America’s Got Talent contestant shines light on stuttering

Why a stutter can go away while singing

A contestant on America’s Got Talent, Amanda Mammana, gave an emotional audition for the show when she sang a song she wrote herself.

It wasn’t just the lyrics that moved the audience, it was how Mammana admitted to struggling with a speech impediment. She stutters, but the stutter goes away when she sings.

Houston speech pathologist, Kathy Swiney, a board-certified specialist in the treatment of stuttering, said speaking and singing come from different parts of the brain.

“You don’t create your song when you step up on the stage, so, you have practiced it. It is on the creative side of the brain that feeds into smoother speech,” Swiney explained.

Swiney said memorized words, pretending to be someone else, and singing may all help a stutter to disappear while participating in one of those activities.

Famous people who stutter

  • Bruce Willis
  • George Springer
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Emily Blunt
  • Steve Harvey
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Joe Biden
  • Mel Tillis

Advice for people who stutter

  • Swiney said it’s best to ease into a sentence by sounding out the first letter.
  • She also said well-intentioned people should also avoid encouraging someone to slow down. Swiney suggests giving time and being patient as better support for people who stutter.
  • Swiney says her patients are most successful in high-stress situations like a job interview or audition when they tell the person they have a speech impediment. She said it doesn’t matter whether a person is open from the beginning or works it into the conversation, the results are most often successful when honest.