My name is Iain Mutch. I joined the McGuire Programme in September 2000 at the age of 33. Up to that point my stammer had dictated to me how I lived my life and how I behaved whenever I had to speak.
I developed a stammer very early in life, probably at the age of 3 or 4. My time in school. college, university, my working and social life was dominated by the words 'I can't.
If I needed to speak in public or in front of my peers I would always have difficulties. I would block, struggle, try to use tricks and avoid.
If I needed to speak in public or in front of my peers I would always have difficulties
The list of things I was unable to do seemed endless - read out loud, speak foreign languages, take part in drama or debating, participate in school assemblies, ask questions in class, answer questions in class, lead seminars, give presentations, chair meetings, use the telephone, order food and drink...
As an adult a series of life events came along that re-emphasised how big a problem my stammer was. I avoided making a speech when I was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding; I made an absolute fool of myself in court when trying to swear myself in as a member of a jury; I dreaded my wedding day as I knew I wouldn't be able to say my vows or make the groom's speech and I avoided giving a eulogy at my father's funeral.
Five days after that funeral I was in Bournemouth on my first McGuire Programme course. Enough was enough, something had to be done! Thankfully, something was done when i joined the McGuire Programme. I rapidly learned how to control my stammer.
My stammer rarely bothers me now
My tricks stopped and I could say what I wanted to say, when I wanted to say it, how I wanted to say it, for the first time in my life. I didn't have to avoid speaking situations anymore. The "I can't" had turned to "I can"! All this wasn't magic, it was down to facing your fears, putting effort in, concentration, application and a fair amount of courage.
Since my first course I've attended many more. I've sustained, maintained and improved the massive gains I made in Bournemouth in 2000. In September 2002 I became the Regional Director of the UK North region. Every year I organise and run 4 four day, intensive, residential courses to help people who stammer to get the same help that I received in Bournemouth in September 2000.
My stammer rarely bothers me now and it's no longer an influence on how I live my life.