Why are lisps so difficult to treat?
Struggling to correct lisps and teach the s sound in your speech therapy sessions? Don’t worry, I can help! Lisps are stubborn, but producing the S sound is an essential tool for communication. Also, it is found in many of the words we use everyday. With a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to teaching your clients this sound with clarity and confidence.
Why correct the lisp?
Does correcting a lisp need to happen? Well, it really is what the client wants. If the client wants to correct their lisp, then we can and should jump in. That’s because the lisp is considered a distortion of the S sound. In this scenario, the client has a misarticulated S sound and needs to learn how to produce the correct S sound. Speech therapy focused on distortions is harder than teaching a sound that someone lacks. What I mean is that it would be easier to teach someone the S sound who had no S sound than someone with a lisp or another type of distortion the correct S sound production.
First, make sure your tongue is inside your mouth. That’s vital, but did you know there are two ways to produce the S sound? To produce the tip up s sound, put the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth, at the alveolar ridge. To produce the tip down s sound, place the tip of your tongue behind your bottom teeth.
With clients who have a lisp, they may find it easier to produce a tip down S. I would introduce the tip down S for clients who have been in speech therapy for awhile and are having trouble achieving an accurate S sound. With some practice, your clients will be able to master one of these ways to produce the S sound, the tip up or the tip down, in no time!
Is is really a lisp?
Keep in mind that lay people might not know what a lisp really is. They could be producing a different S distortion such as a lateralization. The lateralization is where the air comes out the sides of the tongue creating a “slushy” quality to the S sound production. In contrast, the lisp is where the tongue comes out of the mouth to produce the S sound. The tongue is between the teeth when the S is produced.