Account Director With A Spanish Accent

Account Director with a Spanish Accent attends speech therapy

Case Summary

    • Woman in her mid-thirties with significant Spanish accent (Errors with vowels; B/V ; TH, J, CH/SH)
    • This client sought to minimize the frequency of being asked to repeat herself
    • Duration of therapy: 6 months/weekly

    Accent Modification Targets

    This client sought to minimize her Spanish accent in order to improve her confidence while communicating at work.

    Main Outcomes

    Maria* approached Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy because she felt that her clients and co-workers had a difficulty understanding her. Furthermore, she feared this was impeding her upward mobility with the advertising agency where she worked. 

    Maria was assessed by one of our speech-language pathologists. It was determined that Maria was interchanging the B/V sounds, replacing the TH sound with the T or D sounds, replacing the J sound with a Y sounds, interchanging the CH and SH sounds, and pronouncing the vowel in the word "bit" as the vowel in the word "beat". Although there were other sounds impacted, we focused on these five salient articulation error patterns. 

    First, we addressed the TH error by training Maria to pronounce the TH sound with her tongue forward and between her teeth. We started with auditory discrimination and then progressed through an articulation hierarchy. Maria was able to use this new way of pronouncing TH more than 80% of the time in her most challenging context, at work. 

    Next, we addressed the B/V confusion. Maria reported that in Spanish B and V are pronounced similarly and so she had less experience with differentiating the sounds. Again, we started with an auditory discrimination essentially to train Maria to hear the difference and be able to correctly identify which sound was which. Next, we progressed to producing each sound at the syllable, word, phrase, sentence, short answer, long answer and conversation levels. 

    A similar approach was used for the other three goals identified during the first few sessions. Throughout our work, Maria reported improved professional reception and, most importantly, improved confidence in her English communication. 

    *Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

    Narrative of Our Work