Wednesday 21 February 2018

Social media campaign launched to help those struggling with a severe stammer

Jamie Coogan
Jamie Coogan
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG man has launched a social media campaign to persuade those struggling with a severe stammer to seek help.

Jamie Googan (24) from Cork admitted his life was transformed when he finally decided to seek help from the specialist McGuire Programme and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).

Incredibly, Jamie had battled a severe stutter for 20 years and, before he attended the CIT programme four years ago, couldn’t even speak his own name without difficulty.

Jamie was just five years old when he tripped, fell and hit his head.

The shock associated with this injury is believed to have been central to his developing a severe stammer.

“I was always wondering why other children would laugh at me when I tried desperately to pronounce my own name,” he said.

“It was very frustrating and upsetting. There were times when I would get very angry because I just could not get out what I wanted to say.”

Jamie suffered with the acute stammer for 20 years until he heard about the McGuire Programme and the work CIT was doing with it.

The programme is based on research done by Dave McGuire who, tortured by a lifetime of battling a severe stammer, decided at the age of 45 in 1994 to undertake research on possible treatment options.

He focused on the special ‘costal breathing’ technique used by opera singers.

When allied with a traditional psychological approach known as non-avoidance, he found major improvements could be achieved in

helping people with severe stutters.

The technique has since been refined by the use of sports psychology and special systems to help stammers avoid the freezing, distortion

and panic that can make a stutter much worse.

Dave McGuire’s stammer was profoundly reduced by the system which since adopted his name.

“The first time I was able to say my own name was during the McGuire Programme in August 2012,” Jamie said.

“I had a huge sense of pride – it was a huge step for me.”

“It was a fantastic achievement for me and gave me the confidence for so many other things.”

Jamie said he now wants other people suffering with a severe stammer to seek the help that is now available to them.

He has since graduated from CIT.

“Sometimes reaching out for help can be a tough pill to swallow. I think some people think that it is a bit like surrendering to the


“But there is no shame or embarrassment in reaching out and asking for help no matter what that problem is,” he said.

Online Editors

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