Westmont Magazine Student Speaks Up for Stutterers
Madison Garcia ’09 refused to admit she had a stuttering problem. The speech disorder came and went. She finally went to see a speech therapist as a junior in high school. “I only have difficulty in certain situations,” she says. “But I struggled with denial for years and years.”
Coming to terms with the disability was the most difficult thing she has ever done. Now she wants to help others with the same problem.
The political science major has started the first fully established and chartered Santa Barbara chapter of the National Stuttering Association. The group meets once a month on campus, and the public is welcome to attend.
“My goal and mission is to let people know that it’s OK to stutter,” she says. “Otherwise, they will make their life so difficult. It just corrodes you from the inside out to feel that you’re not good enough or that you need to overcompensate or that you are constantly not reaching the bar. It really kills your spirit and diminishes you.
“The chapter is a place of support and encouragement and letting people know that we’re here for them.”
Garcia grew up in Alhambra, Calif., and hopes to work in international politics and internationally as a disability advocate.