Accent ModificationAccents are not a communication disorder, but a difference. In fact, speech therapy to improve accent is not really therapy. It is elective and people can choose to change their accent. For some people an accent can make it difficult to be understood. Accent modification therapy can help a person modify their accent and increase their communication confidence. Speech therapists are particularly equipped in speech therapy accent reduction because they are trained in how to help people correct the way they say sounds of a language (articulation). People speak in a variety of ways for a number of reasons. Some are from various sections of the country and have “carryover” aspects of their native tongue. Accents vary even among native speakers from various sections of the nation. We should all be proud of our accents, which typically represent our socioeconomic, cultural, and geographic heritage. Children tend to have an easier time picking up the accent when learning a second language. This might be because of the brain’s neuroplasticity before puberty rather than later. Accents, on the other hand, might make it difficult for certain people to understand what they’re saying. They may struggle to be understood by others, disrupting the natural flow of discourse and limiting their capacity to communicate effectively. People with accents frequently believe that listeners are more focused on the accent than on the content they’re attempting to express. This may be a difficult situation that has an impact on a person’s personal and professional lives. If you’re thinking about accent modification therapy, educating yourself can help you make the most informed treatment decisions. The speech therapists, or in this case speech coaches, put together this information guide to provide an overview of accents, answer common questions about accent modification, and describe how speech therapy to improve accent can help. We’ve included information on:
- What is an accent?
- Why do people choose speech therapy to improve accent?
- How can speech therapy help accent reduction?
- How do speech therapists evaluate your accent?
- What is accent modification therapy like?
- What are the benefits of online speech therapy for accent modification?
What is an Accent?Different languages have their own unique sound systems. They include how vowels and consonants are used and pronounced, the rhythm and intonation of oral communication, and which sounds occur at the beginning or end of words. When someone learns a new language, these features don’t always carry over. Understanding the key features of your accent, and helping to mitigate its unwanted effects, is the goal of accent reduction or modification. While many factors can influence how you speak, accents are commonly grouped by:
- Accents of National Origin: These types of accents are more common in non-native English speakers who learned English as a second language. For example, someone who only speaks English will often sound differently than someone who was born in Italy and learned English later in life.
- Regional Accents: There are parts of the country commonly associated with having stronger accents. Think New York, Texas, Boston, and other areas. Some people who move from state-to-state choose to modify how they sound.
Why do People Choose Speech Therapy to Improve Accent?There are many reasons why people elect to reduce or modify their accents. These can include:
- Difficulty being understood by others
- Frequently having to repeat yourself
- Listeners’ negative attitude towards your accent
- Attention being focused towards your accent versus the message you’re trying to communicate
- Learned English as a second language
- Want to change or reduce their regional accent
- Have a desire to articulate more clearly and improve their intelligibility in school or work
- Need to develop a new accent (e.g., actors performing in a new play or movie role)
How Can Speech Therapy Help Accent Reduction?Without professional assistance from a native speaker, it can be difficult to self-identify and improve sounds, phrases, and speech patterns inherent to your accent. Many individuals who choose to reduce or modify their accent seek speech therapy services. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), also referred to as speech therapists, are communication experts. They are qualified to evaluate your accent, and provide coaching and instruction to help improve your communication skills. For example, they’ll help you better understand the mechanics of your speech and how to adjust your pronunciation. They may instruct you on tongue placement or muscle memory that could be affecting your speech sounds. And if you don’t have a chance to speak English often in your daily life, they’ll help you practice your conversational skills. In most cases, it’s not realistic to expect that your accent will be completely eliminated, or that you’ll sound exactly like a native English speaker. However, speech therapy can help increase your intelligibility so you can be better understood by others. Improving your communication can also relieve the burden brought on by your accent so it’s less of a distraction during everyday interactions.
How Do Speech Therapists Evaluate Your Accent?When beginning accent modification therapy, your speech therapist will start by comprehensively evaluating your accent and speech patterns. They’ll ask you to produce different sounds and read words and sentences out loud to develop a better understanding of:
- How you produce different sounds
- The rhythm and intonation of your speech
- How you sound in conversation
- How your accent impacts your daily life
- Your overall intelligibility
- The languages you speak
- Age in which you learned new languages
- Where these languages were learned (e.g., school, home, community)
- Length each language has been spoken
- Which languages are used at home, work, or socially
What is Accent Modification Therapy Like?Depending on your evaluation and communication goals, there are many different techniques your speech therapist may use to modify your accent. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), some of these strategies include:
- Listening and Imitating: Your speech therapist may have you practice repetition of certain sounds or words
- Phonetic Training: This refers to an individual’s ability to recognize and produce certain sounds
- Minimal Pair Drill: This is the ability to isolate and differentiate between similar sounds
- Visual Aids: There are a number of visual aids, such as pictures, mirrors, or chats, that can help with the proper pronunciation of sounds
- Tongue Twisters: Repeating phrases that have similar and successive sounds
- Reading: Practicing reading words or text aloud
- Recording Speech: Your speech therapist may record, or ask you to record, your speech patterns so you can clearly hear yourself speaking and provide feedback
- Practicing Vowels: Improving how you pronounce and put stress on different vowels
- Auditory Description: This strategy focuses on your ability to recognize, differentiate, and isolate between separate sounds
What are the Benefits of Online Speech Therapy for Accent Modification?Accent modification therapy online is an effective alternative to more traditional, in-person settings. Instead of meeting with your speech therapist in person, you connect with them virtually through video chat. While you’ll continue to receive the same quality of care, online speech therapy is often much more affordable. Additionally, many individuals who elect to modify their accent do so for professional or educational reasons. Many people have busy working or academic lives, not to mention family responsibilities, which can make commuting to your speech therapist in the middle of the week very inconvenient. This is one of the greatest advantages of accent modification therapy online. Not only can you meet with a qualified speech therapist at the click of a button, and from the comfort of your home, but you can schedule sessions around your busy life – mornings, evenings, or weekends. No longer are you beholden to the limited business hours of many traditional speech therapy clinics.
How Can Therapy Works Together Evaluate and Treat All Ages Online?Therapy Works Together helps families connect online with a licensed and certified speech therapist that is a trained expert in diagnosing and treating a variety of speech, language and communication issues. Speech therapy is delivered online at home with video conferencing applications. The age of our clients as well as their diagnosis and goals is important in determining how speech therapy online will be delivered. Speech therapy for babies and toddlers: For kids age 0-3, we usually work on early communication skills like joint attention, social communication, or increasing language skills in late talking toddlers. Parents work with their assigned speech language pathologist, usually in a parent coaching model, to learn tips and strategies that speech therapists use so they can be adept at practicing teaching their child after the session is over and at home. You can read more here about how important it is for parents to be involved in their child’s speech therapy at home. Speech therapy for preschoolers: For kids age 3-6, speech therapists target age appropriate articulation, language delays, reading readiness and more. Parents join in for online video sessions with the child so that both learn the speech strategies and skills from the speech therapist. Learning how to use these skills after the session helps kids improve. Speech therapy for school age kids: for children age 7 and up, speech therapists might work on academic skills, increasing vocabulary, social skills for kids with autism, stuttering and more. Children this age can come to online video sessions on their own. Our speech therapists keep parents informed by sharing tips and homework. Speech therapy for adults: Adults attend speech therapy sessions online after becoming stroke patients, for stuttering, for accent modification and more. They come to sessions on their own from the comfort of their home or office. Often, they bring a caregiver or family members to learn strategies if they will need help communicating with others.
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As high as $250/Session
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Online sessions from home, office, school
Usually 9-5, commute required
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|Convenient to attend|
|Scheduling is easy & flelxible|
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