Lisp Speech Therapy – Tongue Placement Exercises to Help Reduce a Lisp
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who has a lisp? Perhaps you have had a conversation with a person with a frontal or lateral lisp. A lisp is described as excessive air escaping through the front of the mouth when a person produce certain speech sounds. This may remind you of certain cartoon characters. Frontal and lateral lisps can be frustrating to the listener and speaker because of the adverse affect it may have on the conversations or the messages the speaker is trying to convey.
Speakers with lisps may have had speech therapy to correct the lisp when they were school-aged. However, it may have not been a major concern when they were children to correct their speech pattern. Therefore, as a child she/he did not practice the therapy techniques given by their school’s speech-language pathologist.
Now, as an adult, they have experienced the restrictions that a frontal or lateral lisp may have on their communication performance. Having a lisp can keep you from getting your dream job, such as, a public speaker, commentator, receptionist, and other professional careers that require speaking to a mass of people. Having a lisp may even be a deterrent when dating. So you see, a lisp can have a negative impact on your overall communication performance.
You may have developed a lisp because of misalignment of your tongue or teeth. Whatever the cause may be, you have developed and continued a habit that has a negative impact on your speaking skills. So how do you correct this negative habit? You may seek your old notes and techniques provided by your school’s speech-language pathologist many years ago. Or, you can consult with a speech-language pathologist to talk about your communication difficulty and how it has prevented you from getting certain jobs. The speech-language pathologist may recommend a speech evaluation to determine the cause of your communication problem. Speech habits can be changed if you work diligently towards accomplishing targeted speech goal(s).
Self Development: “a personal and professional investment.”
Investing in your human communication skills may help you decrease your lisp and maximize opportunities.
Here are 6 steps that may help you reduce your lisp:
1. When your tongue is in the resting position, it should be behind the front top teeth or the front bottom teeth. Your tongue should never rest between your teeth. The only time your tongue should protrude between your teeth is when you are producing words with the /th/ sound, such as “think” and “thank you.”
2. In the resting position, your mouth should be closed and tongue behind your teeth or hard palate, unless you have some kind of medical ailment.
3. Use a straw as much as possible to drink your beverages, however, drinking from a straw can cause gas. Using a straw may help with motor movement and muscle memory. When using a straw your tongue should not protrude forward.
4. Practice picking up a cheerio with the tip of your tongue and placing the cheerio on your hard palate (the top of your mouth behind your teeth), holding it until it dissolves. This exercise is a muscle memory exercise.
5. Practice holding your tongue back when you speak at all times but not with the /th/ sounds. The /th/ sound is the only sound in American English that the tongue comes between your teeth.
6. When producing the /s/ sound at the beginning and ending of words, practice clenching your top and bottom teeth together so that your tongue does not protrude between your teeth. Remember, the only time your tongue should come between your teeth is when you are producing the /th/ sound.
These exercises may reduce your lisp to a minimal thus reducing “noise pollution” so that you may effectively convey your thought or message.
For further information on this matter, please contact a speech-language pathologist to discuss the best strategies to solve your problem.
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