Speaking of confidence
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.
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.