Knowing what errors your child is making is essential for the initial teaching phase.
A frontal lisp is the most common error so we are going to cover it first. When a child has a frontal lisp, their tongue protrudes slightly past their teeth.
Below is a photo of a of frontal lisp
How to know if you are child has a frontal lisp:
Below is a picture of what S should look like. The jaw is up and center. There is a slight gap between the teeth. The tongue is back and behind the teeth.
Some risk factors that may contribute to a frontal lisp:
If your child has a habit of sucking his or her thumb or keeping his or her mouth open when at rest, this must be addressed. Your child will not be successful with saying S until these habits are stopped.
HOWEVER, you don’t have to wait to practice S until your child learns correct resting posture or stops sucking their thumb. Instead, work on both AT THE SAME TIME! It may take time, work, and a lot of patience to stop these habits.
A lateral lisp is not part of normal development. If you suspect your child has a lateral lisp, please consult a speech language pathologist for an evaluation. After, come back here for some extra practice tips and exercises!
How to know if you are child has a lateral lisp:
When a child has a lateral lisp, it is difficult to see. The easiest way to know is by listening. During a lateral lisp, air escapes from the sides of the tongue instead of from the tip/front.
Correcting a lateral lisp can be difficult since it is more abstract. Your child can’t see their errors; instead he or she can only hear and feel the errors.
For tips on how to teach your child to say S the correct way, please refer to the next section: Teach S.