Paramedic invites stammer sufferers to open day
John encourages others to learn how to manage the condition
Inspirational NEAS paramedic John O'Neill has overcome
a crippling stammer which he has suffered from since being child to
land his dream job of becoming a paramedic.
John O'Neill, from Hartlepool, did not believe that he would
ever be able to carry out his dream of becoming an emergency
response ambulance paramedic due to his severe speech impediment
which he has suffered from since he was a young boy.
But after being given an opportunity to become an ambulance
driver when he was 22-years-old, despite not being able to speak
properly in his interview for the job, the father-of-three was
determined to overcome his demon.
He embarked upon a course called The McGuire Programme which
works on the neurological and psychological aspects of stammering,
and his impediment improved no end.
So much so that when he was 30-years-old, he won himself a job
as a paramedic for the North East Ambulance Service for which he
drives a rapid response vehicles and is often first on the scene at
John, said: "To be perfectly honest, prior to the course I had
no chance of becoming a paramedic while my speech was like
"I'd probably still be doing patient transport. I've never
really wanted to do anything else though so I knew I had to do it
and I'm so glad I did."
He added: "One of the reasons why I wanted to be a paramedic is
because my gran had suffered a fall. I just knew it was what I
wanted to do.
"I'm still actually really surprised I got the job as an
ambulance driver though because I thought I'd blown it in the
"I stammered all the way through and I could barely say a word.
I'm just grateful that the interviewer saw something in me though
and gave me the job."
John, who has now become an organiser for The McGuire Programme,
in Newcastle, to help others with speech problems, had tried
different kinds of speech therapy and even hypnotherapy to try to
cure his speech but nothing worked.
He said: "I joined the programme in 1998 and its quite an
intensive course, it gets really drilled into you and I can now say
that as long as I use the techniques I was taught, I don't
Anyone who would like any further information on The McGuire
Programme should log onto www.mcguireprogramme.com