A speech disorder is when someone has difficulty producing or forming the necessary spoken sounds to communicate with others. As a result, the child’s speech may be difficult to comprehend. But what is Foreign Accent Syndrome?
Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a speech condition that causes an abrupt change in speech, giving the impression that a native speaker is speaking with a foreign accent. FAS is typically caused by brain damage from a severe event or a stroke.
What is the Cause of Foreign Accent Syndrome?
FAS appears to be linked to brain diseases that affect and damage the Broca’s region. This region on the left side of the brain is often associated with speech production.
The following conditions can have an impact on this part of the brain:
- A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted.
- Severe brain injuries, particularly those caused by blunt force trauma
- Aneurysms or brain lesions happen when a blood artery weakens and ruptures, resulting in internal bleeding.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Foreign Accent Syndrome?
Your natural accent is the product of an unconsciously learned system of sound patterns in your original language. This is referred to as the phonetic system.
Your accent might be very early in life as you are exposed to diverse accents and speech patterns. However, your phonetic system remains essentially established after your adolescence.
That is why FAS is so perplexing. Its symptoms have an impact on the overall patterning of your phonetic system. Here’s how it might appear in your speech:
- You have difficulty pronouncing sound clusters like S-T-R in words like “struck.”
- You have difficulty pronouncing consonants that require you to “tap” your tongue behind your upper front teeth, such as “t” or “d.”
- You pronounce vowels differently, such as saying “yah” instead of “yeah.”
- You can change the sounds by saying “suh-trike” instead of “strike” or by using an “r” instead of a “l.”
- Your pitch or tone on certain sounds may vary.
Other frequent FAS symptoms include:
- You still speak your native language, but your accent sounds like it was learned later in life as a second language.
- Otherwise, your mental health is fine, and no underlying mental health disorder is causing these accent changes.
- Your faults are uniform across your phonetic system, creating the appearance of a new “accent.”
What are the Available Therapy Options?
The underlying etiology determines FAS treatment. If no underlying diseases exist, possible treatments include:
- Speech therapy to learn how to replicate your former accent with vocal exercises focused on consciously pronouncing sounds in your usual accent.
- Counseling, therapy, or support groups can assist you in coping with any FAS-related challenges in your life. People may suspect you’re faking your new accent, or you may feel as if you’ve lost a piece of your identity. Behavioral therapy tactics may be used in therapies to assist you in creating positive and healthy habits to overcome harmful or damaging ideas, feelings, or behaviors.
If an underlying medical condition causes FAS, you may require one of the following treatments:
- For stroke, anti-clotting medications or surgical removal of the clot from the blood vessel are options.
- For significant brain injuries, antiseizure drugs, diuretics to lower pressure in your brain, or surgery to correct any considerable damage are all options.
- Aneurysms are treated via surgical clipping of blood arteries to stop blood flow to the aneurysm.
- Disease-modifying medications for MS to reduce the progression of MS symptoms.