Among speech and language difficulties, lisping is one of the most prevalent and commonly observed. It results from a displacement of the tongue which elicits persistently mispronounced sounds. Altogether, there are four main kinds of lisp problems; the frontal lisp, the decentralized lisp, the palatal lisp, and the lateral lisp. Although a lisp can be caused by an oral malformation or injury, more typically it develops out of habit. Fortunately, given that this background has positive implications in terms of treatment, it’s possible to consider the challenge of how to get rid of a lisp with a degree of optimism.
Although a lisp is generally considered to be correctable, success remains contingent on the diligence by the patient. Although there’s an added emphasis on a patient’s self-discipline in scenarios where a self-help path to treatment is taken, personal accountability remains crucial even when professional help is sought. As a patient, it can be critical to identify which treatment path best aligns with your personal characteristics.
For those electing to seek the advice of a speech-language pathologist, such patients can rely on professional expertise to accurately identify their type of lisp and provide appropriate treatment techniques. A professionally endorsed treatment will be structured, to begin with, an assessment, before moving progressively through phases dedicated to self-awareness, tongue-position, words and phrases, and finally conversation.
For those embarking on the self-help route, the onus rests firmly on the individual to structure an effective program. There are numerous techniques which can be practiced freely from home. For example, for people struggling with a frontal lisp, a technique known as the smiling method can help alleviate symptoms.
The smiling method is straightforward to follow. To start off, simply smile, without clenching, and place the tongue against the roof of the mouth. Then, exhale through the smile and attempt to create an S sound. If the S sound remains elusive, try experimenting with the exact positioning of the tongue until the sweet spot is eventually located.
A similarly uncomplicated method can also help people struggling with a lateral lisp. According to this methodology, the patient will first need to move their tongue into what’s known as the butterfly position, which is the shape the tongue naturally takes when an elongated E or I sound is produced. Next, the patient should repeatedly practice contorting their tongue into the aforementioned butterfly position. Once this movement can be performed with a degree of alacrity, the patient should then move to exhale through the butterfly position while actively attempting to vocalize. With practice, this method should help the patient create an S sound.
It should be noted that if the self-help route fails to deliver the anticipated results, the option remains open for patients to seek professional assistance. However, irrespective of the remedial approach taken, it’s the dedication of the individual which plays a key role in any strategy on how to get rid of a lisp.