For as long as I can remember I’ve had a stammer. And for as long as I can remember it has dictated most of my life.
In primary school, it didn’t bother me all that much until I moved to a new school and got bullied for my stammer. This experience really crushed my confidence and made me hate my stammer and created a lot of self-hate as well. So from that point on, I became extremely covert with my stammer. I used every trick and word to get me through sentences. Some of these included ‘like’, ‘emmm’, ‘ what do you call it’ and even going as far as pretending that I forgot what I was going to say.
This cycle of covering up my stammer and anticipating conversations became exhausting. I felt that I was never fully expressing my personality and not being the real me. In the later years of secondary school, I received a final set of speech therapy sessions and my speech therapist told me about the McGuire Programme. Once I finished my therapy and realised nothing had improved and I decided to take matters into my own hands so I applied to the McGuire Programme.
During the process of applying and waiting for my first course to arrive, I really didn’t know what was in store for me. Then in November 2011, I arrived on a Wednesday evening to the Salthill Hotel in Galway. It only hit me as I arrived at the hotel that something new and wonderful awaited me in the coming days. So after 3 days of hard work and really pushing myself to overcome my stammer I finally had a voice that had been supressed by my stammer for so long. I felt in control, calm, confident and extremely happy.
Before coming on the McGuire Programme, I never spoke or mentioned my stammer to anyone but now I am comfortable telling people that I am a person challenged by stammering. The McGuire Programme has allowed me to do things I never thought I would be able to do including college presentations, job interviews, speaking to new people and feeling comfortable in my own skin as someone that stammers. I have also met so many people that understand exactly what it means to live with a stammer and I’ve made some great friends along the way as well that support me throughout.
The support system offered from the McGuire Programme allows the ability to speak to anyone on the programme whether it is to get advice or practising speaking. With this support system you never feel like you are alone when times get tough. Finally, I’d just like to say that the McGuire Programme has really changed my life. It has put a more positive attitude on the way I see myself and my life. It has allowed me to see that stammering should not hold me or anyone back from things they want to do. I can now gladly say that I am a person challenged by stammering and I’m working hard on my speech to overcome my stammer.