The Speaker's speech: How therapy helped Geoff Regan find his voice.

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When Geoff Regan was chosen as the Speaker of the House of Commons, he became the first Member of Parliament from Atlantic Canada to assume the position in nearly a century.

And while that feat is impressive in and of itself, what makes Regan’s story remarkable is that he grew up with a speech impediment.

“I was trying to get ideas out in a hurry sometimes, and too much of a hurry, and had a difficult time slowing down my speech enough to be understood,” Regan says.

Regan comes from a large family, and happens to be the son of Gerald Regan, a former premier of Nova Scotia. And while his father made a career out of public speaking, Regan often struggled with his words.

“Speaking seemed like such a simple thing for everybody else,” his sister Nancy recalls. “It just didn’t come out for him. It didn’t come naturally. It was a constant battle.”

Regan fought with his speech into his early twenties, and it became a growing source of frustration as he began to develop political aspirations. “Of course it affects your self-esteem and your confidence,” he says.

Regan decided to do something about his problem, and eventually sought help from a speech clinic. Speech pathologist Joy Armson remembers Regan attending her clinic.

“There was a fair bit of rote practise, and as I remember, he was diligent about practising,”Armson says.

And that practise soon paid off, his sister Nancy remembers.

“You just sort of realize one day — oh! He’s not stuttering anymore,” she said. “I Remember that. He had a bad stutter and he doesn’t now.”

With files from CTV’s Ottawa Deputy Bureau Chief Laurie Graham

02/01/2016 22:00  By: CTVNews

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