I began to stutter at around the age of 4 and was quite 'overt' up until my teenage years when I started to try to cover my stutter up, learning tricks and techniques that aided me in hiding who I really was.
These tricks and techniques however only really worked in certain situations and when the pressure was on, my speech would fall apart and my confidence would take a severe blow.
I continued to be a 'covert' and hide my stutter from everyone, including myself, until my early twenties when I realized that I really had to address the problem. It was causing huge frustrations in my career and personal life.
I contacted The McGuire Programme in 2005 but it was not until May 2008 that I finally built up the courage to attend my first course.
Following my first course I was on a high. The McGuire Programme had really given me back my own voice. I felt like I had been set free and could become the person I wanted to be and say what I wanted to say.
To most of the people around me before the programme they would have said "your stutter is not that bad" or "I did not know you had a stutter". This was a BIG DEAL for me because it was affecting me every day and the people around me did not really understand how much of a part of my life it was.
After the course I got to understand the dynamics of my own stutter. I got my head around how it is not just a physical problem but it also a very psychological one. I started to have the confidence to tell people I had a stutter, to show them my true speaking voice and not be afraid. When I started doing this the fear of stuttering came down, I stopped avoiding speaking situations and my confidence grew.
Been on The McGuire Programme since 2008 has been life changing for me. Having the support of people that have been through what you have been through, some in much more challenging situations than myself, has given me a greater understanding of my own speech. I have seen some life changing moments in other students on the course from not been able to say their own name to going on and becoming doctors, school teachers and happier human beings.
I passed my coaching exam in October 2015, 10 years from when I first made contact with The McGuire Programme. It’s never too late to join and never too late to push out your comfort zones!
I hope that I now can give back to others on the course what it has given me.