Many people say a child “lisps” when they say “th” instead of “s” (eg. thing instead of sing).
Until children are about 3.5 years, it is normal for children not to be able to say their “s” sound correctly. After about 3.5 years, a lisp is not seen as a normal part of speech development, but as a speech error.
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 to say not only the “s” sound, but also 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 help 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.
We see many 25 year olds in our clinic who have lisped their whole lives and feel that it has negatively impacted their confidence and career prospects. The good news is, that with practice, motivation & a great speech therapist, most lisps are successfully treated.
Early intervention is best – the longer the habit remains, the more difficult it becomes to treat.
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.