Don’t all children lisp?

Eastside SpeechFAQs

Don’t all children lisp? | Lisps In Toddlers | Eastside Speech Solutions

Many people will recognise a lisp in children and adults when they are unable to pronounce their ‘s’ or ‘z’ sound correctly. This is due to incorrect tongue placement in the mouth, which can lead to four different types of lisps:

  1. Frontal lisp: The tongue is too far forward in the mouth, making a ‘th’ sound (e.g. ‘thing’ instead of ‘sing’)
  2. Dentalised lisp: Sounds like a frontal lisp, with the tongue pressing against the teeth instead of pushing through the teeth
  3. Lateral lisp: Extra air flows around the tongue, making it sound ‘slushy’ or like there is excess saliva
  4. Palatal lisp: The tongue is too high when making ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds, touching the roof of the mouth

Until around 3.5 years of age, it is normal for children not to be able to say their ‘s’ sound correctly. After this time, a lisp is not seen as a normal part of speech development, and is considered a speech sound error.

What is lisp?

Lisp is a speech defect in which s is pronounced like th. Sometimes children are just unable to say their ‘s’ sound in words and phrases. Other times, children can have a general problem with moving the front of their tongue correctly, which impacts other sounds like t, d , n, ch, or j.

After about 3.5 years, children generally will not “grow out” of a lisp. It is important to seek speech therapy to treat a lisp before children start school, as it can have an impact on their literacy skills. It is very confusing for children to sound out ‘TH-U-N’ when they are reading the word ‘sun’!

It is safe to say that if your child has a lisp at age 5, they will still have it at 25. In our clinic, we see many adults who lisp and feel that it has negatively impacted their confidence and career prospects. This is why early intervention is always recommended – the longer the habit remains, the more difficult it becomes to treat. The good news is that with practice, motivation & a great speech therapist, most lisps are successfully treated.

Eastside Speech provides private one on one sessions of Speech Therapy for Toddlers and Preschoolers. Get in touch with one of our Speech Pathologists today on 02 9313 8980.