When I was 6 years old I began stuttering and failed to articulate and vocalize certain sounds properly which extended into tricks and filler words to connect my sentences.
I stumbled my way through social situations and university because I was riddled with fear that every time I went to class, I would be asked a question and would be required to answer. My speech under pressure was poor and I struggled, so my answer for that was not to go to class and I habituated the art of avoidance which left me with a daily sense of regret.
After university I attended Law school thinking that my communication problems would magically disappear. The pressure to have strong communication skills within that environment caused me stress, fear and depression and I defaulted to the only thing I knew how to do – avoidance.
My tenure at Law school was short-lived and I realised I needed to start speech therapy all over again. I attended speech therapy in Harley Street, London for a year which also didn’t work and left me feeling even more desperate.
In 2007, I saw Gareth Gates on the Jonathan Ross show and was amazed at how eloquent and articulate he had become. I felt that following whatever speech process Gareth had gone through would be the best option that I could pursue.
I did my first course in 2008 and have not looked back since. The McGuire Programme helps you take control of your stutter and to become an eloquent speaker. I continually work on my speech and have now a qualified as a primary coach, which allows me to help others with stutters and helping others has been the best gift anyone has given me.
I've been on many courses and continue to develop both as a speaker and as a person. A massive weight has finally been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally do things that I was never able to do before such as competing in Toastmaster speaking competitions. Simply, my stammer no longer controls or defines me.
Now, I look forward to giving radio and newspapers interviews and letting others know that the help they need is out there.
James Jeffries, London