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What is a Lisp?

You have probably heard the term "lisp" before. But what does "lisp" mean? What is a lisp? What is normal for a lisp?

Some types of speech errors, like lisps, are often part of a child's normal development and may go away on their own.

Did you know that some lisps may get better as the child learns and grows? But others are not part of typical development and require help from a speech therapist.

What is a Lisp?

A lisp usually happens when the tongue is in the wrong spot when making the "S" or "Z" sounds. When the tongue is not in the right spot, the sound gets "distorted." This means it sounds similar to what it should but is not entirely accurate.

When we make the "S" or "Z" sounds, our tongues should stay behind our front teeth. When a lisp occurs, the tongue is typically between the front teeth or the sides of the tongue are too low or too relaxed.

Lisps are known as a "functional" speech disorder, which means there is no known reason why it is happening.

Let's learn about what happens when the tongue does not stay in the right spot and when you should seek help from a pediatric speech therapist!

Two Types of Lisps

What happens when the tongue does not stay in the right spot for the "S" and "Z" sounds? One of the types of lisps will usually occur. Let's explore two of the most common types of lisps:

  • Interdental ("Frontal") Lisp

    • The tongue is between the front teeth when making the "S" or "Z" sounds.

    • "S" and "Z" come out sounding like the "TH" sound.

  • Lateral Lisp

    • Air comes out over the sides of the tongue or mouth, instead of the middle.

    • Sounds "wet," "slushy," or "noisy."

What is Normal for a Lisp?

Interdental lisps can go away on their own as the child grows and develops, but they should disappear by 4.5 years of age. If you have questions or concerns about your child's interdental lisp, or you've noticed your child is having difficulties in other areas, seek help from a pediatric speech therapist!

Lateral lisps are not part of typical development. If you think your child has a lateral lisp, it is best to seek help from a pediatric speech therapist as soon as possible.

Should My Child See an SLP for Their Lisp?

If you are wondering if your child needs help with their speech, language, or social skills, the best thing you can do is see a pediatric speech therapist to find out if your child would benefit from speech therapy.

Is your child having trouble making "S", "Z", or any other sounds? Give us a call today to book an appointment! We would love to meet you and see if we can provide speech therapy support.

The Myna Therapy team is made up of specialists who are passionate about supporting your child's speech, language, feeding, swallowing, fluency, cognition, vocal health, and overall wellness.

We strive to:

  • Empower your family with education

  • Guide you to use new strategies in your daily life

  • Help you reach the goals that matter most to you!



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