Speak­ing of con­fi­dence

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By TAO LIN

Fear came hand-in-hand with speak­ing for most of Kane Brick­ell’s life.

But now the 24-yearold has taken con­trol of his stut­ter through the McGuire Pro­gramme and is men­tor­ing oth­ers.

He has stut­tered for as long as he can re­mem­ber, but the teas­ing and sub­se­quent fear of talk­ing only be­gan when he got older.

Kane is a covert stut­terer, which means he does all he can to hide it.

He does this by avoid­ing or chang­ing words around in his sen­tences as he talks or by choos­ing to avoid talk­ing al­to­gether.

‘‘When you spend your whole life in fear of peo­ple teas­ing you be­cause of what you sound like, your mind tells you that you should not talk to peo­ple,’’ he says.

Kane went through speech ther­apy as a child but it didn’t work for him.

When he heard about the McGuire Pro­gramme he didn’t en­rol straight away.

He says this meant he would have to ‘‘ex­pose him­self to the fact that he has a bad prob­lem’’.

Kane did the pro­gramme in Syd­ney be­cause there was no course run­ning in Auck­land at the time.

The four-day in­ten­sive course teaches phys­i­cal tech­niques such as breath­ing and how to speak, as well as ways to over­come fear and anx­i­ety linked with speak­ing.

Stu­dents are re­quired to give a speech in pub­lic at the end of the four days.

Af­ter the course par- tic­i­pants have ac­cess to a sup­port sys­tem that al­lows them to con­tact a men­tor or a coach and they are wel­come to at­tend as many re­fresher cour­ses as they wish.

Kane’s mum Julie Brick­ell says the pub­lic speech was emo­tional for ev­ery­one.

‘‘We knew how much work they put in,’’ she says.

‘‘It was just a re­ally mov­ing mo­ment watch­ing the trans­for­ma­tion.’’

Ms Brick­ell says it took two years to con­vince her son to do the course but it has re­ally paid off.

‘‘He’s a lot more con­fi­dent than he was,’’ she says. ‘‘He will go out and not be afraid to speak.’’

She says he is thriv­ing at Unitec where he is get­ting par­tic­u­larly good marks for his pre­sen­ta­tions and is show­ing parts of his per­son­al­ity he never did be­fore.

‘‘He has a lot to con­trib­ute. He’s re­ally good with peo­ple and re­ally good with kids,’’ she ex­plains.

‘‘You can’t put a price on the free­dom it’s given him.’’

Re­gional di­rec­tor Rob Wool­ley says the McGuire Pro­gramme is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity world­wide and the next Auck­land course in De­cem­ber is al­ready booked out.

Photo: TAO LIN

Fear­less: Kane Brick­ell, 24, and his mum Julie are both stut­ter­ers who have com­pleted the McGuire Pro­gramme. Kane says he has over­come his fear of speak­ing to peo­ple and is achiev­ing things he never would have be­fore.

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