Reality TV star Gareth Gates overcame a stammer

The difficulties and lost opportunities of living with a stammer

I spoke to this wonderful lady, Martina, who wanted to reach out to others and offer support. Over my career in healthcare I have had the privilege to work with the bravest individuals, from young to old, who experience stuttering in daily life. She put her thoughts in writing they were so powerful.

The Impact

Martina writes: “I have had a stutter for as long as I can remember, and my earliest memory of this is when I was about 4 and I was in school and I couldn’t say my name or read out loud. Reading in class was a nightmare. I would stand up but the words just wouldn’t come so the reading would pass on to the next student. Through my life in school nothing changed. I knew that I was different and I didn’t know what to do so I started to avoid words and speaking situations.

“I remember thinking, what will I do when I have to get a job? I never got the job I wanted because of my stutter. My first idea was to do a secretarial course and work in an office but realistically that was never going to happen because I couldn’t take or make phone calls. If I was in a place where a phone rang, I would walk away and pretend I didn’t hear it. I never made a phone call in earshot of anyone because I was embarrassed by my stutter and if I had to make a call I was very good at manipulating people to do it for me.

“I got a job in retail in 1975 when I left school, and it was only meant to be a summer job but I was employed and loved it. I had to turn down more interesting roles that I was so capable for as I would have had to make presentations make and take phone calls and interact competently on a daily basis. I made an excuse and declined the offer. I was very upset. I felt useless.

“I could never order what I wanted in a restaurant I would point at the menu if I wasn’t in a position to point I would order what I could say at that moment.

I would always struggle making appointments with doctors etc. Booking hotels I couldn’t say ‘double room’, I would say ‘a room for me and my husband’. Life went on and nothing changed. On my wedding day I cried walking down the aisle, so that when it came to saying my vows my voice was shaky and I could hide my stutter. I had planned this weeks ahead.

“I called my daughter a name I could say. When she was young I could never read her a bed time story. It made me sad. I never left the house without a pen and paper so that if I got into a stressful situation with my speech I would make an excuse and say that I had just come from the dentist and would it be ok if I wrote down my name and address as it was usually that that I would be having a problem with.

“That was the way I lived my life for 53 years. I did speech therapy and I tried hypnotherapy and neither worked for me.

“In 2002 there was a programme on TV called Pop Idol and there was a guy on it called Gareth Gates and when he came on stage he had to introduce himself and he struggled saying his name. He came second on that show and became a celebrity. I researched and found that he completed the McGuire Programme. I did a bit of research on the programme and I joined in 2010.

“I haven’t gone back to school where reading was a problem, but I put myself forward to do readings in my local church. Saying my name is no problem anymore and we are encouraged to say our name every time we answer our phone. I haven’t changed my job but I have no problem making or taking phone calls. I have gone for interviews just to prove that I can get through one with no fear of speaking. I enjoy making appointments and ordering food in restaurants not just for myself but for anyone else there too.”

Dr Eddie Responds;

I have recommended many people to the McGuire Program. Details on www.stammering.ie. I have seen the transformation from old negative feelings of shame, embarrassment, sadness , stress and anxiety to competence, confidence, empowerment and finally freedom. Living with a stutter is very stressful. You can’t be the person you want to be and the McGuire Programme offers you a way out of this restricted life.

What I like most about the program is its organisation run by people who stutter to help other people who stutter.

They deal with both the physical and psychological side of stuttering. There is no cure or magic pill but with hard work courage and perseverance your life can be changed.

Martina reminded me the importance of raising hope for people who stammer.

Original Post: LEINSTERLEADER

Katie Walsh Late Late Show (Irish Independent)

Katie Walsh on The Late Late Show (RTE)

20 years after joining The McGuire Programme,  Katie speaks confidently and opens up about her struggle with a stammer as a child.

IT’S GOOD TO TALK: Margaret O’Brien who has successfully overcome her stammer. Picture: Dan Linehan

Finding her voice: How a mother of three finally overcame her lifelong stutter – aged 53

Internally she was silenced from a very young age, as those lengthy verbal pauses to pronounce words that contained the S or F sounds in particular, left her embarrassed by the responses of the other kids, “smirking and smiling” at her attempts to express herself.

It didn’t get any better as she got older: “As a teenager, I used to avoid the words that I stammered on and try and change the answer,” she tells Feelgood.

Eventually I became a covert stutterer; I tried to cover up that I had the stammer and thought nobody would see it, if I kept trying to veer conversation away. But there were an awful lot of drawbacks, as a result. I wouldn’t be able to start off a conversation with a new person for example; I was on my guard the whole time.

This continued into adulthood, through her marriage at age 22, the rearing of her three girls now aged 32, 30 and 25, and through separation and divorce. “It kept me from being myself, having my own opinions. I could never stand up for myself because I was constantly in fear of getting stuck by stammering, making a fool of myself. It was easier to keep my mouth shut, rather than speak up.”

But all that changed in October 2016, after Margaret attended a three-day intensive course called The McGuire Programme, run for people who stammer, by those who stammer themselves.

She first heard of the course several years back when English singer-songwriter, Gareth Gates, spoke about how he had conquered his own speech impediment through the programme, when interviewed by presenter Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ’s Late Late Show.

But it wasn’t until she hit her early 50s that Margaret plucked up the courage to do it. “At that stage, I was tired of not being me and being involved in other things. I wanted to be more confident — and I knew if I could speak properly I would have a lot more confidence,” she says.

 

IT’S GOOD TO TALK: Margaret O’Brien who has successfully overcome her stammer. Picture: Dan Linehan

 

But all that changed in October 2016, after Margaret attended a three-day intensive course called The McGuire Programme, run for people who stammer, by those who stammer themselves.

She first heard of the course several years back when English singer-songwriter, Gareth Gates, spoke about how he had conquered his own speech impediment through the programme, when interviewed by presenter Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ’s Late Late Show.

But it wasn’t until she hit her early 50s that Margaret plucked up the courage to do it. “At that stage, I was tired of not being me and being involved in other things. I wanted to be more confident — and I knew if I could speak properly I would have a lot more confidence,” she says.

“I think it was that stage of life… being the age I was. I just wanted to do something for me. A new start.”

Once on the course, it lived up to being an intensive one, with participants starting at 6am and not finishing until 10pm over each of the three days. She learned many tools to manage her stammer, including how she should take a deep breath to fill her lungs if she thought she was going to stumble over a word.

Afterwards, there was follow-up support by phone or Skype with others who had successfully gone through the programme — communication which still continues weekly, so they can practice their speech and talk about problems that might arise.

The fact that Margaret can even use the phone this way, is a huge leap forward.

Before I did the programme there wasn’t a hope I’d speak to anyone on the phone because I always stammered. I can answer the phone now and talk away, having a normal conversation.

She is also determined to continue her progress by putting herself in situations that challenge her to communicate, saying it is “all about practice, practice, practice.” The reward includes exploring a world from which she felt so excluded in the past.

“The past year and a half have given me a freedom I could only dream of,” she reveals. “I have challenged myself and believed in myself enough, to push myself into speaking situations that I never thought I would be able to do. I’m getting involved in a lot more things. I am the union rep now at work where I have to hold many conversations and do a lot of speaking.

“I entered the local Strictly Come Dancing competition for charity and am involved in The Kube competition, another fundraiser. I can ring for takeouts and order whatever I want on the menu. I can go up to someone now and show an interest in them and ask them questions, whereas before I would have been standing back.”

The everyday tasks that the majority of us carry out with ease, from practically toddler stage, now open up half a century later for this brave woman.

She has truly found her voice. “Yes, I have. And it’s brilliant. When I went on the course I was thinking ‘am I too old to be starting doing this?’”

But I realised you’re never too old to make changes in your life and to better yourself.

To find out more about the McGuire Programme check out http://www.stammering.ie/

Brian Dempsey instructing the February 2018 course in Dublin

66,000 Steps To Control In Dublin – Overcoming Stuttering Together

Not everyone can relate to the physical struggle seen with a stutter but everyone can connect with raw emotion. The documentary in January did many things. It projected to millions how a person who stutters feels when they cannot say their own name or make a phone call in work. It revealed to stutterers what is possible through hard work and a little self-belief. Most importantly, it uncovered the “I’m the only person who stutters” myth and broke down that sense of isolation.

Eighteen very courageous people took the big step to finally gain control of their stutter in Dublin with the first Irish McGuire Programme course of the year. The course was held in the Ashling Hotel. The course commenced on Wednesday 21st of February and finished up at 7.30pm on Saturday 24th of February. Brian Dempsey – a Dublin native – instructed the course. Brian’s first course was November 2011 with Gareth Gates at the helm. Brian steered a tight ship and kept everyone energised throughout the 3 days. It was clear from Brian that discipline was going to be key during these next few days. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments” became Mr Dempsey’s mantra during the course. The point was made that to break bad habits of a lifetime, discipline is going to be the cornerstone to success.

Around sixty graduates, coaches and course instructors (returning members) came back to help improve their own speech but also to teach and support the new students’ progress during the course.

Although there are many things that may separate the new students, they all share the one drive and determination for a better life, no longer controlled by their stutter. The younger new students were a breath of fresh air. They showed that a wise head really can sit on young shoulders.

Eighteen people took that first big step to control, and they all did fantastic. It was a pleasure to see them all grow and progress in confidence as the course continued. They now have the techniques and the support to help them improve and become the people they have always wanted to be whether it is speaking in church, making a speech or finally ordering what they want to order in a restaurant. Sometimes it’s the little things in life! Here’s to taking those steps to success (however little or big).

Cormac King

Liam Pogson of Mirfield, who has managed to take control of his stammer and is to appear on a TV programme about the affliction.

How Talking To 50 Strangers A Day Helped Conquer My Stammer

It’s good to talk – but how would you feel about speaking to 50 strangers a day?

For many of us the prospect of approaching dozens of people would fill us with dread.

So imagine how it feels if you go up to someone and literally can’t get your words out.

That’s what life was like for Liam Pogson – who has suffered with a stammer since he was a child.

But Liam’s stammer has now been transformed thanks to an intensive programme that helps sufferers conquer their speech.

A huge part of that is stopping people in the street and striking up a conversation.

For years now, as part of his daily exercises to remain in control of his stammer, Liam, 26, forces himself to talk to 50 strangers.

He will routinely ask people for directions that he doesn’t need or just try and make small talk with people he’s never met.

While some people think he’s trying to sell them something, others will stop and have a word.

Liam, a gym enthusiast from Mirfield who works at the Stadium Fitness Centre in Huddersfield, has spoken out in a bid to get other people suffering with stammers to take action.

He says the McGuire programme he used has been life changing and is urging anyone with a stammer to watch a new ITV documentary next week called School for Stammerers.

“I want people to watch it and then do the McGuire programme,” he said.

“They will learn new ways to speak and new ways to think about their stammering.

“It doesn’t have to ruin your life anymore.

“It’s part of you but it doesn’t have to define you as a person.

“If they do the course they will be in control of their speech for the first time in their life.”

Liam has previously revealed in the Examiner how his stammer had stopped him from enjoying life, particularly during his teenage years.

He developed a way of hiding it and avoided talking or socialising.

But after completing the McGuire programme he was transformed.

“I’m able to be the person I’ve always wanted to be,” he said. “I can show my true personality.

“Before I wasn’t even able to say my name. I went for a job at the stadium and I couldn’t speak.

“Thankfully I still got it even though I couldn’t say a single word.

“The McGuire programme has let me take control of my stammer – it’s a lifestyle and you have to work on it every single day.

“I speak to 50 strangers either on the phone or in the street and I will do every day for the rest of my life.”

School for Stammerers follows the emotional journey of six people trying to overcome their problem.

A lorry driver, a teacher, a pharmacist, a professional photographer, and two school boys all undergo a course that claims it can transform a stammerer’s speech in just four days.

The show airs on ITV 1 on Tuesday, January 9 at 9pm

ORIGINAL INTERVIEW FEATURED IN examiner.co.uk. LINK: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/how-talking-50-strangers-day-14106763

Stammerer Ashley Guerin. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Speaking Out – A Television Documentary Features A Norwich Man Helping People Control Their Stammers

As a child Ashley Guerin would do his best not to speak. His stock answer at school was: “I ain’t sure,” and he is sure some teachers assumed he was either ignorant or insolent.

He was neither. Instead he had a severe stammer.

On Tuesday he is part of a documentary following a group of people through an intensive course to help them gain some control over debilitating stammers.

It was a course Ashley first took, aged 17, and which has been part of his life ever since. It also changed his life, enabling the almost silent teenager to become a businessman running his own building company and comfortable talking to strangers, making phone calls and delivering speeches in front of hundreds of people.

“My speech was really bad. I used to struggle with every single word and just tried to avoid speaking altogether. I’d been through all the usual speech therapy and there wasn’t anything that really helped.”

Like most stammerers, Ashley’s speech problems began when he was around three and affected just about every aspect of his life.

“I decided to get a job in IT, even though I hated IT, because I thought I wouldn’t have to talk!”

Now 37, and running his own building construction company from his home near Norwich, he is due to get married in September.

“I thought my stammer meant I would never find a partner,” he admitted. In fact, his stammer helped him find a partner as he met his fiancé, Clairemarie, through the McGuire Programme – a therapy developed by a stammerer (or stutterer – the two words both mean the same) which trains people in a breathing technique to help them speak. Ashley and Clairemaire are both now teachers with the programme.

The initial course is an intensive four-day programme and, once the breathing technique is mastered, includes exercises such as beginning conversations with strangers, learning how to stammer on purpose to overcome anxiety about being unable to speak, and delivering a speech.

Most people then return regularly to keep on top of their stammer. “It isn’t a cure, it’s a technique to control your speech,” said Ashley. “If I stopped attending courses I would struggle. It’s like sport. You have to keep training.”

He admits being disappointed after his first course that there was not a huge, immediate and permanent change. Now he believes the technique has the potential to work for most people – but involves a huge amount of effort. “You have to face all your fears. And every time you stammer, you should try to stop and start speaking again.

“Once you have learnt the technique you have to go out on to the street with a coach and talk to 100 people. You might ask directions, ask the time, tell them you are on a speech course, it’s not what you say that’s important, it’s the fact that you are having to talk to people. The first time I only managed about 14 or 15 people, I was petrified. But once you have signed up it’s a lifetime membership and you can come back again and again.”

Remembering his own fear, as a teenager, Ashley, now an instructor and coach, is well aware of how 13-year-old Riley is feeling during the ITV documentary to be shown on Tuesday.

“When he started he was very, very quiet. I knew what he was going through and he gained so much confidence!” said Ashley.

And although Ashley still has to work hard to keep his stammer under control, he is fluent and fascinating chatting on the phone.

“I don’t try and avoid stuff any more,” he said.

Instead he has travelled to Dubai, the USA, Canada and Mexico to help coach fellow stammerers, as well as dealing with all the interactions of day-to-day life and running Guerin Construction. “A few times you get the odd impatient person, or someone who laughs, but from childhood I’ve had really good friends around me. Years ago I would rather pretend to be stupid than try to speak but now I tell people about how I work on my speech.”

Watch Ashley Guerin taking part in School for Stammering on ITV1 at 9pm on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The one-off documentary follows the emotionally-charged journey of six people as they attempt to control their stammers and change their lives. A lorry driver, a teacher, a pharmacist, a photographer and two schoolboys take part in the intensive residential four-day course, filmed for the programme. Some go from being unable to speak to giving a speech in front of hundreds of strangers in Trafalgar Square. Ashley Guerin, from Norwich, helps coach 13-year-old Riley, who has stammered all his life. Before starting the course Riley tells viewers he feels like a jigsaw with missing pieces and if the pieces aren’t found, he’s unrepairable, which makes him really sad.

PUBLISHED: 15:06 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 04 January 2018

 

Original Interview featured in Eastern Daily Press: LINK: http://www.edp24.co.uk/going-out/school-for-stammerers-stutter-dave-mcguire-itv-television-1-5343062

Shannen McEwen

Shannen Joins Our Coaching Team To Help Members Defeat Their Stammer

Shannen McEwen is my name, I’m from Letterkenny in Co. Donegal and I have had a stammer since I was 3 years old. Growing up, I was controlled by my stammer and it frustrated me to no end as I could not say what I wanted to say. I always tried my best to hide my stammer as I was embarrassed of it and the fear of stammering in front of people had always held me back from even the most simple of speaking situations such as making phone calls, ordering food in a restaurant or asking for a bus ticket home. One of my most feared sounds was the L sound and being from Letterkenny…It was quite awkward to say the least! I would never ask for a bus ticket to Letterkenny, I’d always end up paying more for a ticket to the next town because I was afraid of stammering in front of the driver and other passengers.

Throughout my life I had developed tricks and avoidance behaviours to get my words out and I relied on others to speak for me when I couldn’t. This was how I lived my life up until June 2016. I had just finished my final year at university and I knew I would soon be applying for jobs and attending interviews, which I felt physically sick at the thought of, and that was when I joined the McGuire Programme. I had speech therapy twice as a child and it was only when I joined the programme did I see any improvement in my speech. After I finished my first course I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and for the first time in my life I was excited to speak. If you asked anyone what their biggest fear is, most would say spiders or clowns etc. I would say that mine was speaking to people and that is why I joined the programme. I’d let my stammer hold me back all my life and I’d had enough, I wasn’t going to let it hold me back any longer.

The McGuire programme has given me so much confidence in myself. A year ago I couldn’t say my own name or where I was from without stammering and now I can actually say what I want and not hold back. It’s finally given me a voice, a voice that I’ve kept quiet for 23 years because I was too scared to speak. Since joining the programme, I’ve done a radio interview, given presentations and have spoken at the National Stammering Awareness Day which are things that I could not have imagined doing in my wildest dreams before joining the programme. I no longer need to use all the tricks and avoidance behaviours that I had developed over the years to get me through a speaking situation and I am no longer that shy and quiet person in the corner that rarely spoke. The McGuire Programme has given me back my confidence to be the person that I knew I was – I still have my stammer but now I control it, rather than letting it control me.

This year, I became a Primary Coach on the programme which allows to me to give back to the programme as it has opened so many doors for me and I enjoy coaching and helping new students on their journeys towards articulate eloquence.

Shannen McEwen

A Celebration Of Resilience In Belfast, Northern Ireland

Our final course in 2017 took place in Belfast from 25th-28th October, where 6 resilient people from all walks of life took part in their first 3 day McGuire Programme intensive course in order to deal with their stutter.

Guest speaker Niamh Shiells & Course Instructor Mary Moorehead at the 25th-28th October 2017 course: Belfast

Guest speaker Niamh Shiells & Course Instructor Mary Moorehead at the 25th-28th October 2017 course: Belfast

Throughout the course they worked very hard at learning, drilling and practicing both the physical and psychological aspects to stuttering.

During the course, we were honoured to have Niamh Shiells as a guest speaker.

Niamh’s husband, Alistair, is a member of the McGuire Programme since attending his first McGuire Programme course in October 2014, which meant that Niamh had an good insight into stuttering and all that it entails.

She talked about the importance of building ‘resilience’ (both physical and psychological resilience), which included persistence, optimism, having a positive frame of mind, flexibility, taking risks, stepping outside our comfort zone, dealing with the negative internal voice, emotions and much more.

During her workshop, each member of the group took a self-assessment which indicated their current level of resilience in different situations and she explained about things to do to improve resilience in any areas that people scored lower on. They understood the importance of building resilience and its benefit in helping to overcome their stutter.

It was a fantastic workshop with much positive feedback from the whole group. Many thanks Niamh. Check out Niamh’s website: http://www.advancecoach.co.uk/

On the final day of the course, the 6 new members took to the streets of Belfast where they showed admirable resilience in speaking to over 100 strangers and doing their public speech. These are situations where they would have avoided before attending the course.

Our next course is from 21st-24th February 2018 in Dublin.

If you are interested in attending, then apply today:

http://www.mcguireprogramme.com/en/apply-now-0

Winning Back Words: International Stuttering Awareness Day

Do you ever have those dreams where you try to run? No matter how much energy you direct to your legs, no matter the sheer will, you’re capped at a slow amble. Or worst still, frozen. How about those dreams where you’re trying to shout for help? You’re lucky if it comes out as a whisper or a strained squeak. Fear bubbles up in your body, your heart hits your ribcage and you wake up in a cold sweat.

As a person with a stutter, this was a feeling not just isolated to the occasional bad dream, but life every day.

One in 100 people have a stutter, and it affects more men than women. I don’t know the catalyst for it. In family videos, I am pretty fluent up until the age of eight. At that point in your life, other children aren’t as cruel, and you don’t realise that you’re different.

However, as I got older I became more covert, attempting to find weird and wonderful ways to keep it out of earshot. I would walk through what I should say in my head, picking out any keywords I might struggle with and how to get around them. I built up a huge mental thesaurus of words I could substitute when I felt a physical block or freeze come on. When I gave my food order, I would go with the easiest option to say as opposed to what I actually wanted. The dish could change in a split second if I felt any tension. Avoidance of situations and sounds. Something other stutterers can resonate with.

The tricks and avoidance I put myself through got more complex, and frankly ridiculous.

I battled in social and academic situations to appear normal. To simply disclose my stutter was something I would never have dreamt of. As a result, feedback from university presentations was to “not be so nervous“, “relax more“, “have more confidence” and “be more fluent” in my speech. At that time, to only receive criticism referring to the content of a presentation or regular delivery feedback was my goal. I would wince as professors and other students gave feedback. “Don’t mention the stammer”, I thought.

I gave myself a hard time. How could I fail to master something that everybody else took for granted?

I was frustrated at myself and anybody who tried to offer me advice.

I didn’t have the knowledge and the right mentality at the time to own and manage my stutter.

READ MORE THE REST HERE: Talk to the pen!

Written by McGuire Programme member Sarah Maclean-Morris

Speaking up for stammerers!

Severe stammers can steal the voice of a person and badly affect confidence. As International Stammering Day approaches, Chris Webber talks to Jordan Hall, a young man with the condition

IT must have taken real courage for Jordan Hall to stand up on a stage in front of his friends, family, mum and dad, brother and sister, classmates, and try to speak.

But courage wasn’t enough.

Aged 17 this bright lad, full of enthusiasm for his history project about the Crusades, slides at the ready, opened his mouth… and nothing happened.

“I didn’t speak a single word, not one single word left my mouth. My mum was upset. Everything tensed in my throat. They just ended up showing the slides in silence. I felt really low. I think I might have cried when I got home.”

Jordan’s mother, Paula, took action after that night. After all, Jordan’s situation was becoming more urgent. He had a good set of friends at Conyers School, in Yarm, and in his home town of Ingleby Barwick, and – with some NHS-supported speech therapy – had got by okay.

But now university and the world of work, interviews, changing social situations, were on the horizon… and the stammer was getting much worse.

“There’d been a documentary about Gareth Gates, the pop singer, who had a bad stammer, and that’s when we heard about the McGuire programme.”

Six weeks later and Jordan was in Cardiff, about to start the four-day McGuire course, his parents having paid £700. There’s a physical side to the course based on breathing technique, encouraging stammerers to use a different set of muscles to talk.

But, of course, there’s also a psychological side: dealing with the fear and anxiety that make the situation so much worse.

Jordan threw himself into it. In one day he had improved. At this instructors prompting he walked into the street and started to ask people questions, directions, the time, you name it. “It’s something that would just never have occurred to me to do before, it just wouldn’t have crossed my mind to talk to someone on the street like that,” he says.

Then he had to a stand on a soap box and talk to a crowd of random strangers. Jordan was the last of the group to do it. “It was so nerve-wracking,” he says. “Lot’s of us couldn’t say our own names. I really struggled with mine. But that was my first word; ‘Jordan.’ I said it and it was exhilarating. It was an extra-special feeling. Adrenaline was going; everyone was buzzing.”

At the end of the course, everyone had to give a more official speech. Again there were family there. Jordan spoke well. Again his mum cried. This time from happiness.

But it was not the end of the story. The McGuire programme and other, similar, breathing techniques does provide a cure. Jordan must practice. He and other sufferers must push themselves their whole lives just to be able to speak.

Today, Jordan deliberately answers the telephone as part of dealing with his stammer. It is a device he would not go near for a long time. “Telephones are hard. People think you’ve just gone silent, there’s no visual, they don’t know what’s going on.”

Jordan was lucky in that he wasn’t bullied. Teachers were empathetic and helpful. At primary school, he had even managed to narrate a school play. But as he got older and life’s problems became trickier and more stressful, his condition became worse.

For other sufferers, about one per cent of the adult situation (of whom about 80 per cent are men), the lack of a voice can be excruciating and far worse than it was for Jordan. There are tales of bullying, isolation and heartbreaking frustration.

And not everyone can afford to join the course, or more accurately become a member of the McGuire organisation, which today costs £900.

Thankfully, as knowledge of the causes of stammering – there is now strong evidence that stammerers brains are “wired”’ slightly differently, although details are unclear – and there’s better help. An everyday, NHS GP will often refer sufferers to a speech therapist.

Jordan has a clear messages to fellow sufferers: “Do not let it prevent you getting on with your life. Get help. You do have a voice.”

Original Article featured in The Northern Echo