Questions & Answers
Q: How long will it take for me to be able to master my skills in Accent Modification and Articulation ?
A: Honestly, it's all about quality versus the quantity. The rate of improvement is different from person to person. You will need to schedule time to practice. The more time you put in, the better, but you also need to practice correctly. Your practices should pay particular attention to the rules and methods, rather than rushing through and putting in long inefficient hours. Remember, you are learning something new. Changing your accent or fixing a speech disorder is not an easy task and it does require patience. It's like learning a new instrument. You voice and your articulators (tongue, teeth, lips) are your instrument. It may appear easy, but can be frustrating. Just remember, you don't start off performing in a concert as a soloist at Carnegie Hall. Like exercises with an instrument, first you learn the basics, and then increase the complexity as you improve.
Q: Is it too late to change my speech?
A: It is never too late to change your speech. However, like a new language, things are easier when you are younger. But don't let that deter you from reaching your goals. It is just important to understand and practice what your speech therapist is teaching you. Ask the questions to make sure you practice effectively.
Q: What program do you use for Accent Modification?
A: The program I use is Compton's P-ESL. This is a program, that once purchased the client keeps forever, and has the ability to refer back to for lessons. This is particularly useful when a client goes back to their country to visit, or socializes with friends of the same dialect and reverts back to former habits. What I like about the Compton program is that it requires the clients to listen and match audio recordings. The client isn't reading, but rather matching the sounds through listening while focusing on the techniques taught by the speech therapist.
Q: How do you know what sounds to work on?
A: As a trained and licensed speech therapist, I will listen to your recording (that is sent to me as soon as it is completed), and will transcribe it. With my trained ear, I will be able to locate the sounds that do not coincide with American sounds and these will be the sounds we will target first in isolation, then in words, sentences, and spontaneous speech. The client will work on both consonants and vowels.
Q: Is it difficult to overcome your fears when it comes to public speaking?
A: Improving your speaking or performance skills is good, but it’s generally not enough to substantially reduce your fear. You must address and revise any negative perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, images, and predictions related to public speaking or performing. It's often helpful to uncover the deeper fears related to being seen and heard by others, showing and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and being considered less than perfect. Learning to accept yourself and not feeling that you have to prove yourself to others is at the root of healing. We tend to get in our own way, judging ourselves, refusing to clear a path, take a breath, and produce. It's good to be a little nervous. It is not good when it keeps you from succeeding. If you are ready to avoid your fears and jump in, learning new skills and improvisational games to help reduce your anxiety and high adrenaline levels, you will be able to channel the nervous feelings into success.