Chesterfield woman overcomes stammer challenges to help others find their voice

Cate Williams is training to become a McGuire coach.
Cate Williams is training to become a McGuire coach.

A Chesterfield woman who learned to control her stammer through an intensive programme is training as a coach on the scheme so she can help others overcome their speech hurdles.

Cate Williams has had a stammer since she was around three-years-old, but conquered challenges brought on by the condition to complete a degree in Biology and later emigrated to Australia.

While abroad, Cate enrolled on the McGuire programme, which improves stammering through the use of costal breathing, self-acceptance and other skills.

The emotionally-charged course, taught across the globe, can be tiring and Cate admits she’s ‘had a few breaks’- but since returning to Chesterfied two years ago she was inspired to give it another whirl.

Cate has now graduated and is training as a McGuire coach. She said: “The programme is not a cure, it’s a technique which helps people to control their stammer and go on to become eloquent and articulate speakers.

“Probably the most daunting requirement of the course is when you are challenged to walk into a busy area and speak to 100 strangers.

“I am the crazy who’ll talk to anyone on the train, but it can be difficult for other people and I want to help them tackle that.

“I’ve gone through it myself and can appreciate their struggles. At school, I remember being sat in reading lessons and dreading my turn.

“But I got on with things and I can say that the McGuire programme is absolutely worth it. I want to prove to others there’s no reason why you can’t travel, or go to University or land your dream job if you have a stammer.”

In light of International Stuttering Awareness Day, on October 22, Cate has some pointers for anyone who might be approached by a stammerer on the McGuire programme:

1) Have patience

2) Keep eye contact

3) Don’t interrupt

4) Don’t try to finish sentences for the other person

5) It could help to talk slowly, but not in a patronising way

6) Don’t ask if there is anyone else you can speak to

For more information on the programme visit: www.mcguireprogramme.com