~ fansite for Gareth Gates


McGuire Programme and stammering



We don’t have to accept everything we’re given in life. Apathy stops us from moving forward. We do, however, have a choice. You make that choice. And you take ownership and responsibility of whatever decision you make. Because remember, only you can make a difference.Gareth Gates, Recovering stammerer. Extract from report, 19th August 2006.The first time the public became aware of Gareth was on Pop Idol when he had difficulty giving his name. Since then, Gareth has enrolled on the McGuire Programme, which has helped him to deal with many of the difficulties he has faced. Watch Gareth talk about his experiences of stammering and working to overcome this during a special episode of Tonight with Trevor McDonald from 2003.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Since that time, Gareth has continued to work very hard on his speech and has gone on to sit exams allowing him to become a speech coach for the McGuire Programme, and has progressed to Course Instructor, helping to lead a course last year in Swindon (read Michael Hay’s report and Gareth’s follow-up). Gareth lead another course in Galway during August 2006 and Bournemouth in November. More details, including Gareth’s full report (and a photo), are on the Irish McGuire website, in particular the weblog. The McGuire Programme provides techniques to overcome the speech blocks and challenging words.

For more information go to the McGuire Programme website, or that of the British Stammering Association.

Gareth’s attendance on such courses often causes a bit of a local stir, and resulting press coverage. Here are a couple of articles from the Stirling and Coventry courses.



Scotsman (click for article)


Local paper (click to make bigger)

We have a larger collection of articles and reports on the GPG Gareth Gates Forum relating to Gareth, his stammer and the McGuire Programme.


Key facts

The British Stammering Association (BSA) described The Gareth Effect whereby they noted that as he became famous and stammering became a common topic of conversation there was an increase in the number of people contacting them as they felt more comfortable and optimistic about seeking help.

* Stammering can take many forms including, repetitions of sounds, syllables or words, or of prolongations of sounds so that words seem to be stretched out. Speech may sound forced, tense or jerky. * There is no clear scientific explanation for the causes of stammering. Stammering is probably a combination of genetic, physical and psychological factors
* Stammering tends to run in families. You are twice as likely to stammer if one of your parents stammers. * Stammering and stuttering both mean the same thing. The word stammering is commonly used in the UK while the word stuttering is preferred in North America, Australia and New Zealand.
* It is common for those who stammer to be able to sing fluently. * Only 1 in 5 stammerers are women.
* Some people prefer the term Person Who Stutters as it is just one aspect of who they are.
* The British Stammering Association (BSA) estimate that 5% of children under the age of five will go through a phase of stammering at some stage in their speech and language development. The figure is redueced to 1% for adults. * Stammerers can be wrongly perceived as being of lower intelligence. By not speaking as much as their peers, a stammer can appear to know less. It can be enhanced as stammerers often resort to substituting difficult words for easier ones, even if it is less appropriate giving the impression the stammerer is confused.
* The effects of stammering vary according to the situation in which the person finds themselves, who they are talking to, how they are feeling and what they want to say. * Stammerers often find it very difficult to give their own name, so some have even resorted to having their name legally changed. Once changed, the stammerer may find the problems associated with their original name transferred to their new name.

* As well as Gareth, there are many famous people who have stammered to some degree, including

– Bruce Willis (actor)

– Carly Simon (singer)

– Claudius I (Roman Emperor)

– Isaac Newton (scientist)

– King George VI (Queen Dad)

– Lewis Caroll (author)

– Marilyn Munroe (actress)

– Rowan Atkinson (actor)

– Winston Churchill (Prime Minister)

The McGuire Programme, which Gareth follows, is just one therapy available. For more information about the many different therapies go to the website of the British Stammering Association.


Other sources of stammering information

In progress