How can I help my child understand heavy accents?

Q: We're moving to an area where people speak with a very heavy accent, and I'm afraid that my toddler won't understand them. Will this hamper her speech development?

A: Most children adapt very readily to accent changes and have little trouble understanding the speech around them, so being around heavy accents shouldn't be a problem. On the rare occasion when your child is having trouble understanding, act as her interpreter by repeating what has just been said. --Natalie Walker Whitlock

Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission from the June 2000 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

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