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Ideas to Work on Lisping Sounds (s, sh, z, ch)

Lisping is produced by placing the tongue between the front teeth, forward more than is necessary to achieve an /s/ sound. The sound produced is more like a ‘th’ than an /s/. Lisping may occur on the following sounds: s, sh, ch, g (as in orange), and z. The following are some ideas to help correct a lisp.

  • Ask the child to keep the tongue behind the top front teeth.
  • Tell the child to bite the teeth together before blowing air out to make the sound.
  • The tongue should dip slightly in the front with the sides of the tongue slightly touching the molars on either side. Air should pass out the front of the mouth.
  • Practice making the /s/ sound for a snake.  Ssssss.
  • Alternate between making /s/ sound and “th” sound. Ask the child if they feel and hear the difference between the sounds.
  • Practice saying words that begin with /s/ sound.
  • Practice saying several words beginning with /s/ in a row - ex. soup - silly - seal - Sam - soap - sand.
  • Practice saying silly short sentences, just like the old “Sally sells seashells down by the seashore.” It’s really all in the practice! Have fun creating silly sayings! Make pretend ‘errors’ in your own speech and see if your child catches them.  Praise good listening.
  • At some point in time, it will be fine to correct the child in conversation – usually when alone with the child.

Have fun being silly!


© Kate Ross, MS, CCC-SLP (2011)                                   

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