I have been a Speech-Language Pathologist for 40 years. I practiced in the schools for 35 of those years, working with a variety of students and disabilities from age 3 up to age 21. My specialty was articulation (speech sound production) for all ages. Once I retired, I decided to pursue an encore career, accent reduction. It embodied my training and experience but also gave me a change by working with motivated and professional adult clients. I sought, and achieved, certifications in a variety of training approaches so that I would have a well-rounded background in multiple strategies and techniques for accent modification clients.
I have many methodologies and resources to choose from. I am certified by the Institute of Language and Phonology – Compton:PESL, Mastering Effective English Communication (MEER) Trainer – Lorna Sikorski and Accent Freedom – Barb Christenson.
I evaluate my client’s spoken language and choose the program and approach that I feel best suits his/her needs. All plans are unique and personalized to each individual client, often incorporating more than one resource. Once the materials are selected, I teach sound discrimination, production in words, sentences, reading and conversation. There is an online practice component that supports the work we do in class. Typically, I review the at-home practice sessions during the week and send feedback. It’s important for the client to commit to 15 minutes of practice 1-2 times a day for significant progress to be enjoyed.
Usually, the materials used for sentences and reading are business expressions, buzz words, phrasal verbs and idiomatic language. This supports better communication in the workplace, since aside from accent modification, it’s also critical to be familiar with the subtle meanings often evidenced in everyday Business English.
An overriding strategy that I always teach is “linking” words together so as to sound more natural and not choppy or robotic. I also address any rhythm and intonation issues that may interfere with communication, as well as grammar and vocabulary support. Very often, my clients practice presentations that they are responsible for so that their basic presentation skills can be improved, as well as the pronunciation of their professional vocabulary.
Classes are held weekly for approximately 1 1/2 hours. There are 12 classes. The cost of the program is $2000 which includes an Initial Evaluation, all individualized materials (including computer access to the homework program) and a certificate of completion at the end of the class. A Level 2 class is also available in 6 week increments to expand and extend the skills learned in Level 1.