We are pleased to welcome Shelly Wallace, MS, CCC-SLP as our guest
host for the SLP chat tonight, Monday, February 23, 2004. She will
be addressing the topic of Corporate Speech Pathology/Accent Reduction.
Shelly Wallace is the founder and president of Accent Management
located in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1982, Ms. Wallace graduated from Miami
University in Oxford, Ohio with a Bachelor of Science degree in speech
pathology, and she received a Masters of Science degree in speech
pathology from the same institution the following year. She has held
her ASHA certificate of clinical competence since 1984 and is a
licensed speech pathologist in Kentucky and Ohio. She has extensive
experience in accent modification, working with foreign-born
individuals, and has been teaching Compton P-ESL seminars to speech
therapists for several years. Additionally, Ms. Wallace has a
background in corporate marketing, thereby enabling her to provide
guidance to speech pathologists starting accent modification businesses.
Ms. Wallace is the Director of the Institute of Language and Phonology,
succeeding Dr. Compton's twenty year leadership.
<Robin> Welcome! Tonight we are chatting with Shelly Wallace, MS, CCC-SLP, about the the
topic of Corporate Speech Pathology/Accent Reduction.
<booms57> Sounds interesting!
<Robin> Shelly, please define Corporate Speech Pathology.
<ShellyWallace> Corporate Speech Pathology is a new, specialized area in the field of speech
pathology. Corporate speech pathologists work as consultants to businesses. We
specialize in the communication needs of corporate employees and entrepreneurs.
<ShellyWallace> How many of you have heard of Corporate Speech before?
<booms57> I have
<crystal> I have and flirted with it briefly years and years ago.
<amanda> I actually took the Compton P-ESL course over the summer so I heard about it there.
<ShellyWallace> It's a pretty exciting area!
<ShellyWallace> Clients are adults, usually without "disordered" speech.
<ShellyWallace> They are usually very motivated to change their speech.
<ShellyWallace> Corporate speech does include accent modification, but is not limited to it.
<booms57> Is it American Standard English they wish to speak?
<ShellyWallace> Booms57, not necessarily.
<ShellyWallace> Many non-native speakers don't wish to lose their accents, just to speak clearly.
<booms57> that makes sense.
<ruby_OSU> So would you work with bilingual adults?
<ShellyWallace> Yes, my clients have English as their second language.
<crystal> Tell us Shelly, who contacts you, the person wanting to do the work, or the corporation
they are working for?
<ShellyWallace> Crystal, it's both.
<ShellyWallace> Sometimes it's the person him or herself.
<ShellyWallace> Sometimes it's a manager or supervisor.
<ShellyWallace> This week, a Dr. called to sign up for a workshop, but his supervisor gave him
<ShellyWallace> The supervisor told him to call!
<booms57> Is this at all a sensitive subject with clients?
<ShellyWallace> It's really not a sensitive subject....
<Robin> Do most clients come willingly when their supervisor suggests it?
<ShellyWallace> Yes, most clients come very willingly!
<ShellyWallace> They have problems with communication in all aspects of their lives and they
are usually very happy to find someone to help them.
<comunicear> What is your feeling on the argument that by adressing a person's accent you
are depriving them of part of their culture.
<ShellyWallace> Comunicear, I feel very strongly that at person's accent is an important
part of who they are.
<ShellyWallace> I never try to "make them sound American", but rather, help them have clear
<booms57> How do they know if they have a thick accent? Can they tell?
<ShellyWallace> Most of them have to repeat themselves on a regular basis. It gets very
frustrating for them.
<booms57> The reason I ask is because my husband's first language is Spanish and he couldn't
tell at all.
<booms57> Shelly, do you have to work with clients differently depending on what their native
<ShellyWallace> Booms57, not really. They may have different issues, but the work is the same.
<ShellyWallace> I have had groups with 5 different languages represented and it worked out great!
<booms57> ok, thanks
<crystal> Shelly, tell us about the variety of your clients, please.
<ShellyWallace> Crystal>, I service doctors, programmers, engineers, sales people, professors,
corporate executives, etc.
<amanda> How do you go about contacting corporations?
<ShellyWallace> I usually start with the Human Resource (HR) department.
<ShellyWallace> The HR deptartment is usually tuned in to the company needs.
<ShellyWallace> The training and development department is also a great place to start.
<jasd> Shelly, are you finding that corporations are less likely to fund this sort of training
with the economy the way it is?
<ShellyWallace> Jasd, for a little while things seemed to slow down, but of late, things have
picked up for many Corporate SLPs.
<Robin> Shelly, do you work in groups or one on one?
<ShellyWallace> I work with individuals and groups of up to 5 people.
<ShellyWallace> Right now, I seem to have mostly indiviuals. It varies from time to time.
<crystal> Shelly, I assume your clients are private pay by themselves or through their
corporations. Do you ever get approachd by people who are not able to pay the corporate
rate, and if so, how do you handle that?
<ShellyWallace> Crystal, almost all of my clients are corporate paid.
<ShellyWallace> When someone can not afford the training, I may offer the option of paying over
time instead of one lump sum.
<PLS> Is it difficult to network when you are starting out?
<ShellyWallace> PLS, networking takes guts...sometimes it's hard to take that first step.
<PLS> What's the best way to start?
<ShellyWallace> Some places to start networking might include the chamber of commerce,
ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) meetings, networking groups...
<ShellyWallace> 703.683.8100 is the phone number for ASTD (American Society for Training and
Development)-- you can find out how to contact a local chapter.
<amanda> What type of additional education or training would you recommend for those of us
interested in Corporate SLP?
<ShellyWallace> Of course you should have your CCCs and some experience under your belt.
<ShellyWallace> There are workshops including the one through the Institute of Language and
<ShellyWallace> Katie Schwartz has a great book on Corporate Speech Pathology called Talking
on the Job.
<Robin> LDS & Associates (Lorna Sikorski) also offers classes relating to accent reduction.
<PLS> Are there any local workshops coming up (In Ohio)?
<Robin> PLS, check the course page on this website, http://www.speech-languagepathologist.org,
for more information about accent reduction seminars offered.
<ShellyWallace> Business classes are also helpful -- through the small business administration
or local community colleges.
<ShellyWallace> Corspan is an organization of Corporate Speech Pathologists -- www.corspan.org.
<Robin> Corspan and SLPs interested in corporate speech pathology meet weekly in an on-line chat
room to share information about this topic (the link to the Corporate SLP chat room may
be found at the bottom of www.speech-languagepathologist.org's chat room page).
<Barbara_Bernhardt> I am wondering what coursework is typically provided at the Master of SLP
level relevant to accent change.
<BarbaraBernhardt> As the chair of curriculum revision for my SLP program, I am just curious
as to whether courses SHOULD be included.
<ShellyWallace> Barbara - I think every university is a little different, however...
<ShellyWallace> Classes that a corporate SLP might use include your voice class, articulation,
stuttering and much of your clinical work.
<ShellyWallace> Corporate SLPs use the skills they use with "disordered" speech with
"nondisordered" speech...and sometimes disordered speech in the workplace.
<ShellyWallace> Some universities have accent modification in their clinical area.
<Barbara_Bernhardt> Even if universities differ, what might be expected in terms of coursework?
<ShellyWallace> Certainly basic speech courses and beyond that, it would be wonderful to have a
class that focused on "normal" speech and how to work with it.
<amanda> If your university does not offer a course in accent improvement you may want to ask
about doing an independent study. I did one with a few others from my program and it
<Robin> What an excellent idea, amanda!
<ShellyWallace> Amanada, where did you go to school?
<amanda> SUNY University at Buffalo
<jasd> I know that at the U of MN, where I attended, they offered an optional seminar on accent
modification (I did not take it).
<BarbaraBernhardt> The U of MN - do you mean Minnesota, and who taught it? How long was it?
<jasd> Yes, Minnesota, you know...this was awhile ago and I did not take it so I cannot recall
the instructor, however, most of the seminars offerered when I was a student lasted a
full quarter, usually 3 credits or something like that.
<Robin> Shelly, how do you evaluate your clients?
<ShellyWallace> Evaluation is done by taking a speech sample...
<ShellyWallace> words, sentences, reading and conversation...
<ShellyWallace> and determining what areas make it difficult for that person to be understood.
<ShellyWallace> It can involve pronunciation, intonation, grammer, inflection and rate.
<Robin> Do you video tape them initially?
<ShellyWallace> I use a lot of tape recording so that clients can hear the difference in their
speech. Video taping is extremely helpful. The clients benefit from seeing and hearing
what they need to change for themselves.
<booms57> Do clients notice their results or does someone have to tell them?
<ShellyWallace> I think changing speech is like watching a child grow.
<ShellyWallace> Sometimes it's hard to see the changes while they are happening.
<comunicear> What is your discharge criteria?
<ShellyWallace> Most accent modification clients are seen for 13 sessions.
<ShellyWallace> In that time they learn specific changes for pronunciation, intonation and voice
<ShellyWallace> Part of that time they practice in conversation.
<ShellyWallace> They are retested and results are shared with them.
<ShellyWallace> They can continue practicing following the end of training and can take
additional training if they or their supervisor wish.
<Robin> Do you see significant improvement in most cases?
<ShellyWallace> Robin, yes at least a 50% change in numbers, but how they sound is the true test!
<ShellyWallace> The pre and post recording is often very dramatic.
<Robin> Shelly, do you see your clients 13 consecutive weeks?
<ShellyWallace> It's not necessary that the sessions be consecutive, as long as they continue
<jasd> Shelly, what, if any, follow up do you do with clients after they have completed training
course with you?
<ShellyWallace> I offer telephone follow-up for 2 months.
<booms57> What takes place during telephone follow-up?
<ShellyWallace> Phone follow-up often involves sharing a conversation and throughout it, giving
them feedback on their speech.
<ShellyWallace> They may also call with questions about specific words or phrases.
<ShellyWallace> I often do email follow-up -- reminding them to use the new strategies they have
learned and asking them how they feel about their speech.
<ShellyWallace> One of the biggest changes is in their confidence level -- it is very rewarding!!!
<jasd> Do you find that clients are able to maintain the progress they have made?
<ShellyWallace> Jasd - yes, studies have shown that they maintain and often continue to improve.
<amanda> Where would we find the results from these studies??
<ShellyWallace> Arthur Compton has published the studies he's done in this area.
<amanda> In the American Journal of SLP?? or in Arthur's books??
<ShellyWallace> Amanda - I received them directly from Dr. Compton.
<PLS> Do you know of good references for corporate speech or accent modification?
<Robin> PLS, the Institute of Language and Phonology has materials, so does LDS & Associates.
<Robin> Look on the product page of this website, http://www.speech-languagepathologist.org.
<Robin> We have been chatting for almost an hour now. Are there any more questions for Shelly?
<booms57> None from me, this was a very interesting topic.
<Robin> Thank you Shelly, for sharing your expertise in this area.
<crystal> Thanks, Robin and Shelly! Very informative and exciting!
<Barbara_Bernhardt> Thanks for your time, Shelly.
<jasd> Thanks Shelly and everyone. Interesting topic.
<stephslp> Thanks for all your time and information!
<amanda> Thank you for a very informative chat Shelly.
<Randy> Thanks Shelly. Great info.
<comunicear> Thank you Shelly-its be very informative.
<comunicear> I have a much clearer picture of Accent Reduction.
<ShellyWallace> You're welcome! Thanks for your great questions!
<ShellyWallace> It's been such a pleasure chatting with you!
<Robin> Thank you all for coming!