"Whether you have a stutter, a lisp or another concern, it is never too late to work on your communication skills. Our adult clients report increased confidence in social and work situations when they master new skills in this area."
Inge Gaudin (Senior Speech Pathologist & Practice Owner
We assist adults who find it difficult to:
- speak clearly
- pronounce words due to their accent
- speak fluently without stuttering
- run meetings
- hold presentations
- conduct social conversations
- formulate sentences & use age appropriate vocabulary
- use their voice to project & to speak clearly
- speak due to hoarseness / vocal nodules
Speech Therapy For Adults In Perth
With over a decade of exposure in providing high-quality speech and language treatment programs for adults, therapists at Viva Speech Pathology have expertise to effectively treat:
Developmental speech issues (lisping on s, errors on r and th).
Language issues not treated during childhood.
Language issues related to speaking English as a second language.
Voice problems (hoarseness, voice cutting out, difficulties with voice projection).
Business communication issues (communicating orally in meetings and presentations or effectively via email and reports).
Interestingly, research in this area shows that:
28% of teachers need to take time off work each year due to a voice problem.
60% of professional voice users will at one time in their life have a voice problem.
Around 5% to 6% of adults will have a voice problem.
Women are more likely to develop voice problems than men.
Here are signs that you might be experiencing a voice problem
A breathy, hoarse, or rough voice
Voice cutting out
Increased efforts to speak
A strained voice and/or pain or discomfort when speaking
Unusually high or low pitch voice
Difficulty projecting your voice
More sign of voice difficulties can be found on this Speech Pathology Australia fact sheet.
Please contact Viva speech pathology to book an assessment on 9344 2900 or connect with us online if you have any questions.
During our assessment, we take into account an evaluation by an Ear Nose and Throat doctor. A referral to this specialist can be made via your GP. The ENT specialist can evaluate the speaker’s vocal folds and make recommendations for the speech therapist to take into account during treatment. We treat voice therapy in individual therapy sessions and provide feedback to your ENT and GP. By working in a team arrangement, we work towards the best possible outcome for our clients.
We also offer voice workshops for teachers called, ‘The teacher’s voice: Voice care, Prevention and Wellbeing for daily life’. This workshop gives information about types of voice problems, how to know whether to seek help, and what is involved in a voice assessment and therapy. Tips to prevent a voice problem from starting or from getting worse, are also included.
Qualified Treatment and Personal Care
The reasons and the types of speech and language difficulties are diverse and may include a family history, a history of ear infections or other diagnoses that impact the individual’s learning of communication skills.
When we work with adults, we find out the everyday communicative demands for them at work and work with them to devise relevant treatment goals. This may involve working on target words that our clients have difficulty saying socially or at work, and monitoring communication situations that our clients find difficult. In this way, we monitor the speaker’s confidence and progress throughout the therapy process.
In our work with adult clients, we:
Employ evidence-based treatment
Utilise family members to assist if the client agrees
Offer personalised care and attention to the needs of our clients
Customised Treatment Options
We customise our therapy based on the treatment goals for each client. Therapy for lisps and other speech difficulties usually require regular therapy until the speaker can use the ‘s’ or other speech sounds (e.g. th and r) effortlessly at their normal conversational rate of speech.
As a premier clinic for speech therapy for lisps in Perth, we offer well-devised treatment plans to target specific therapy goals for children and adults. Our speech pathologist for adults can schedule your sessions at hours that are convenient for you.
“In my experience, students, teenagers, as well as adults who are conscious of speaking with a lisp or other speech difficulties, can also be affected in other ways also if this is left untreated. They may change their habit of using eye contact and facial expression when they communicate. They may start to mumble in general or speak quickly due to feelings of embarrassment or due to being uncertain about their pronunciation. It frequently also affects their ability to speak in presentations and by treating their difficulties they can work towards becoming a more confident speaker. Communicating well is an asset and can assist one in social situations and in career advancement’.
By Inge Gaudin, Practice Owner and Principal speech pathologist
Accent Reduction Therapy
Accent reduction article by Inge Gaudin (Practice Owner & Principal Speech Pathologist)
Accent certainly adds to one’s individuality, but it may become a hindrance if it causes communication breakdown or renders the speaker feeling less confident in some situations.
Researchers have studied the impression that an accent makes, and the associations and prejudices listeners may unknowingly have towards the speaker. In one study, Japanese listeners who listened to people speaking Japanese with a strong British and Australian accent, perceived them as being less patient, competent, and intelligent! Other studies found that an accent affects one’s perceived credibility, and one’s teaching ability. While perceived ethnicity did not affect employability, accent did in another study. Not having an accent did not guarantee someone a job, but researchers noted that interviewees with a stronger accent were ranked lower on the employability scale, when they controlled for other factors.
A classic study out of the University of Alberta showed that although a foreign accent is related to a speaker’s perceived comprehensibility, a strong foreign accent does not necessarily reduce the speaker’s speech clarity in their second language. When a speaker speaking in their second language made pronunciation errors, the listeners considered their accent to be stronger. If they spoke with an accent but made no obvious pronunciation errors, the listener judged their speech sample to contain less of an accent.
How our accent reduction therapy can help you
As a speech and language pathologist with experience in the area of accent reduction, I have provided accent reduction therapy if the speaker feels their accent is impacting on their ability to communicate socially, in a work setting, or to unfamiliar people. When a conversational partner becomes used to a speaker’s accent, they usually learn to interpret the speaker’s meaning more easily. There is not always time for this, however, when first impressions need to rapidly be made during a brief phone call or interview.
An evaluation consists of a confidential interview and sample of the speaker’s speech, which may be recorded for assessment purposes with permission. The speech and language pathologist analyse the sample to identify therapy goals and to comment on any other communication skills which can be improved (e.g. the speaker’s grammar, vocabulary and whether they are stuttering. If the speaker raises concerns about a type of business communication skill, this can be assessed (e.g. ability to chair meetings, interview staff, provide information to make a sale, serve a customer, give a presentation or give on-on-one feedback).
To reduce an accent, the therapist will have some systematic goals and will work on these, until the speaker has achieved this in their own conversation. The therapist chooses activities, conversation topics and target words that are highly motivating to the speaker due to their relevance. This helps the individual to work towards their speaking goals and increases the effectiveness of therapy.
Usually the goal is not to eliminate the accent, but to optimise the speaker’s ability to communicate in their second language. Sometimes the speaker’s wishes for a complete overhaul of their communication skills, for example, they may be speaking with a strong accent and have added language difficulties.
Inge’s experience with accent reduction therapy
I have seen such cases where the speaker’s second language was taught to them by second language English speakers in the country of their birth prior to their immigration to Australia. Alternatively. the speaker may have had delayed speech or speech difficulties in their native language which were never addressed in childhood. Alternatively, other speakers simply request for their communication skills to be refined and the therapist plans their program with their speaking goals in mind.
I have worked with Afrikaans, Spanish, Asian, and European professionals, and see initial improvements in speech and confidence after a few sessions working on a pattern of sound substitutions, or a specific word or phrase that is difficult for the speaker to say.
Once the speaker benefits from demonstrations and instructions to produce new sounds, they are confident and empowered to practice at home with a word list or a recording of therapy activities. If they attend therapy regularly and work on their speech goals in between sessions, they usually make a steady improvement. Eventually they can say difficult words and phrases with ease and confidence.
The research in our field suggests intensive intervention has a very good outcome. For example, a 2017 research study by Behrman shows that twice weekly sessions had a positive effect over 5 weeks for Spanish speakers as evidenced by thirty native English speakers measuring ‘easy of understanding and accent’ on a subjective scale.
Readers may have mild accents that will not affect them in the workplace, but if their colleagues or staff from a variety of nationalities struggle with their accent, accent reduction therapy is available for improved confidence and efficiency in the workplace.
Having worked with teachers, business and sales people, company directors, IT professionals and engineers, it is evident that everyone needs good communication skills. Accent or other communication difficulties, need not hold any speaker back when they can address the problem step-by-step through a confidential and enjoyable intervention process, conducted by a speech and language pathologist.
A 2018 study done via the City University of New York showed that bilingual speakers notice accents less than monolingual speakers. It has been queried in other research that bilingual speakers may have a perceptual advantage and may automatically and also actively be able to interpret the meaning of the speaker with an accent.
At Viva speech pathology we offer stuttering therapy for young children, students, teenagers, and adults.
We may use programs such as the:
Time-out speech therapy (Using effective principles of Response Contingent Stimulation therapy).
Prolonged speech or smooth speech therapy for more significant stuttering cases.
The information on this link is from the Australian Stuttering Research Centre and explains how the Lidcombe stuttering therapy program works.
In addition, the Lidcombe consortium website has videos and additional information for parents.
Here is a link to our professional association about stuttering:
Call Us Today to Treat Your Speech and Language Disorder
Are you experiencing any speech and language difficulties, or do you simply want to polish your communication skills to help you in the achievement of your career goals? Call us today on (08) 9344 2900 or 0402 134 257 to discuss treatment for your speech or language disorder. You can also connect with us online with your questions.