03 Mar Lisps Kingswood | Lisp Treatment | Chatterbox Speech Pathology
What is a lisp?
A lisp is a speech sound error that you might notice in your child. It is a specific type of error, where your child has difficulty making one or more of the following sibilant sounds;
- ‘s’ for ‘sun’
- ‘z’ for ‘zoo’
- ‘sh’ for ‘ship’
- ‘ch’ for ‘chin
- ‘j’ for ‘jumper’
- ‘zh’ for ‘measure’
Types of Lisps
There are four different types of lisps including;
Typically when we make a ‘s, z, sh, ch, j or zh’ sound, our tongue lifts at the sides to meet our teeth, to help the air travel down our tongue and out between our front teeth. A lateral lisp occurs when your child’s tongue is flat in their mouth, and air escapes from the sides of their teeth, pushing the air into their cheeks. This results in a ‘slushy’ sound.
Typically when we make a ‘s, z, sh, ch, j or zh’ sound, our tongue stays inside our mouth, behind our teeth. An inderdental lisp occurs when your child’s tongue sticks out between their teeth when making these sounds.
Typically when we make a ‘s, z, sh, ch, j or zh’ sound, our tongue stays inside our mouth, behind our teeth. A dentalised lisp occurs when your child’s tongue tip rests or pushes up against their teeth when making these sounds. This results in an unclear sound.
Typically when we make a ‘s, z, sh, ch, j or zh’ sound, our tongue tip sits behind our teeth. A palatal lisp occurs when your child’s tongue tip rests quite far back on their palate (the roof of their mouth).
WHAT CAUSES A LISP?
We wish we could tell you! There are no known causes of speech and language difficulties in children. Research tells us that 20% of children have difficulties with speech or language during the preschool years. Research has proven that there is a genetic link between family members and children with communication difficulties; however as a parent, there is nothing that you could have done to prevent your child from having this difficulty.
The best thing you can do for your child is have their speech sounds assessed by a Speech Pathologist so that you can begin working together to fix any errors that might not be appropriate for their age.
HOW CAN A LISP IMPACT ON MY child?
When children are young, it’s common for a lisp to be described as ‘cute’ or ‘sweet’. Sometimes we grow to love those little differences in our children’s speech!
However, it can actually be easier to resolve a child’s speech sound difficulty now, when they are at a younger age. This is because it is a motor plan they have developed – think about if you were right-handed, and suddenly had to learn to write with your left hand!
This would be much more achievable if you tried to make the change at the age of 5, after only holding a pencil to draw for 12 months, rather than at the age of 15, after 10 years of practice drawing, colouring and writing with that same hand.
By helping your child with their lisp at a younger age, you can help your child settle into conversations with new people more easily. School can be tricky enough without your child having to explain why they may make sounds differently to their friends.
Research suggests that as children grow and develop, they become more aware of their own skills, including their talking skills. We want your child to be a happy, confident communicator and we don’t want their speech sound errors to impact on their self-esteem and confidence.
As children develop into teenagers and young adults they often begin to job hunt and meet new people in new environments, where confident communication skills are so very important in reaching goals and meeting new friends.
I think my child has a lisp – what should I do now?
If you think your child has a lisp, book an appointment with a Speech Pathologist! Because we’re changing a motor plan, lisps can require intensive, weekly therapy to resolve. There are lots of different teaching strategies your Speech Pathologist can use to help your child make these sounds.
Each child is different, but what we do know, is that your child will need lots of practice to correct the way their tongue moves to make these sounds.
Once your child can make these sounds, our goal is to make sure they use them correctly all of the time; when they’re telling you about their day, asking you for a milkshake or having a conversation with their friends!
Every child is unique and different; therefore therapy will be different for each individual child. We recommend you speak to or have an assessment completed by a Speech Pathologist to find out more information about how to help your child.
If you have concerns for your child’s talking, understanding or speech sound development contact Chatterbox Speech Pathology to book an assessment.