A frontal lisp is when the tongue protrudes through the front teeth, typically during the production of /s/ and /z/. This causes air to escape out, resulting in a sound distortion. Production of /s/ and /z/ will sound like the /th/ sound, ex. sun/thun. This articulation error is cute initially, but is no longer developmentally appropriate after 4 1/2 years old.
A child should receive a formal speech evaluation around the age of 4 1/2 years old if this error persists. Intervention should include awareness activities, strategies/techniques to elicit /s/ and /z/ sounds without tongue protrusion, drill activities, and self-monitoring skills.
Techniques that can be used in therapy and in the home environment include:
1) Ask child to close teeth, smile, and blow air out. This technique will teach child correct tongue placement.
2) Have the child use a mirror during practice to visually show child correct tongue placement
3) Ask child to produce /t/ sound and then hold the sound while blowing out air. This technique will elicit appropriate tongue placement.
4) Once the child is able to produce /s/ and /z/ correctly, drill and structured activities will be used so the child is given many opportunities to practice. The more the child practices the sooner the skill will be carried over into conversational speech.
Blog by: Mary Williams Anderson
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