How to treat the lateral lisp?

Wow!  It has been since September of 2014 that I wrote a blog post (not in reference to speech though…more about thoughts on life)…and it has been over a year since I posted anything related to speech and language…ahh!

Over the past year I have been taking courses, reading, studying, and learning anything I can about feeding concerns related to toddlers who present with significant aversions to textured foods…and really making it my primary focus for therapy.  It has been so rewarding to help the many mamas out there with little ones who really will not move past the Stage One and Stage Two baby foods.  I look forward to writing a post about JM…who came to me only nursing (at the time he was 18 months of age)…with a diagnosis of failure to thrive and at great risk for a G-tube due to limited nutritional intake, only nursing, and complete refusal to have anything at all near his mouth or in his mouth (except when he nursed).  How scary for the mama!  She said to me: what if I get sick?…what if I was ever hospitalized?  Scary!

The doctors recommended that she just stop nursing him…and said “eventually he will be so hungry…he will eat”.  I have found with the children I work with…that kids will not eat what they do not want to eat ( I sure as heck do not!)…and more importantly they will not eat what they CAN NOT eat due to significant feeding aversions. They do not have typical hunger cycles like we do…and sometimes they actually are not hungry for longer periods of time.  Ok…well I have really diverged from the topic of today’s blog post…and will be sure to come back to this at a later date.  But am thrilled to say..that JM is now eating all table foods, drinking from a straw and trying all new foods (the youngest of four he eats better than all of them!).



(great to see a messy eater!)

Well my connection with JM…actually connected me to another mama…she too has a little one with feeding concerns…when reading my blog she indicated that she was looking for information regarding her older son and how to help him with his lateral lisp.  So I write this blog post for her!

I would like to start off  by indicating that there are four types of lisps:

1. Palatal lisp:this in when your tongue hits the soft palate (velum) while making the /s/ and /z/ sound.

2.  Lateral lisp: this is when air escapes out of the sides of the tongue

3. Dentalized lisp: when your tongue hits the teeth during production of the /s/ and /z/  sounds

4. Interdental lisp: when your tongue goes between your front teeth and produces the TH sound for the /s/ and /z/ sounds.

*It should be noted that the palatal and lateral lisp are not typical developmental errors.  Children will not just “grow out” these errors.  If you note that your child has either of the two it is suggested that you investigate private therapy.

Strategies for lateral lisp:

This is a very simple strategy that I use during therapy (but refer to you to the link below for more comprehensive information regarding treating the lateral lisp).

Have your child produce the T sound.  In general the placement for the T sound is the same for the S sound.  I ask the child to produce the T sound repetitively and fast: TTTTTTTTTTTTTTT…which will then shape the T sound into the S.  As you quickly repeat the T sound…you can actually “slide” it into the S sound.  Try it and you will see that you have produced the S sound.

Now for more of the comprehensive information.  Dr. Caroline Bowen…..I had the pleasure of having many conversations with her over email and Twitter last year.  She has an incredible website with a plethora of information.  I  frequent her website and share her site with others.  It is a fabulous resource and am thankful to have her site as a resource for me.

Dr. Bowen talks about using the Butterfly procedure:

The main idea for the “Butterfly Procedure” is that your tongue should be a representation of a butterfly.  The sides of your tongue are up just slightly like the wings on a butterfly..and the middle of your tongue the body of the butterfly. With the sides of your tongue touching slightly on the sides of your teeth…as air flow goes down the body of the tongue.  Your first step would be to have the child hold the position of the tongue for the E sound as in SEE or the I sound as in RIM…and then attempt for the S sound keeping the butterfly position with the tongue.

Dr. Bowen outlines ten steps….so for more information please click on the link above…as the above information was just a little synopsis.

Hope that was helpful!



About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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