I'm a licensed Speech Pathologist who has been working in the field for eight years.
My passion for accent modification began in graduate school, but job opportunities were very limited so I didn't pursue this career path. Then, when visiting Ann Arbor in 2009, I contacted Accents International and quickly decided to join the team as an accent reduction specialist.
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do what I love most, work with people from different cultures. I've found that everyone I've worked with, no matter what their proficiency, is motivated to learn conversational English to get an edge in the marketplace. They're so driven to better themselves despite extensive work and family commitments.
I think accent reduction is different from therapy, although there's overlap. Accent reduction is much more comprehensive, a global approach. I feel it gives participants a bonus while enhancing their strengths. When they learn the rhythm and stress patterns, all of a sudden this language that seems random begins to make sense; it's as if a light bulb suddenly turns on. This is different than therapy, which focuses on setting very targeted goals and objectives that have to be met in a set time to help with specific difficulties.
My work with Accents International makes me appreciate online learning. The format is very effective for giving visual and auditory feedback. Yet it's most rewarding for me to hear how pronunciation training has impacted the lives of our participants in a meaningful way. It's wonderful to see their excitement at getting complimented on their speech, something that had never happened before. They tell me they've noticed a change in the way people react to them, so then they have so much more confidence.