There are more than 6,000 languages worldwide, to say nothing of different regional accents within the same language. And many of these languages and accents can be found right here in the Los Angeles area.
If you’ve moved to LA from another country or another region of the United States, and you’re worried about your child being misunderstood at school because of a thick accent, you’ve come to the right place.
At Celebrations Speech Group, our team of experienced speech therapists and pathologists offers accent-reduction services that can help your child be better understood.
What is an accent?
When we say accent, we’re referring to how your child speaks and sounds to others. Accents can largely be broken down into two categories:
1. Foreign accents
If English isn’t your child’s first language, then your child might have an accent when they speak English. A foreign accent depends very much on where you’re coming from — a Chinese person speaking English can sound very different from a South American speaking English.
2. Regional accents
Another type of accent that can affect how people hear you is a regional accent. For example, a person from New York can sound very different from someone from Alabama. This regional way of speaking can make communicating with people outside your region trickier.
No matter where the accent stems from, it’s a way of speaking that can be hard to break as there are ingrained mechanics involved.
Helping your child to be better understood
With accent reduction, our goal isn’t to rob your child of their identity but to help them be better understood in the classroom and among their peers.
In the US, more than 10% of public school kids (about 5 million) are called English learners, meaning they’ve come to school with little to no English and are in the midst of learning the language. As you can imagine, an accent is part of this process.
The good news is that kids pick up languages fairly easily and do great jobs mimicking others.
As speech therapists, we can do our part through accent reduction, which are targeted therapies that help your child pronounce words in a way that’s similar to the region here.
These speech therapies include exercises focusing on vowels, consonants, or combinations that are tricky for your child. Given the wide range of potential accents, each accent reduction therapy is targeted to your child’s unique needs.
Not only do we concentrate on pronunciation, but we also address speech patterns and rhythms, which differ between languages and regions.
Again, our goal with accent reduction is to help your child avoid miscommunication due to not being understood clearly in their speech.
To learn more about giving your child a leg up at school through accent reduction, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule an appointment.