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Different Types of Lisps and How to Treat Them

Lisps are common speech errors that can occur in any language and across all ages. There are a few different types of lisps, each with its own causes and treatment methods. In this blog post, we will discuss the three most common types of lisps: developmental, acquired, and functional. We will also discuss some tips for how to treat each type. Keep reading to learn what is a lisp!


In this article we will discuss:


What causes a lisp?

What is a lisp?

It is a speech error in which a person has difficulty producing the sounds /s/ and /z/. These sounds are produced by putting your tongue between your teeth and making a buzzing noise. But, children often substitute these sounds with other noises, such as saying “th” instead of /s/. This can make it difficult for others to understand what they are saying. It can occur in any language, but they are most common in English.

What causes a lisp?

There are a few different things that can cause it, including:

  1. Developmental issues. Developmental conditions such as cleft palate or cerebral palsy can cause a lisp.

  2. Incorrect dental alignment. Children with malocclusion or crooked teeth. Others with no front teeth may develop a lisp since it is difficult to produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds without teeth.

  3. Muscular weakness. Weakness in the muscles of the face can also cause a lisp. This can be due to conditions like Bell’s palsy or Parkinson’s disease.

  4. Injury. An injury to the tongue or teeth can also cause a lisp.

  5. Neurological conditions: certain neurological conditions, such as stroke, can cause a lisp.

  6. Anxiety and Stress. Sometimes, anxiety and stress can cause a lisp. This is more common in adults than children.

If you think you may have one of the mentioned causes, it’s important to see a speech therapist. A speech therapist will give an accurate diagnosis and find the best course of treatment.


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Main types of lisps


Developmental Lisps

Developmental lisps are the most common type of lisp and usually occur in children between the ages of 2 and 4. This type is typically not a cause for concern and will often go away on their own as the child’s speech develops.


If a child has a developmental lisp, there are a few things you can do to help them:

  1. Encourage your child to practice speaking in short, simple sentences.

  2. Model correct production of /s/ and /z/ sounds for your child.

  3. Encourage your child to use props when speaking, such as puppets or toys.

  4. Make sure your child is getting enough practice speaking.

If your child persists beyond the age of 4 or 5, you may want to consult a speech therapist.

Acquired lisps

Acquired lisps are less common than developmental lisps and usually occur in adults. What causes a lisp may include many things. This includes stroke, brain injury, and certain neurological conditions. Acquired lisps require speech therapy to correct.

If you have an acquired lisp, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

  1. Practice saying /s/ and /z/ sounds in isolation.

  2. Practice saying /s/ and /z/ sounds in words and sentences.

  3. Use props to help you produce the sounds, such as a straw or a toothbrush.

  4. Work with a speech therapist to correct your lisp.

how to know if you have a lisp

Functional lisps

Functional lisps are the least common type of lisp and usually occur in adults. What causes a lisp may include things like anxiety or stress. Functional lisps need speech therapy to correct. If you have a functional lisp, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

  1. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.

  2. Practice saying /s/ and /z/ sounds in isolation.

  3. Practice saying /s/ and /z/ sounds in words and sentences. Use props to help you produce the sounds, such as a straw or a toothbrush.

  4. Work with a speech therapist to correct your lisp.

There are also two other types of lisps: interdental and palatal.

Interdental lisps are the most common type of lisp and occur when the tongue protrudes between the teeth while producing /s/ and /z/ sounds. This may sound like they are saying “th” instead of “s” or “z”. Palatal lisps occur when the tongue raises up towards the hard palate while producing /s/ and /z/ sounds. This may sound as if they are saying “sh” instead of “s” or “ch” instead of “z”.


Treating Lisps

Now that we know what is a lisp and what causes a lisp, it is important to be able to identify the different types of lisps and how a lisp is treated in speech therapy. There are a few different ways to treat lisps, depending on the type you have. If you have a developmental lisp, there are a few things you can do at home to help your child:

  1. Model the correct way to say /s/ and /z/ sounds every day. This means that you should say the sound correctly and have your child imitate you.

  2. Make sure that the child is using a correct speech production when they say /s/ and /z/ sounds. This means that the airflow should be directed down the middle of their mouth, not out to the side.

  3. Correct the child’s speech errors in a positive and encouraging way. This means that you should not criticize or make fun of your child’s speech.

  4. Encourage the child will practice their /s/ and /z/ sounds often. This can be done by having them read aloud or play sound games such as “I Spy” with objects that start with “/s/ and /z/ sounds.

  5. Be patient! It takes time and practice for a child to learn how to produce speech sounds correctly.

Hard words to say with a lisp

There are a few hard words that you may have difficulty saying:

  1. ship

  2. sheep

  3. si

  4. says

  5. see

Words with 2 syllables are hard words to say with a lisp. This is because when you have, you have trouble pronouncing the letter “s.” Two-syllable words with the letter “s” in the middle are especially hard to say.


Some other hard words to say with a lisp include:

  1. Mississippi

  2. hassle

  3. desperate

  4. assist

  5. assassin

  6. passion

  7. transition

If you have a lisp, it’s important to practice saying these words. The more you practice, the easier it will be to say them correctly.


is a lisp a speech impediment

What can a speech therapist do?

Generally, speech therapy helps children with speech and/or language delays. A speech therapist by teaching them different sounds they are having a hard time producing. When children have a speech disorder such as a lisp, they teach them how it is said. A speech therapist can help you with your lisp in some ways. They can help you learn how to produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds correctly. They can also help you practice saying hard words.


When should I see a speech therapist?

If you have a lisp that is affecting your life in a negative way, it’s important to see a speech therapist. A speech therapist for lisp can help you learn how to correctly produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds. They can also help you with hard words to say with a lisp. Speech therapists can also help you with breathing and relaxation techniques. This can instantly lessen the stress and anxiety that a lisp can bring.


Techniques to treat a lisp

There are a few different techniques that you can use to treat a lisp. If you have a developmental lisp, there are a few things you can do at home to help your child:

Modeling the correct production

Model correct production of /s/ and /z/ sounds for your child. You can do this in front of the mirror, or you can have your child watch you make the sound. This will help your child learn how to correctly produce the sound.

  • For interdental lisps, one technique to try is to ask the child to slowly place the tongue at the back of the teeth instead of putting it between the teeth. This may help the child learn how to correctly produce the sound.

  • For palatal lisps, one technique is to have the child place their tongue on the roof of their mouth. Next, slowly move it forward and say /s/ and /z/ sounds. This may help the child learn how to correctly produce the sound.

Breathing and relaxation techniques

There are a few techniques that may help you. It can be causing you anxiety or stress, breathing and relaxation techniques may help you. There are a few different breathing exercises that you can try. You can also try relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation.


Encourage your child to use props when speaking

Encourage your child to use props when speaking, such as puppets or toys. This will help your child practice making the /s/ and /z/ sounds. Encourage your child to practice speaking in short, simple sentences. This will help your child get the practice they need to produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds correctly.


Speech therapists online

If you’re looking for speech therapists online, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Check with your local hospital or clinic. They may offer speech therapy services or be able to refer you to someone who does.

  2. Check with your insurance provider. They may have a list of speech therapists in your area that they cover.

  3. Do an online search for “speech therapist near me” or “speech therapy services near me.” This will give you a list of speech therapists in your area.

Give us a call! We would be happy to provide you with one of our speech therapists online!


What you can do at home

If you have a lisp, there are a few things you can do at home to help:

  1. Practice speaking in short, simple sentences.

  2. Model correct production of /s/ and /z/ sounds for yourself. You can do this in front of the mirror, or you can watch someone else make the sound.

  3. Encourage yourself to use props when speaking, such as puppets or toys. This will help you practice making the /s/ and /z/ sounds.

  4. Make sure you’re getting enough practice speaking. If it is causing you anxiety or stress, it’s important to get the practice you need to produce the /s/ and /z/ sounds correctly.

If you or someone you know experiences lisping, don’t worry! There are many different types of lisps and each has its own causes and treatment methods. With a little bit of help, anyone can overcome his/her difficulty and speak clearly and confidently. At Better Speech, we offer online speech therapy services convenient for you and tailored to your child's individual needs. Our services are affordable and effective - get Better Speech now.


 

About the Author

mike slp

Mikee Larrazabal


I am a Speech-Language Pathologist with 14 years of experience working with children and adults who have communication difficulties. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science at Cebu Doctors' University and have been helping people overcome their communication challenges ever since.


I have worked with individuals of different ages, including toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, adults and seniors. I'm passionate about speech therapy and take great satisfaction in helping people overcome their communication challenges and improve their lives through better communication skills. In my spare time I like reading books, going hiking in nature and taking care of my dog Locas.

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