A Corkman who overcame a debilitating stammer to become a confident public speaker wants to help others do the same.
Since he was five years old, Jamie Googan has struggled with a stammer: “Growing up, I always wondered why other people would laugh at me when I tried desperately to pronounce my own name or any other words,” he said.
“I suppose that one of the biggest things for me when I was growing up was I have never met anyone else had a stammer, so there was always that feeling of isolation there,” Jamie added.
As he grew older, Jamie said the stammer got progressively worse, to such an extent that saying his own name became impossible.
When he was 16, Jamie saw an interview with Pop Idol singer Gareth Gates, who overcame his stammer through taking part in a method which helps people with speech impediments called the Maguire Programme.
However, it took Jamie four more years to build up the courage to take the course, when he says he hit “breaking point” when he went on to third level education in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
“So my first presentation inside here in CIT was supposed to last five minutes, but it lasted a lot longer and I left that room with a lot of shame and embarrassment and guilt. I think that was my breaking point where I knew that I had to make that phone call and reach out and ask for help,” he told Ireland Live News.
Help was also at hand from the Cork Institute of Technology’s Access programme, which helps students with challenges or difficulties they may face.
Head of Department of Sport, Leisure, and Childhood Studies at CIT, Dr Cian O’Neill said the facilities available to Jamie were key: “There’s a huge assisted learning centre, and it’s quite a technology-based centre here in CIT and it’s one of only 13 in the country. I know that Jamie really would have got a lot of benefit from that.”
Jamie graduated from Cork Institute of Technology with an honours degree in Sports and Exercise, and now works at CIT.
He hopes his story will give others the confidence to seek support they may be in need of: “I’m in control of my speech, and it’s changed my life forever,” he said.
Story by UTV Ireland Staff, Dublin – Original Article Featured in UTV Ireland