Iyanka Cooray
Iyanka Cooray
London, UK

First Course:
London, 2013

Hi. I'm Iyanka Cooray, a Web Designer from London.

Just being able to say that has been incredibly difficult for me for the last 25 years, due to my stutter. Saying my name was always the most difficult part, and so I would avoid social and professional situations.

I felt like struggling through saying my name would turn me into a joke – this wasn’t helped by an extremely difficult time at school, which it’s safe to say that I don’t look back upon fondly.

I missed out on a lot of more social activities like theatre and sports, due to difficulty interacting with people outside of my comfort zone.

 I tried everything that I could find to cure my stutter, including speech therapy and even hypnotherapy.

These methods sometimes worked for a short period of time, but they never gave me the confidence to be the person I wanted to be, and the stutter would inevitably return.

As I got older, I started coming out of my shell a bit, and met some great people who supported me. While this helped, my stutter still affected my day-to-day life. I’d order food and drink that I didn’t like because they were easier to say.

I obviously avoided presentations

Phone conversations were difficult (and the more important the call, the more difficult it was). I obviously avoided presentations, as the last thing you want is to be unable to speak in front of your peers. My biggest regret is being unable to a speech at either my sister’s wedding or my own.

I moved to London from Sri Lanka at the age of 22, and I knew how important speech was for university and work. I’d heard about the McGuire programme while in Sri Lanka, but I only really began to understand how it worked when I watched the documentary “Stop My Stutter” with Gareth Gates.

I enrolled on the next available course, and it’s difficult to explain how much it has changed my life – but now it’s only about trying to find the right words, rather than being unable to say them.

I am finally able to do things the way I actually want to do them

I am finally able to do things the way I actually want to do them, and feel like I can actually be the person I want to be, due to the confidence that the McGuire programme has instilled in me. The support network is amazing.

With a fantastic primary coach (Sean Rees) and a huge number of other coaches available to call, and frequent support groups, I’ve really been able to push myself and actually get control of my speech.

As a web designer, I am now able to get my points across in meetings and actively participate, rather than just making up the numbers.

My name is Iyanka Cooray. And joining the McGuire programme has allowed me to say that. That’s just one of the reasons it’s been the best decision of my life.