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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 side lisp. A lisp is described as excessive air escaping from the front of the mouth when a person produces certain speech sounds. This may remind you of certain cartoon characters. Front and side lisps can be frustrating for both the listener and the speaker due to the opposite effect it can have on conversations or on the messages the speaker is trying to convey.

Speakers with a lisp may have received speech therapy to correct the lisp when they were school age. However, it may not have been much of a concern as a child to correct their speech pattern. Therefore, as a child, he did not practice the therapy techniques taught by his school’s speech-language pathologist.

Now, as an adult, you have experienced the restrictions that a frontal or lateral lisp can have on your communication performance. Having a lisp can prevent you from landing your dream job, such as a public speaker, commentator, receptionist, and other careers that require speaking to a large number of people. Having a lisp can even be a discovery when dating. As you can see, a lisp can have a negative impact on your overall communication performance.

You may have developed a lisp due to misalignment of your tongue or teeth. Whatever the cause, you have developed and continued a habit that has a negative impact on your speaking abilities. So how do you correct this negative habit? You can look up your old notes and techniques provided by your school’s speech-language pathologist many years ago. Or, you can see a speech-language pathologist to discuss your communication difficulties 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 to achieve specific speech goals.

Self-development: “a personal and professional investment”.

Investing in your human communication skills can help you lessen your lisp and maximize opportunities.

Here are 6 steps that can help you reduce your lisp:

1. When your tongue is in the rest position, it should be behind either the upper front teeth or the lower front teeth. Your tongue should never rest between your teeth. The only time the tongue should protrude between the teeth is when producing words with the /th/ sound, such as “think” and “thank you.”

2. In the resting position, your mouth should be closed and your tongue behind your teeth or hard palate, unless you have some type of medical condition.

3. Use a straw as much as possible to drink your beverages, however drinking through a straw can cause gas. Using a straw can help with motor movement and muscle memory. When using a straw, your tongue should not stick out.

4. Practice taking 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 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 gets between the teeth.

6. When producing the /s/ sound at the beginning and end of words, practice clenching your upper and lower teeth so that your tongue does not protrude between your teeth. Remember, the only time your tongue should be between your teeth is when you are producing the /th/ sound.

These exercises can keep your lisp to a minimum, thereby reducing “noise pollution” so you can effectively get your thought or message across.

For more information on this matter, please contact a speech-language pathologist to discuss the best strategies to resolve your problem.

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