Anniversary Reflections

     Triangle Speech Services is the private, professional practice of Judith L. Bergman, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in foreign accent and regional dialect modification.  I offer customized, individual tutorials to corporate-sponsored and self-enrolled individuals who speak English fluently but with moderate to severe accents that create challenges and frustrations in the workplace.    
   Fiftieth anniversary!  It couldn't be my birthday!  My younger son is 47!! And it's not a fiftieth wedding anniversary, since I was divorced a little over 40 years ago!
   No, but on January 1, 1967 I received my official Certification of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA for short). I received this physical certificate after earning my Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1965 (which included 375 clock hours of clinical internship), completing my "Clinical Fellowship Year" of paid employment under supervision and passing the national certification exam given at the November 1966 ASHA Convention in DC (with my 10 week old nursing baby crying for me up in the hotel room with his dad).  So this certificate deserved to be laminated and framed!

   In 2005 after 38 years as a school based speech therapist, I "retired" and started Triangle Speech Services and the years  have "flown by."   I just realized that, yes,I have been certified and licensed for 50 years BUT it has been 53 years since I first sat across a table from a student, patient or (now) a client with the intention of helping him or her communicate more effectively!  
   Here are my latest thoughts, as I look back on my varied experiences doing  speech and language therapy with children and now, foreign accent and regional dialect modification "coaching" with brilliant adults from all over the world. 
What I have learned (so far):

1. Reality always has the last word. (However one's perception of reality may be filtered through one's prejudices, judgements and hopes.)
2. I'm a clinician, not a magician.
You can modify your accent but you probably won't completely lose it. Unintelligible speech can transform to "listener friendly" and a mild, listener friendly accent can move closer to standard English if you work on "linking," intonation and prosody .
3. We (all of us) have to start from where we are. 
The question I have always tried to answer with the wide variety of tests and observations I've used over these 50 years (starting with nonverbal three-year-olds) is, "Where is this person in his or her ability to communicate?" 
4. We (all of us)  need each other and can help and learn from each other.
We have all heard the expression, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."   I have learned that "When the teacher is ready, the clients will appear."
6. "P" is an important initial as in: Positive attitude and patient, persistent practice.   "Practice" is an active verb. 
Speech habits change slowly over time WITH practice.
7. We (all of us) are NEVER too old to learn, grow and change.
  We invite you to visit us by clicking on Triangle Speech Services .  Our goal is always to provide information, inspiration, and encouragement since these are essential components of any successful learning experience.
  Final thoughts on life lessons I hope I've learned:  We are here only to be truly helpful.  Your health is your wealth. Your time is your life.  Be thoughtful and aware of how you support your health and spend your time!
   If you are seriously considering enrolling yourself or an employee in an individual tutorial with us or simply want to talk to us about our programs, please contact us through the contact page of our web site, and we hope you also take the time to read the text and look at the videos.
Judith L. Bergman M.A. CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Corporate Speech Trainer
Triangle Speech Services