Gareth Gates featured on ITV 1 on This Morning heightening awareness of stammering and the McGuire programme. He spoke about “Stop My Stutter” a documentary which he filmed in Birmingham on a McGuire course in November. Stop my Stutter looks at how five young adults try to reverse this, as they make the first few steps to trying to control it.
Gareth Gates also grew up with a stammer and knows that The McGuire Programme course has changed his life forever. He felt that it was time to give something back !!
The programme was amazing and resulted in “Stop my Stutter ” trending and “Gareth Gates” trending on Twitter for the second time today. I love Gareth Gates’s honesty and sincerity. He genuinely cared about the students progress. The students were Sarah, Mohammed, Matthew, Simon and Rory the documentary followed their journey over a time space of 4 days where Gareth Gates (who is a speech coach for the McGuire programme) aimed to give them a voice.
At the end of the course they had to face an audience and give a presentation. It was Gareth’s challenging task to enable them to do this and transform their lives forever.
Simon is a dad and has had a severe stammer his whole life he was due to get married and wanted to be able to say his wedding vows! He struggled with simple tasks as a parent such as reading his children bedtime stories as it would take him so much longer.
25-year-old Sarah wanted to become a nanny but felt like her stammer was holding her back massively, often choosing new words to avoid ones which she would stumble over. As a nanny she worked with children every day but wanted to become a teacher.
Mohammed is a university student studying physiotherapy his main problem was not being able to speak to clients as efficiently as he’d like to which was an essential part of the job. Not being able to do this may force him to have to change his career or his clients thinking that he was unsure on what he was talking about.
Like Gareth Gates Rory is a talented musician and doesn’t stammer when he sings as he develops a different persona. He wanted to make singing a career.
Matthew was a professional model and had to pose for artists. He had been modelling for 8 years. For him finding a job where his body could do the talking was a revelation !! Matthews lack of confidence would hold him back with his modelling.
The first step was to teach the students a new and more powerful way of breathing. They wore belts around their chests so that they were aware of the ‘costal breathing’ technique. Gareth believed that if they could master the technique then they could all tackle their stammers. It was all about gaining control. They weren’t allowed to speak AT ALL so that they could get used to the new breathing technique first. Gareth stated that stammerer’s often avoid certain words. For example as a child he struggled to say the name of his school and he’d reply “Oh I can’t remember” rather failing to say the name and avoiding the humiliation.
Next it was all about sounds and learning to say every sound and getting rid of any negative associations. The students were videoed and had to say their name in front of a new camera. For the rest of the course Gareth made them put the new breathing technique into place constantly.
Day 2 showed them trying to speak in a controlled way. It was mechanical at first, slow and almost snail like. Simon seemed to struggle in particular on that day. Sarah is a covert stammerer (she hides her stammer) Gareth took her to one side and gave her some extra speech coaching as she couldn’t get her head around speaking mechanically.
The final session of that day focused on facing the fear of phone calls head on. Matthew avoided making phone calls at all costs. Gareth forced him to make one. He coped quite well.
Gareth stated that speaking in a room was a comfort zone for them. He and it was time to push themselves that extra mile forcing them to go out on the streets and speak to 100 members of the general public !! He stated that it was their “moment to shine” this was a nerve-wracking day. I was quite shocked some people are SO rude. I felt heart-broken when Mohammed was trying to speak and they shouted “You can’t even talk man!!” how disrespectful ! People kept ignoring Matthew and he found it hard to deal with. Rory did really well and really pushed himself. Simon was flying there was no stopping him he had really found his confidence. Mohammed was crafty he literally had a line of people and said “Hello Mohammed Shafi nice to meet you” to all of them ! He really beamed and his confidence was improved every time.
Sarah was still battling her nerves and became quite emotional at one point. It made me laugh when Gareth said “Don’t give a SHIT what anybody says it’s about you now okay ! and its about you overcoming this so don’t care what people think the task is for you okay! ” he told her to believe in herself! I think the pep talk did her some good. She finally plucked up courage and introduced herself to new people and made Gareth proud! once she leapt over the first hurdle there was no stopping her. She went on to announce herself to a whole shop WOW !!
Day 4 the FINAL Day !!
On this last day they had to make a speech to their family. The pressure became too much for Sarah, she broke down and cried. Another pep talk from Gareth really helped her and reminded her that it was the start of a long process. The audience were waiting for the speeches to start. They were all amazing and delivered their speeches confidently and fluently using the techniques that Gareth had taught them ! It was incredible to see the difference-wow ! Sarah was the most nervous and I’d say her speech still has the longest way to go out of the group.
Four Weeks later
It had been a month since the course. Simon was able to successfully read his children a bed time story ! Mohammed had a renewed self-esteem on duty with his University football team. Rory was more confident at school his friends saying that he sounded much more confident and seemed happier in himself. Matthew was pursuing his dream as an actor and attended acting classes and Gareth Gates went along to one to offer some moral support. As Sarah had found the course the most challenging I was intrigued to see how she had got on. On the day that Gareth met up with her he observed her teaching a class of children and reading them a story, she seemed relaxed and was a natural. As a confidence boost he showed her footage of her speech before she began the programme and made her realise that she can achieve fluency with some hard work.
Now its all about perseverance and putting in the needed work. I wish them all the best for the future and hope they succeed!!
A few further links :
Twitter : @Gareth_Gates