- Instructor Intern
- Regional Director
- Staff Trainer
I was always considered a quiet and shy person. That’s how I was perceived by others and that’s what I convinced myself I was.
I never wanted to take part in social events and the thoughts of meeting new people was a nightmare. How could I introduce myself? What would they think of me when they heard me speak?
During school I kept my head down and worked hard hoping that teachers wouldn’t ask me to speak in class. Although I loved school I was also terrified that I would be asked to speak in class. At the end of each class I would be so relieved that I wasn’t asked a question, but this relief would only last a short while till I had to go into another class and the whole cycle would start again. One teacher suggested I should have Speech Therapy and had organised this for me. During these sessions the Speech Therapist would ask why I needed speech therapy as my speech was very good. I had become a master of tricks and avoidance.
Having tried numerous ways of trying to ‘cure’ my stammer I eventually got the courage to apply for the McGuire Programme. I did my first course in November 2010 and I quickly learned there was NO CURE for stammering but a way to control it. Control sounded good to me. It was better than I what I had.
In 2011 I became a Primary Coach. I no longer need to use all the tricks I had built up just to get through a normal day. I am no longer that quiet and shy person people thought I was. I have become more confident and I now enjoy meeting new people and taking part in social events. This has been achieved by working hard and using the back up support that is provided by the McGuire Programme.
Rory West is my name and I am originally from Dublin, but now live in Co Kildare. I have been challenged by stammering since the age of four. My speech problems began with having trouble pronouncing words and sounds and over time through school, the problem developed into a stammer. My parents were concerned and wanted to get help for me.
I attended speech therapy for 8 years which for me personally didn’t work. Around my family I was in my comfort zone, with my family doing all my communicating for me.
My major problems were outside that comfort zone within a work environment. Work was a place that I had to make my own phone calls and communicate for myself. Every day involved lots of avoiding speaking situations. Avoiding meetings at all costs and walking miles in work rather than making a phone call. The phone was the biggest fear for me. I remember phone calls where I was asked my name and the struggle just to get ‘Rory’ out was unbelievable. Sometimes it was so bad I would change my name just to end the pain for me and the listener. This became my life and it was my way of dealing with my stammer.
In early 2007 I started a new position in work as a supervisor which required me to communicate with employees. This was the point that made me want to do something about my stammer as I struggled to communicate. In October 2007 in Belfast I attended my first McGuire course and became a member of the programme.
The programme has given me the techniques to overcome my stammer. But apart from stammering the programme has giving me a number of tools to communicate well in life. Since October 2007 I have become a manager in work which means lots of meetings and presentations which before the programme I would have been avoided at all costs.
Now with the techniques I have learned, I can control my stammer and communicate well within my work environment.
Since becoming a member of the programme I am now a coach and course instructor on the programme which allows me to give something back and help new members of the programme. Also I have instructed 4 courses so far and I look forward to instructing more courses in the future.
PJ Daly is my name and I began the McGuire Programme on the 5th of August 2009. Up until that day my stammer gave me serious bother all of the time, even in very simple situations.
The McGuire Programme has effectively taken me out of the depths of despair and has given me a new found confidence which has enhanced my life.
I am not going to say that every single situation is 100%, it is not, but I am a person who is still working on his speech and is improving with each day.
I enjoy my role as a primary coach and look forward to offering whatever advice I can give to other members to take control of their stammer.
I joined the McGuire Programme in April 2008 because I knew I needed to change how I was living my life. I was fearful of all speaking situations and it was starting to take over my life.
One of the main reasons I joined the programme was because I was starting final year at university and I knew I would soon be applying for jobs and attending interviews. I was determined not to let my stutter hold me back from pursuing the career I had always wanted to do.
I stuttered from the age of three and throughout my life I regularly attended speech therapy. However, 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 once in my life I was excited to speak.
As a result of joining the programme, I am working in the career I love and really enjoying my life.
The most important aspect of the programme is the extensive support network which I am now very excited to be a part of. I am really looking forward to giving back to the programme and helping the new students.
I joined the McGuire Programme in August 2012 because I was in a place where all my negative speaking experiences were dictating who I was, how I behaved and communicated.
I didn’t want to continue living a life forged from the emotions of anger, frustration, self hatred and rejection.
I have stammered all my life, from the day I said my first word. But my first memories of stammering were in primary school, 3rd grade. We had a new teacher that year, in the morning she would call the role.
When our names were called we had to say “Present Mrs X”. Every day for a year I stammered uncontrollably saying “present”. Pretty soon she would not call my name and just check if I was there.
I went through the phases we all probably did in primary school. They thought I was intellectually slow so I was put into a more basic class.
I would get my hearing checked regularly to see if I could hear properly as I didn’t respond to questions. I didn’t really take much notice of it in primary school as I was very overt still. But then came High school.
High school, is where they say you shape yourself for adulthood, well like all of us who stammer I was shaped through laughter, embarrassment and bullying.
This caused me to begin to use tricks and avoidances, becoming more and more covert. Sometimes people even said they thought I was cured, as I hadn’t stammered in a while.
University was a similar experience; I was very reserved, avoided situations and had a plethora of tricks up my sleeve to avoid stammering. I would tap my feet, clap my hands, nod my head or pretend to be thinking or busy. After university I knew I had to do something, so I joined the McGuire Programme.
My first course was eye opening,
All these people have stammers and they all communicate so well. It was very alien to me, to think that a person who stammers can be an eloquent speaker and have so much confidence. This is what really drove me to work on my speech and become a coach. The support within the programme is immense; there is always a friendly ear to listen to you.
I would recommend the programme to anyone who stammers. It has transformed me from being driven by negative emotions to enjoy speaking and embrace the challenge that stammering brings.
I started to stammer at an early age as young as 4 or 5 but my first recollection of stammering being a huge problem was at High School at the age of 12 or 13. I was afraid of being asked to read out in class or being asked a question by the teacher because of the extreme anxiety I felt when speaking, or even anticipating being asked to speak in any situation. I was a covert stammerer and used lots of tricks such as Um`s and A`s and phrases such as you know, like.
Any situation I could have avoided I would have, unless it was absolutely necessary that I be in a situation I wouldn`t have been in it due to the fear and anxiety of stammering.
My stammer gave me a lot of trouble at University where I recall walking down to a tutorial (my second and last one) and vomiting due to the fear and anxiety. This fear and anxiety continued for three years at Queens and I avoided loads of situations and people and basically stepped through the mine field of speaking as best I could until I graduated in 1997. Between 1997 and 2007 I only went to two job interviews because of fear and anxiety surrounding speaking. I felt very low in 2007 and my fear and anxiety seemed to be increasing and panic attacks were a daily occurrence for me. I knew I had a problem with speech and had heard about the McGuire Programme in 2004/2005 on television.
In May 2007 I had to make an appointment to see the dentist. I had not been to a dentist in almost 10 years because I hated being asked for my name, but I had a chipped tooth which needed looking at so I decided to go in and make the appointment in person. I wanted to say, “Could I make an appointment to see the Dentist please” but all I could manage was, “A you know like your man in here, could he like A you know fix this” and I had to point at my tooth. I felt really ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn`t even say my name and make a dental appointment the way I wanted to, I felt useless.
However things were soon to change. I enrolled on my first McGuire Programme course in August 2007 where I was taught a new speaking technique, good eye contact, tools to deal with feared words and a method to advertise myself as a person who is challenged by stammering. The course and the process afterwards is very demanding but worthwhile. Since my first course I have got myself a job as shop manager, joined Toastmasters and achieved my competent communicator award. I am a coach on the McGuire Programme and have instructed a course in May 2011. I also have appeared on UTV`S Seven Thirty show to talk about stammering. None of this would have been possible without the help and support of the McGuire Programme where I have made some great friends. Thanks to all who helped me and continue to help me in my journey in overcoming stammering.
A young, ambitious lad, full of great ideas and wishes to achieve his dreams, but afraid to take the next step, never the first, seldomly winning, left in the shadow by his own will… And all this just because of a little thing – his stammering…
That‘s how I saw myself a good few years ago. The incompetence that was constantly living with me I tried to compensate with other things – studies, sports, handcrafting etc, where I was quite successfull at. Despite this, the years in school and times during exams in college I can remember only through the feelings of embaressment, stress and continues dissapointment – dissapointment in myself. The moments of hopelessness were often guiding me through the choices I made in my life. Later on the understanding came that this must be just my way of living and little I can change there. I just accepted the reality. I had to accept it and live with it – I just did not see any other option.
Little hopes I had when I heard about McGuire programme – “Ahh, just another one.“. Maybe that influenced my postponing and delaying the time to join it, until life pushed me into the corner and I decided to give it a go. Anyway – I have nothing else to lose, I thought. I found the course very interesting, and Voi-la! – it was working! Minute by minute, session by session, day by day my confidence was growing until I started to believe that there MAY BE another road than constant living with stress and disappointment. There was another life! The life of freedom, where you do not have to think about how to say a word before you say it! No changing words! No waiting for a ‘perfect’ time to say it! No choosing the ‘right’ situation! I don’t even have to wait for ‘a good day’ to come when my stammering wouldn’t be very severe so I could try to persuade myself that it is not influencing my life!
It took time to digest fully what has happened after the first course and to prove myself that this is not just a temporary improvement. I received excellent endless support from the other members of the programme, coaches and regional director. Every phone call, every advice, every goal that was set to work on my speech and glorious satisfaction achieving it was a small brick to build my own castle of confidence and self realization, until I could fight the fear of speaking and negative feelings out of the occupied territory of my life! Yes, I still do have a stammer, but now I am the one who controls it instead of vice versa. Yes, I still can get an odd block or some turbulence when I get slightly sloppy in my speech, but now I know that if stammering will ever try again to take away my fluency, my confidence, even my dignity, it can never take away my diaphragm, which I learned plays the main role in my controlled way of speaking! What is more – I will always have my technique, my positive experience, the fantastic support that will lift me up again! Up to the perfect quality of life, the quality that I could only dream about when I was a child!
Yes, I do have to learn so many things regarding communicating that are so common to others, but it is a thousand times better to feel like you are back in school rather than to drive on a back seat of a fancy car with no driver in it, and pretend that life is all safe and beautiful around you! No more illusions, just a real life with all its exciting challenges, offers, goals and dreams that can finally be fulfilled!
When somebody asks me to describe my life now, the only way I could see it is like imagining two worlds, separated by a heavy tall wooden door, which was not easy to open, but every effort, every pain, every sweat drop was worth it a million times! And what a satisfaction afterwards!!!
I am so glad I joined this programme and I am so thankful to everyone who guided me into this road of freedom!
In November 2009 I joined the McGuire Programme having decided that I had to do something about my stammer which had overtaken how I lived my life since primary school. Stammering controlled me and the fear and panic of not being able to say what I wanted made me feel frustrated and angry. Every speaking situation was a struggle and I manipulated my family and friends to speak for me and avoided all situations where I would have to speak. With hard work, courage and perservance the Programme has given me a new confidence when speaking and I now have control of how I speak and I can now be the person I always wanted to be.
I became a coach in 2011 and from my own personal experience I can now help others in their journey to become strong, articulate speakers.
Martina Ross is my name and I have stammered for as long as I can remember. School was a nightmare for me especially when it came to reading out loud. I would be sitting in my seat and waiting for my turn and feeling sick because I knew that I would not be able to do it. This happened every day of my life, it wasn’t just a once off. No one ever asked me what was wrong and in those days (1950’s) stammering was never really spoken about. My life went on in that way all the way through school up until I left school and had to get a job. The job I really wanted was to be a Sports Instructor but with a stammer that was never going to be possible for me, so I got a job in Dunnes Stores in Donaghmede where there was a new store opening. My personality got me through the interview. Being in a large company I knew I could hide my stammer a bit easier and it worked. No one knew.
I loved my job and I worked in the Ladies Fashion Department. I was so good at my job that I was asked to go to Head Office. No chance!!! It would mean that I would have to make phone calls and go to meetings. I had to decline. Life went on….and on….. Stammering ruled my life.
In 2004 I decided enough was enough and I looked up ways to help me and I saw that I could do hypnotherapy that would work. No luck. I then went to speech therapy and that didn’t work for me either. I got on the internet and did a bit of research and up popped the McGuire Programme. Not sure about that I thought!!!.
Anyhow I downloaded the form and kept it. Never filled it in.
Life went on…. One evening I was watching Family Fortunes Celebrities version and Gareth Gates was on speaking very well .Hmm… he has a stammer, I thought how is he not stammering anymore? I got on to his website and found out that he had been on the McGuire Programme, That changed everything!! I rooted out that form and filled it in.
The best thing since sliced bread!!
I did my first course in November 2010 and it has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life.
The programme is run over 3 days and it is very intense, but with a lot of hard work and dedication you will be amazed at how your speech improves.
I always had a problem saying my name and by the 2nd day I could stand up and say my name confidently and for a person with a stammer that is a great achievement.
As I said earlier stammering ruled my life, but not anymore. I have done readings at Mass,
been on the radio, (talking about the programme) and done newspaper articles, things I could only have dreamt about doing.
I could not do all this on my own without the support of other people on the programme and that is why I think the programme is so successful. You have lifetime support from other people who have been through the same stress as you have, and that is why I am now a coach on this wonderful programme.
I have had a stammer since I was 4 years old and it always had a huge impact on me. As most people that are challenged by stammering will tell you, the physical blocking and facial struggle is only a fraction of the speech impediment. My stammer caused me to block on words and repeat sounds but it also caused me to avoid words and situations.
I would never speak in the company of new people. I would go to extreme lengths to hide my stammer and usually fail. A small thing like asking for something in a shop was always a dreaded ordeal for me.
I would stutter and struggle on the words and leave the shop feeling ashamed, embarrassed but above all else incompetent. It would be safe to say that almost every speaking experience I had was clouded with negative emotions leading me to feel completely helpless. I felt as though I would never be able to say what I wanted to say.
Secondary school was a major challenge for me. My stammer caused me to worry excessively. From the moment I realised what a French Oral exam was I began to imagine all the way it could go wrong for me. I presumed I would fail, not because of my level of French but rather because I wouldn’t even be able to tell the examiner my name. I was certain that the examiner would think that my facial struggle was a trait of utter madness!
English soon became the most dreaded class of the day for me, not because I didn’t like the subject but rather because of the likelihood of being asked to real aloud in class. There was absolutely no way to avoid the words that I knew I would struggle on. There they lay on the page like traps just waiting to suck me in to a dark hole of humiliation. I would sit anxiously behind my book, hoping my turn to read would never come.
My parents knew how much my stammer affected me and tried relentlessly to help me. Throughout my childhood I attended all sorts of speech therapy. Although I met many dedicated speech therapists with the best of intentions none of their remedies seemed to work for me. Any hint of progress was soon followed by an abrupt tumble back to square one. Both my mom and I began to feel as though my stammer and all the negativity associated with it were to be a life sentence.
I first became aware of my stutter when I was 7 years of age. I noticed I spoke very quickly and observed even at a young age how I avoided words I couldn’t say. This became progressively worse as I got older. In school I remained very quiet and dreaded if asked a question. I thought the best thing to do was say nothing and avoid speaking situations.
The more I became quieter in myself, the worse I felt. I wanted to be the chatty one and envied all my friends who spoke out and I always admired how well they spoke. If I needed a question answered I always hoped someone else would ask the question for me as I refused to raise my hand and speak.
This over time is not good for a girl’s self-confidence.
However, since joining the McGuire Programme in May 2013 my life has changed significantly. I never had trouble saying my own name but where I originally came from in Clare was always a struggle. Now I can proudly say I am from Liscannor in Co. Clare. I am now a lot more confident in my ability as a person and have taken on many new challenges since my first course.
This Programme gives you the confidence and support to do things you once only dreamt of. It also gives you the confidence to accept yourself as a person who has a stutter and be happy with yourself as you are. My family and friends have noticed a big difference in me as a person since joining the McGuire Programme in 2013. For that I will always be grateful.
So finally, I want to give back to new students my wealth of knowledge and experience in our journey together to articulate eloquence.
I started stammering at the age of 8 & there began my covert stammering journey. I became a world class covert stammerer in my 20s to such an extent that my family, close friends and colleagues didn’t think I had a stammer! I achieved this through quick word substitution and avoiding situations.
But as the years went on it became more of a challenge to keep up the facade – to the point where I simply had to reach out for help. That is how I came to be a member of the McGuire Programme.
In November 2010 I rang Joe O’Donnell (having hung up the phone 4 times before that week!) and I enrolled on the next course. In February 2011 I travelled to Belfast and I haven’t looked back since.
I really enjoy public speaking now and no longer need to avoid situations.
The McGuire Programme has taught me to work hard, be courageous and to challenge myself – so now through sheer determination, and with the help of McGuire graduates and coaches, I am firmly on the road to Articulate Eloquence!!
I joined the McGuire Programme in November 2011 when I was 19. Before the Programme I was a very shy and quiet guy with no confidence in myself at all.
I was never able to tell jokes, tell stories or even ask people questions because I was always afraid of what people thought of my stammer and how they were quick to judge me.
I have gone through life relying on friends and family to order stuff, make my phone calls and finish off my words when I got stuck.
I constantly went through life thinking everyday about my stammer and the fear of going into every situation, worrying if my speech would hold up? I never liked this lifestyle because I was always holding back and wasn’t being my true self.
When I stared college it was a real turning point in my life.
I went through my first year holding back sitting down the back of the class and not putting my hand up to answer the question even though I knew the answers.
When I started being treated differently for having a stammer I said “enough is enough” and I had to do something about this.
Since coming off my first course in November 2011, I have never looked back. The course has given me a massive confidence boost and really changed my life for the better.
A massive weight has finally been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally do things that I was never able to do before.
Not only does the McGuire Programme teach you a technique to control your stammer, but it has also taught me valuable life skills that have made me an all round better person and there is now nothing that holds me back.
I never realised how much of a different person I was before joining the Programme compared to who I am now. I have finally been able to become the person I want to be!
With keeping a very active role within the Programme by being a coach and hopefully one day soon becoming a course instructor, it has helped me in my everyday life to becoming a strong speaker.
Having somehow got through several presentations in college between 1996 and 1999, I swore to myself that I would never put myself through another one again.
The fear and anxiety that I built up in myself in the days leading up to these presentations was quickly replaced by feelings of embarrassment and shame as I stood in front of the class and tried to speak.
After college I worked in finance for several years, but I knew that this career was never going to make me happy.
In 2007 I enquired about a nutritional therapy diploma. At the open day the first thing that came to my attention was a presentation at the end of the first year, which would be June 2008 if I enrolled in the course.
Alarm bells rang in my head and memories of previous presentations came back to haunt me, but I needed a change in career so I decided to go for it. As June 2008 came closer I applied to join the McGuire Programme.
Luckily there was a place left for the May 2008 course. After 3 days on this course I actually believed that I could make my presentation in 4 weeks time.
In the days leading up to the presentation the feelings of fear and anxiety returned, but this time I had the support of the McGuire Programme to lean on. I used what I had learned from the McGuire Programme for my presentation and it went really well.
Instead of wanting to get it over with I stood in front of my class and took it all in. For 15 minutes I spoke eloquently and enjoyed the experience.
From that day to this one I have made more presentations in college and work and have spoken at a friend’s wedding. The fear is manageable now.