If your child has a lisp, it means they have trouble making /s/ and /z/ sounds correctly. While this might be straight forward, it’s actually a little more complicated than that, because there are four kinds of lisp:
The first is what everyone typically identifies as a lisp. Called an interdental lisp, this means the tongue is pushed out between the front teeth to make a /th/ sound. It makes ‘sock’ sound like ‘thock’.
The second is a dentalised lisp, where your child’s tongue touches their teeth while making /s/ and /z/ sounds.
The third is a lateralised lisp, where air comes out on either side of the tongue, making a ‘slushy’ or ‘noisy’ sound that sounds a bit like a blast of static.
The last kind of lisp is a palatal lisp, where your child’s tongue touches the soft palate at the back of the mouth to make a kind of gargling sound.
Many children will outgrow their lisps, particularly interdental lisps, assuming there is nothing else going on, like trouble with sensory feed back, or tongue thrust. However, a lisp that is still present by age 6, or the presence of a lateralised or palatal lisp, is cause for concern.
Approaches vary for treating lisps, however the goal of every approach is to develop correct placement of the articulators (tongue, teeth and lips) to make the sound correctly. There are many techniques to achieve this goal. The simplest technique is to ask your child to put their teeth together and try to make a gentle hiss. If that works, therapy may progress to making the correct /s/ sound in the beginning of words, in the middle, at the end and then in short phrases and sentences.
The Seal Speech Buddy is a new and popular means to correct lateral, palatal, dentalised and interdental lisps. The Seal Buddy works by providing a physical target in your child’s mouth that they can feel when their teeth and tongue are in the correct position. This enhances sensory feedback for your child and accurately guides them in correct articulator position. Enhanced tactile feedback has been proven to work twice as fast as the traditional methods described above to correct a lisp. They are designed to be used by parents and children at home.
Correcting a lisp can take time, patience and consistency. Parents, teachers and other caregivers can help by playing and practicing with your child, helping out with therapy homework and using a Speech Buddy to practice.
This blog post is sponsored by Speech Buddies Australia – Authorised Distributor
ChatBox is a Brisbane Speech Pathology practice. We’re dedicated to quality speech therapy, results that last and the best customer service. With many years of experience providing speech pathology services to children and adults in the Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich areas we have the knowledge, skills and experience to make things better for you and your family. We have speech therapists trusted by hundreds of families in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich because we deliver results. Call us on 3371 0970 and find out for yourself.