The Pesky Lisp Fixer

Don’t you hate those pesky interdental lisps? You know, the ones that won’t stay fixed?

To fix an interdental lisp – those lisps where your tongue sticks out between your teeth when you try to say /s/ – we, as speech pathologists, used to start with simple tasks, like saying an /s/ on its own. Once the child had mastered their /s/, we progressed in tiny hops (like baby bunny kittens) to slightly harder tasks. This traditional approach works.

But it’s SO SLOW!

Many kids – particularly older and more mature kids – hate being treated like babies. And, even after finishing traditional treatment, many kids have difficulties using their “new /s/” on words they haven’t practised and in more natural tasks, like story-telling and conversation. Which is, of course, the main point of trying to fix a lisp!

A new approach

More recent research evidence supports a different route for better results. Once a child can say the sound on his or her own, randomly mixing up hard and easy tasks can have quicker results that transfer more efficiently to real-world, lisp-free speech (e.g. see Skelton, 2004).

(You can read more about why using randomised practice, non-word practice and other principles of motor learning and speech here).

Our Pesky Lisp Fixer program has three stages

  1. Auditory Bombardment: 2 minutes per day – listening and tuning into the sound and practising it on its own. Audio file included!
  2. Our /s/-Syllable Boot Camp: Based on principles of motor speech, the boot camp involves 10-15 minutes a day of high repetition practice of nonsense syllables designed to get the tongue, lips and teeth working together with different vowel and consonant sequences in random order.
  3. Randomised Practice: Once the child has conquered the boot camp, this gives the child 20-30 minute sessions of imitating and naming words with /s/ in them, across all word positions. Again using a high repetition, randomised approach, we mix imitation, naming, and sentence generation tasks, with old-fashioned story telling, using over 200 high quality photographs – no cutesy vector clip art!

This program works best if an adult is around to give clear feedback every now and then – but no more than occasionally. Use it in your clinic or as a home program for your clients.

So download the Pesky Lisp Fixer today from our Teachers Pay Teachers store and get straight into getting rid of those pesky lisps!

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