Jamie Googan; Stutterer – “My dream is now my reality.”

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Jamie Googan: Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Sport and Exercise Graduate

– “My dream is now my reality.”

As a child growing up with a severe stammer (stutter / stottern), I always wondered why I spoke in a different way from other students and why they would laugh at me when I tried desperately to pronounce my own name. I was always self-conscious of my speech, and what I was going to say. One of my biggest emotional struggles came from growing up without being able to say my own name without stammering. I always had a dream of becoming an eloquent public speaker, I just didn’t know how.

When I got accepted into CIT I was both delighted and nervous. I always had a passion for sport and exercise from training Martial Arts, and knew the course was for me. My second class in college was an icebreaker session and we had to stand up and introduce ourselves, I stammered profusely on my own name and the whole room laughed.

I always found it challenging to reach out and ask for support until I met with Ruth Murphy from the Disability Support Service (DSS). As I am also challenged by dyslexia, Ruth advised me of all of the supports available such as extra time, separate room for exams, and Assistive Technology.

The Access Service introduced me to a student called Shane O’Sullivan who also has a stammer (stutter / stutter). During our very first meeting he said “we who stammer support each other” and I never forgot it. We became very close friends and even lived together for two years during college. Having a culture of student support is what makes CIT so unique.

I heard about a programme which supports people who stammer (stutter / stutter), called the McGuire Programme on The Late Late Show on 06. June 2008. For the first time in my life I could relate to people who had the same problem as I had.

I knew that I was no longer alone. My first presentation in college was supposed to last five minutes, but it lasted twenty minutes and from that embarrassing experience I finally decided to join the McGuire Programme in Galway in August 2012. For the first time in my life, I found joy in speaking and communicating with others. With my new found voice the lecturers in the Department of Sport,

For the first time in my life, I found joy in speaking and communicating with others.

Leisure and Childhood studies Noel Collins and Cian O’Neill gave me every opportunity to practice my speech by reading out loud, to giving presentations at the start of class, and really wanted me to succeed.

I graduated from CIT with a Bachelor of Business (Honours) in Sport and Exercise in 2015, and during my time I availed of many supports from the Access Service that played a vital role in my recovery from stammering and achieving my degree. CIT Access Service has one of only thirteen Assistive Technology Labs in the country where I availed of supports from Mark Burleigh, the Assistive Technology Officer, such as Mind Manager, Ginger Online Proofreading Software, Read and Write Gold, and a place where I could practice my presentation skills. What makes Assistive Technology so good is that you can use it at home and in the workplace.

jamie-access

Some of my best experiences in CIT was being involved in the Martial Arts and Swimming societies where I met loads of new friends from different backgrounds and studies, with the same interests.

I am currently employed by the CIT Access Service where I support various Access initiatives and help other students to be the best that they can be. One of my proudest speaking moments was representing the Access Service at the launch of the National Plan for Access and Equality 2015-2019.

By pushing myself to speak in challenging situations I found myself slowly breaking down the mentality of stammering and doing what I thought was once impossible. I never thought I would make it this far and be in the position that I
am. With the right support network and fantastic support from family and friends you can achieve anything you want, just believe in yourself. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for support. My dream is becoming my reality.

A copy of the CIT publication ‘Access- The Student Voice’ is available in PDF format here.