Gareth opens the Gates for Stammerers
The BBC3 documentary Stop my Stutter, which aired on Monday 27th February 2012, was both thought provoking and inspiring .Read on to find out more.
Gareth opens the Gates for Stammerers
Since Gareth Gates was on Pop Idol ten years ago, he has not only taken control of his own stammer, but also worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the problem, and then go on to help others. The Programme on BBC3, entitled. Stop my Stutter took us behind the scenes, as a group of young people entered a house on a four day course, the aim was to show us just how intensive the course was, also to try and help them to master their stammer and to see the role that Gareth played as their instructor.
There is no-one who can relate better to a stammerer, than one who has been through the same sort of fears and insecurity that this problem causes. Indeed, Gareth, who recently gave a speech in the House of Commons, and then won an award from Giving Voice, is so grateful to have found his voice, that his enthusiasm to help others positively radiates out of his very soul.
The students were very nervous
Amongst the students in the house was Simon, who struggled to say his name at the beginning of the course.. He appeared earlier yesterday on ITVs This Morning with Gareth to promote the show. He proudly said his name, and explained that he had enrolled because he wanted to be able to say his wedding vows as he was soon to be married, and also he wanted to read his children a bedtime story. These are things that the rest of us take so much for granted, but for Simon, they meant the world.
There was a very emotional moment when he was asked what was the first thing he said after the course, and Simon said he told his fiancee he loved her. Holly Willoughby was visibly moved to tears, and I found myself welling up too.
There was also a nanny from Suffolk named Sarah, who really wanted to be a teacher, she was known as a covert stammerer, as certain words made her stammer, and she had learned to use others instead, in an effort to hide her condition. She had been told she would never be able to be a teacher because of her stammer, which had obviously lowered her self esteem. But Sarah wanted to prove them wrong.
Other students included Mohammed, a student and a young lad Rory, who so wanted to sing, and he explained that he had idolised Gareth Gates for 10 years, and wanted to follow his example. Those words came straight from his heart, and his determination to succeeed shone through. There was also Matthew who wanted to be an actor, also very determined to pursue his dream.
The First Day
The first day was all about encouraging the students to say their name. Gareth is a natural born instructor. He listens to his students problems with plenty of eye contact, he took control of the room with a strong but easy going manner, which immediately seemed to put them at ease.
He explained about the Mc Guire technique, which is a new way of breathing, and a different way of speaking. As a covert stammerer, Sarah found it the hardest to do, but at each step of her journey, when her confidence deserted her, Gareth was there to pick her up and encourage her to keep going to achieve her goal.
How comforting for the students to know that the person helping them has suffered the same agonies as them, and knows exactly how much it affects their mental state. Gareth's patience was rewarded, and to see the look of joy on the faces of the students, as they proudly said their name was very moving.
By the end of the course, the students had to give a presentation, and then go out in the street and speak to passers by. That is one of the hardest things to do, even if you don't have a stammer. People tend to walk by and not want to get involved. They don't stay long enough to hear what is said, and it was particularly frustrating for Sarah, who had more than her fair share of rejections.
Then finally it happened for her, somebody listened to her, and then someone else too, and with her new found confidence Sarah entered a shop and made her announcement. I found myself waiting with bated breath until a ripple of applause rang out for her, and I saw the joy on her face.
After we were shown just how much the course had changed their lives. for Simon, he could say his wedding vows, Sarah could pursue her ambition to be a teacher, Rory could continue to launch a singing career, Matthew may now become an actor, and Mohammed could speak to other students.
This documentary shows yet another side of Gareth. His empathy with the students, and the confident way he instructs his courses, offering both sensible advice, and support makes him an ideal leader. The rapport he had with his students, and their trust in him was evident, and for me this made the documentary well worth watching.
I would like to congratulate all the students for showing such courage in facing their fears, and wish them every success in their future life. I would also like to thank Gareth for inspiring people to improve their lives and achieve their dreams just like he has.
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