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My Child Has a Strong Accent and Needs to Be Understood: Can You Help?

My Child Has a Strong Accent and Needs to Be Understood: Can You Help?

You want to give your child the best chances for success in life, but you’re worried that their accent may hold them back in terms of being understood. While everyone has an accent, which is a product of the region and the country one grows up in, those accents that stem from another primary language or dialect can pose larger issues in terms of broader comprehension.

It’s important to understand that accents are definitely not part of a speech or language disorder; they’re merely the natural product of where you’re from and the way you hear people speak.

Accent reduction is a technique used by speech and language pathologists (SLPs) like those at Celebrations Speech Group to help your child learn to “undo” their natural accent and become proficient in another. Whether you want your child to fit in more seamlessly with a new group, such as at school, or you want to reduce their natural accent to be understood clearly, we can help.

What is involved in accent reduction?

It’s often very difficult to change an accent on your own, because the new accent may contain sounds that are difficult to pronounce and it’s hard to figure out where to put your tongue to produce the sounds you want. 

Through our SLPs, your child will learn pronunciation skills, as well as intonation, which is how people use rhythm, pitch, and melody to group word phrases together. 

To get started, we first analyze the way your child currently speaks and then we create a plan that will target certain areas, such as rhythm, accentuation, and pronunciation.

Helping your child at home

There are many things you can do at home to enhance what your child learns with our SLP. For starters, encourage them to practice their new skills every day for at least 15 minutes so the new sounds and cadence become familiar. This kind of commitment can deliver a noticeable difference in their accent in 3-5 weeks or so.

Second, record your child’s practice using a microphone or cell phone camera, building up from individual letters or words at a time to whole sentences to conversations. Rewatching or listening to the recording can give your child a good sense of their progress, as well as the sounds or words that give them the most trouble. Show these recordings to the SLP so they can create more tailored exercises for your child.

And third, encourage your child to actively listen to other people speaking the accent you want them to learn, either people in your own environment, or announcers or actors on radio and television. If you watch TV with the closed captioning on, your child can easily compare the sounds the person makes with the words they see on the screen. 

If your child has a strong regional or national accent and you’d like for them to be better understood, accent reduction therapy with a SLP is the best way to go. Give Celebrations Speech Group a call at one of our locations in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California,

to set up a consultation with a speech pathologist, or book online with us today. We can help.

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