Top Glasgow teacher who found his voice hopes others will too

AN UPCOMING television documentary has hit close to home for an Eaglesham man.

Adam Black, a stammer sufferer who found his voice to become a teacher, can’t wait to watch School for Stammerers and hopes other viewers will tune in too.

He said: “I think the documentary is a great idea.

“Stammering is only prominent in one per cent of the population and documentaries like this help raise awareness for the 99 per cent. It can only be a good thing.”

The one-off production will follow the emotional journey of six individuals as they attempt to achieve the one thing that could change their lives – control of their stammer. A lorry driver, teacher, pharmacist, professional photographer and two schoolboys will be shown undergoing the McGuire Programme – which aims to transform their speech.

The McGuire Programme is an intensive and emotionally-charged residential course run by former stammerers. The course uses physical and psychological techniques and can lead to life-changing results.

Adam, who turned his life around using the programme, said: “It deals with both the physical and psychological aspects of stammering and the onus is on hard work and ownership of your stammer. Rather than hide from it – as I did for years – you face it head on.

“I’ve been involved with the McGuire Programme for 11 years and love going back to help others. Advice is a form of nostalgia and I like to pass on any hints or tips that have helped me along the way.

“The McGuire Programme is all about a community of support and it tries to leave egos at the door. We are all here with the same issue and will work together to tackle that.”

The 28-year-old found it tough growing up with a stammer as he felt he couldn’t be who he really was.

He said: “It shaped my choices based on if I thought I could communicate or not. I wouldn’t answer questions in class as I was afraid of stammering, I wouldn’t approach new people or introduce myself at parties. It is known as a hidden disability as people don’t see all these negative feelings associated with stammering.”

Years of speech therapy and elocution lessons did little to help his stammer – and at one point he gave up all hope of fulfilling a dream to become a teacher. However after successfully completing the intensive McGuire Programme, Adam found the confidence to go for it.

Now a teacher at Eastmuir Primary in Balornock, he said: “Now I get a real buzz out of speaking. I have to work hard to maintain eloquent speech, but I can honestly say that my stammer doesn’t hold me back now. In fact, I now seek opportunities to speak which allows me to practice and improve.”

Adam, who wants to teach to help improve the lives of young people, uses the experience of living with a hidden disability to his advantage.

Adam added: “My message to people or children with stammers or other conditions would be to embrace your quirk as it makes you who you are.

“The sooner I did that, I started to love my life.”

School for Stammerers will be shown on STV at 9pm this Tuesday, January 9.

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