A young man has managed to turn his life around after tackling his speech problem.
For years, John Dean has struggled with a crippling stammer, making it hard for him to move forward with his life.
Now, after taking part in a programme specifically designed to teach people how to control their speech impediments, John is now enjoying life to the full, including clinching his first job.
John, who lives in Peterlee’s Beverley Way, said he was about the age of 11 when his stammer began to become noticeable and things just got worse.
The 22-year-old, a former pupil at The Academy at Shotton Hall, said: “At school my life was really hard with my stammer, because it was humiliating trying to speak.
“I wouldn’t put my hand up in a lesson to answer a question or ask a question in a lesson.
“If I ever had to do a presentation in a lesson or in assembly I’d panic and ask someone else to do it for me, and I did performing arts as well at school and I’d always worry about stammering whilst performing and I even took a word out of my lines because I couldn’t say it.
“If I was ever in a shop and couldn’t find something, I’d spend ages looking for it because I knew there was a chance I’d stammer whilst asking, I would also panic when making phone calls or answering calls, especially to strangers.”
John wanted to get a job in retail when he left education, but said he was too worried about people not being able to understand him at an interview that he couldn’t bring himself to apply.
However, John’s life changed when he discovered The McGuire Programme, where he spent two weeks on a residential course being taught how to control his stammer.
He said: “It was really hard work, but well worth it. You can’t cure a stammer, but it is possible to control it.”
John has now gone on to land a job at Mission Foods in Seaham and he also helps out at a meeting group for other sufferers.