When should I worry about a lisp

While it’s super endearing :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: my daughter can’t say her ‘S’s. We have a lot of ‘th’ around.

I’m wondering how seriously I need to take this? What age is appropriate to do something about it? What does the general process of treatment look like? Wondering if anyone here has gone through it and have any tips?


Great question! Let’s see if one of our amazing speech therapist members can help you out.
@Speechwithjwo @Speechie.Morgan @Twowayspeech @AlyssaLevySLP

Hi Tony! Great question. After the age of 3, children should begin to learn proper positioning for an s. A really pronounced tongue thrust could be a sign of a breathing or airway issue, so it is important to seek out a provider with experience in working with TOTs (tethered oral tissue) to rule that out.

Treatment for a lisp involves teaching appropriate positioning of the sound in words, phrases, sentences and conversation and varies on the age and motivation of the child.

Let me know if you need any additional information.

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Wow! Thanks for the amazing quick reply. I never would have thought of airway issues. I guess I can pay closer attention.

It sounds like this is going to be a practice practice practice scenario. In a “non serious” case (obviously I would have to get that checked) what’s the typical treatment regimen (e.g. an hour once a week with ‘homework’ or is it something more involved?)

Also (just given the current events) is this a type of thing that can be treated “virtually”?

Thanks again!!!

Hi Tony,

I completely agree with everything @Speechwithjwo said above. The /s/ can be tricky. It is important for a speech-language pathologist to take a good case history and look at what is happening to help you determine if it is an articulation/phonological disorder or a true tongue thrust. You want to look for a therapist who has experience in Orofacial Myofunctional therapy. This is therapy that looks at the mouth at rest posture to make sure the structure is developing correctly. They will also have experience in TOT.

By looking at the structure the therapist will look at if there are any airway issues, but also look at how the child’s muscles are supporting the child’s tone, and if the tongue is elevating while swallowing instead of thrusting forward.

You should contact some therapists in your area to see if they are doing only virtual or any in person sessions. If they are doing virtual ask them about their experience with treating an /s/ virtually and what a session would look like.

The most important thing to do is practice, practice, practice to make the sound and movement automatic!

Janice SLP

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Thanks so much for the detailed response.

Love the :tots: community! This will definitely help me narrow in on what to look for in a professional therapist.

Thanks all for helping this parent out.

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