Common S Errors
Frontal & Lateral Lisp

Knowing what errors your child is making is essential for the initial teaching phase. 

Frontal Lisp

A frontal lisp is the most common S error. When children have a frontal lisp, their tongue protrudes slightly past their teeth. 

Below is a photo of a frontal lisp 

How to know if your child has a frontal lisp:

  • You can see your child’s tongue while he/she is saying S
  • S sounds like “th”
  • There is no “hissing” sound

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 factors that may contribute to a frontal lisp:

  • Thumb Sucking
  • Open Mouth Posture
  • Family History of Speech Disorders

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 thumb sucking. Instead, work on both AT THE SAME TIME! It may take time, work, and a lot of patience to stop these habits.

Lateral Lisp

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 your child has a lateral lisp:

A lateral lisp 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.

Listen For:

  • A slushy sounding S (not a clear hissing sound)

Look For:

  • Nothing! From the outside, your child appears to be saying S correctly;
  • OR, Jaw is not up and centered. It is slightly down and/or moved to one side or the other.

Correcting a lateral lisp can be difficult since it is more abstract. Your child can’t see his or her 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.

› Common S Errors


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