James WalshCoach, Member
Stuttering had always been the thing that defined me, often negatively I can admit. I was lucky to grow up in a supportive family and go to schools where I did not get any grief because of my speech. Despite this, I lacked any bit of confidence when it came to my speech.
During all of secondary school, I had an agreement with all my teachers not to ask me to read or answer questions in class. I was also avoiding speaking situations in which I would have liked to participate in.
After finishing secondary school and making the transition to university, I was enjoying myself but the same things that plagued me during secondary school were still there. My stutter had too much control over what I did and said.
In 2015, I was 19 years old and going into the final year of my undergraduate degree in college. I decided to make a change. I finally went and joined the McGuire Programme. Since then I honestly do not recognise myself and no longer feel like my stutter defines me. You soon realise that everybody on the program is battling the same adversities that you are.
Over my journey on the programme, I have given multiple talks to Speech and Language Therapy students in NUI Galway, stood and spoke on soapboxes all over Ireland and met a lot of great people along the way. Since joining, my only problem is that people cannot get me to shut up!
The opportunity to give back to this great organisation by becoming a coach is something I could have only dreamt of a few years ago. I am incredibly grateful to Dave McGuire, Joe O Donnell, all the coaches, all the course instructors and every single graduate I have had the privilege to talk with over these past few years. I look forward to meeting and chatting with many more in the future.
To the people reading this who may be apprehensive about taking the leap of faith and joining, I cannot recommend it enough!
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