A man from the Scottish Borders is highlighting the challenges of living with a stammer.

Alan Olive has lived with the condition his whole life, and is now speaking out about the struggles it has created over the years to mark International Stuttering Awareness Day.

What is a stammer?

Someone who stammers will repeat, prolong or get stuck on sounds or words. It is uncontrollable and can often lead to speech being repeated.

Like other neurological conditions, it covers a spectrum. Everyone stammers differently and to different degrees, according to the British Stammering Association.


people have a stammer in the UK.

Stamma says it is more common in children and young adults. Around 8% will stammer at some point, but most will go on to talk with no problem as they grow up.

The term is largely used in the UK, and elsewhere in the world the expression used is stuttering

They say: "Physically, stammering can be deeply frustrating, but the main problem, time and again, is other people's responses."

In the past, Alan says his stammer has held him back. Credit: ITV Border

Alan says there have been many times when the condition has held him back.

Speaking about his childhood, he said: " The teacher would say we're going to do an English reading assignment were going to take a paragraph each, and we'll go around the class one by one and I can always remember the fear of looking at when's my turn?

He continues, "from then on in that's when my avoidance started my reserved nature, I was the quiet one in the class but I wasn't really I wanted to show who I was really".

It wasn't until a trip to Australia left him feeling isolated that Alan reached out for help from a course called the McGuire Programme - which focuses on helping people overcome their stammer.

"It's about using techniques called deliberate disfluency where we stammer on purpose on words that we found tricky so we don't let the stammer control me we control the stammer", Alan said.

More than a decade of help from the course, gave Alan the confidence to pursue his passions.

In 2013, Musharaf 'Mushy' Asghar, who featured on the Channel 4 show Educating Yorkshire, overcame his stammer.

The clip has been watched by millions of people across the world, and now 'Mushy' is a motivational speaker.

For more information on stammer support contact: