Williamwood High School teacher gives words of encouragement ahead of International Stammer Day

Adam fought a stammer to become a teacher
Adam fought a stammer to become a teacher

A Williamwood High School teacher is encouraging people to just be themselves ahead of International Stuttering Awareness Day on October 22.

Adam Black BEM, from Eaglesham, is using his own experiences living with a stutter to ensure that fellow sufferers, and particularly youngsters with the disability, can feel confident and never give up on their aspirations.

Adam received his BEM at a special ceremony in August this year.

Adam received his BEM at a special ceremony in August this year.

Adam enrolled on the intensive McGuire programme therapy course in March 2007, which focuses on a different way of breathing when speaking, which allowed him to get his stutter under control and pursue a teaching career.

Adam used to teach at Eastmuir Primary School, but began working at Williamwood High School in August this year.

He said: “I work in Communication Support, which supports pupils who are on the autism spectrum. I teach the core subjects such as English and maths, as well as life skills on the curriculum.

“It’s a change from my last job were there was 30 children and now there are 1800. It’s definitely a culture shock but I love it. All the children are great and really happy. It’s a great school.”

Since 2008, Adam has been running a support group where people in similar situations can share their experiences and work on ways of coping with their disability, and has recently worked with BBC’s The Social to produce a short film to normalise stammering and raise further awareness.

The hard work that Adam has put in to raise awareness of stammering has not gone unnoticed.

He was awarded an British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services which he received at a special ceremony in August at East Renfrewshire Council Headquarters.

“It was a big bolt from the blue!” Adam said. “It was a real shock and I had mixed emotions about the award. I was a bit embarrassed but it was also equally lovely. It was great for my family who have seen my grow up with the stammer. I never thought it would ever lead to a good thing! It was also lovely to know that someone took the time to nominate me as well.”

And as the annual International Stammering Awareness Day approaches, Adam is once again aiming to raise the profile of the speech disorder.

“What I say to people with a stammer when I meet them is that they are not alone,” he explained. “They might feel that they are but they’re not – there is support there. I’m a big champion for people just being themselves. I know that when I started excepting my stammer and was just myself, my life got better and I was much happier.”