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This is the third instalment in our series of blogs on children’s speech. Check out our previous blogs on Speech Sound Development and Intelligibility.

When I tell people what I do, people often ask ‘do you work with lisps?’. This is actually a very small part of my caseload, but we do see it sometimes. A lisp is a very specific type of speech error, usually affecting the ‘s’ sound, but can also affect the ‘z’ and other sounds. There are two types of lisp.

The first and most common is the interdental lisp, this is where the tongue protrudes through the teeth on the ‘s’ sound, so ‘sun’ sounds like ‘thun’. An interdental lisp is considered typical before the age of 4 years. If your child still pronounces their ‘s’ sound this way, it could be worth speaking with a speech pathologist.

The other type of lisp is called a lateral lisp. This is where the air moves over the sides of the tongue instead of the front of the tongue. It makes the “s” sound ‘slushy’ and unclear. This type of lisp is not usually seen in typical speech development and will require therapy to resolve. It is a tricky therapy however, and the child needs to be able to follow detailed instructions about where to put their tongue. Sometimes therapy may be delayed until a child is developmentally ready for the therapy.

The “s” sound is a tricky one, and as speech pathologists we work on this sound a lot with children. Many children who don’t have lisps, still need help with this sound. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to say the “s” sound, make an appointment with Newcastle Speech Pathology today.

Written by Bec,


Newcastle Speech Pathology

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