A teenager from Upminster, who overcame his own stammer, is now going to help teach others.
16-year-old Callum Wells has lived with a “covert stammer” his entire life. Growing up, he had to make constant efforts to avoid stammering and situations which might induce it.
“It was very exhausting, my mind was constantly alert for these situations and I would even avoid saying certain words,” he said.
“I remember sitting in class with the feeling of dread the whole time that the teacher might pick me to speak in front of someone.”
According to Callum, it is common for a stammerer to struggle saying their own name which can cause a lot of confusion for their friends and family.
“I didn’t know anyone else with a stammer and I was afraid people wouldn’t understand.
“When you’re in school there’s so much pressure to be like everyone else and fit in. I didn’t think I would if I had a stammer.”
There is no cure for the speech impediment but there are multiple ways people can learn to control it.
In March last year, Callum joined the McGuire Programme which runs a course helping people overcome their difficulties all over the country.
And now he is helping others to overcome both the physical and mental aspects of their speech impairment.
“I was taught a new way to breathe and speak,” he added. “It teaches you how to be assertive and speak publicly.
“It also helped with my self acceptance as many people didn’t even know I had one.”
Soon he’ll begin his training to become a staff mentor or coach and said: “I really love seeing the development from a shy stammerer to them speaking publicly in school.”
As a child, he had a speech therapist and tried hypnotherapy but neither of them had the same impact.
It’s not a “quick fix,” however, and Callum still works on his speech every day.
The programme has attracted a community of “amazing people” that are always willing to help.
One in 100 people have a stammer and he has also written to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, because he believes “the stigma of stammering needs to be tackled and people need to be educated.”
You can hear more from Callum in the news on Time 107.5 from 7am tomorrow (Monday, 21 January).