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The Frontal Lisp


The frontal lisp is a topic near to my heart because my son struggles with this issue. Only slightly. Actually, it is such a minimal amount that only his hyper-aware Speech Pathologist mommy would even notice.
This is my son’s super adorable little mouth. Can you see his tongue just barely sticking out under his front teeth there? No? I can.

My mother, the dentist, is overly aware of teeth. She used to say, “That movie star certainly earns enough to fix those teeth!” whenever she watched tv. I inherited this skill in mental note taking. Both for teeth and speech.

Developmentally, your child should have a good /s/ sound by age 7-8. Very few public school systems will make a child eligible for /s, z/ services before 7.

The technique that I have had the most success with is sitting in front of a mirror with the child, instructing them to keep their tongue behind their teeth, and say “t-t-t-t”. Do you feel where your tongue is there? Can you see where your tongue is? Behind your top teeth. Now add an “s” so that you say “ttttsss”. You are a steam engine letting off steam. No tongue sticking out of your teeth. Get back tongue! Back!

It is very important that the child not alter their /s/ sound into a “slushy sound”, like a “sh”. If that happens stop work right away. That is far more difficult to correct than a frontal /s/.

Work with your Speech Pathologist to find words that encourage good /s/ practice.

Here is a little rhyme I developed in lieu of working to practice /ts/ in words.
I want to apologize in advance to any cat-lovers out there. They may not find these pictures as hilarious as I do.

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11 Comments

  1. Awesome tip! D does the same thing I will try this with him

  2. I agree with mamageek. And yes, I see your son’s tongue. I , too, carry the OCD gene.

  3. My daughter, Courtney – one of my twins – has always had a slight lisp. We alway expected her to grow out of it – but she never did.

    Take care and have a good Friday – Kellan

  4. Thanks for the tip about getting the child to say ‘s’ by starting with ‘t’. I am going to try that with my daughter, as she just doesn’t get that ‘s’ sound at all.

  5. Another great tip! And I love the little rhyme!

    I’m no dentist, but man, do I notice teeth. Not so much on TV people, but people I talk face-to-face with. There are certain people I’ve come to avoid because their teeth just completely gross me out (not friends, but store clerks, etc.). We were at a party a couple of years ago at some friends’ house and I was sitting next to a guy with bleeding gums. I’m dead serious. I completely lost my apetite and there was just no polite way to get up and move to the other side of the room. Ugh, my stomach still turns just thinking about it!!

    Okay, that was a total aside. Sorry to put you through that. I love the red and blue kitties. Focusing on cute red and blue kitties….

  6. I can see his tongue, but I look for weird things like that in kids. I’m also obsessive about ears.

    This is a great practice and I love how you explain what to look for and how to talk when helping the child.

  7. I just tried this out on my 3.5 year old. We’ve got lots of practicing to do. Good thing she likes cats.

  8. Funny comic and great tip. Also like your little kitty diddy. Very cute.

  9. What would Dr. Seuss say about your kitties!? You could do “one bat, two bats, red bats, blue bats” or “hats” or “rats” or … ok maybe not rats… 😛 ~Jen

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