Overcoming Stuttering Together

2018 has only just begun and yet the stuttering community has already stamped its mark on the nation. ‘School for Stammerers’ – the ITV documentary which aired (also on TV3 in Ireland) at the beginning of January 2018 – pulled at the heartstrings of everyone that tuned in. It followed the journey of some very brave people learning how to overcome their stutter through the McGuire Programme.

Brian Dempsey instructing the February 2018 course in Dublin

Brian Dempsey instructing the February 2018 course in Dublin

Not everyone can relate to the physical struggle seen with a stutter but everyone can connect with raw emotion. The documentary in January did many things. It projected to millions how a person who stutters feels when they cannot say their own name or make a phone call in work. It revealed to stutterers what is possible through hard work and a little self-belief. Most importantly, it uncovered the “I’m the only person who stutters” myth and broke down that sense of isolation.

Eighteen very courageous people took the big step to finally gain control of their stutter in Dublin with the first Irish McGuire Programme course of the year. The course was held in the Ashling Hotel. The course commenced on Wednesday 21st of February and finished up at 7.30pm on Saturday 24th of February. Brian Dempsey – a Dublin native – instructed the course. Brian’s first course was November 2011 with Gareth Gates at the helm. Brian steered a tight ship and kept everyone energised throughout the 3 days. It was clear from Brian that discipline was going to be key during these next few days. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments” became Mr Dempsey’s mantra during the course. The point was made that to break bad habits of a lifetime, discipline is going to be the cornerstone to success.

Around sixty graduates, coaches and course instructors (returning members) came back to help improve their own speech but also to teach and support the new students’ progress during the course.

Although there are many things that may separate the new students, they all share the one drive and determination for a better life, no longer controlled by their stutter. The younger new students were a breath of fresh air. They showed that a wise head really can sit on young shoulders.

Eighteen people took that first big step to control, and they all did fantastic. It was a pleasure to see them all grow and progress in confidence as the course continued. They now have the techniques and the support to help them improve and become the people they have always wanted to be whether it is speaking in church, making a speech or finally ordering what they want to order in a restaurant. Sometimes it’s the little things in life! Here’s to taking those steps to success (however little or big).

Cormac King