Lisp Correction

by Ginger
(Boston, MA)

My 6 year old has difficulty with his "s" sounds, they come out sounding like "th". Although it sounds adorable now I don't want him to have difficulty later on in school. Are there some fun, engaging exercises or activities you can recommend to help correct the lisp? Should I just wait to see if he grows out of it? I'm a bit afraid that if I bring attention to it I may discourage him from speaking or cause him to doubt himself. Thanks for the help and advice.

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May 29, 2015
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Good post
by: Ms. Lorena Pagac

What a great blog you have!

May 22, 2015
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Good post
by: Angelica Kling MD

I really love your site. Thank you!

Jan 23, 2014
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Additional information
by: Deborah

Hello Ginger, I am also an SLP, and I just wanted to add that it really depends on the kind of lisp that your son has. For instance, an interdental lisp (which sounds more like a clear, crisp 'th') is considered developmental, and will usually go away on its own. On the other hand, neither a lateral lisp (which sounds like a 'slushy' 'th'), nor a palatal lisp (which sounds like a cross between an 'h' and a 'y'), are considered developmental and will need therapy.

You can request a free evaluation through the school system to get a better sense of what your son is doing when he attempts to produce the 's', and you can also ask for resources/ideas to work on with him at home.

Good luck!

Jan 09, 2014
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Great Question
by: Bridget

This is quite a common question and I'm very glad that you asked it. However, there are no simple answers. I actually deal with this on a daily basis at my school job!

While a lisp is developmental normal up until 2nd grade, the more time a child continues to make an error, the harder it is to correct if correcting is needed. You may be thinking...how will I know if my child will improve without therapy? The answer is....it is hard to say! It depends on your child, other factors, and the type of errors your child is making. Only a speech language pathologist would be able to make that kind of decision.

In the United States, a child will not receive speech therapy for /S/ at the age of 6 since it can be developmental normal.If it was my child, I would look into a private evaluation to get a better picture and tips on how to work on /S/ at home.

How to work on /S/ at home will depend on the type of errors your child is making. I just finished an eBook/tutorial that helps parents decide what type of errors their child is making, how to correct the errors, how to practice at home, and ideas/materials for home practice.

The link is here:

http://www.speechtherapytalk.com/child-speech-s.html

For your other question, bringing attention to speech usually does not cause problems. Children at this age are learning and love to learn. Speech is also fun to practice since it involves mostly games!!

Let us know if you have any more questions!

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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