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Lateral Lisps

February 17, 2003

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Question

I am struggling with my students that have lateral lisps. Frontal lisps seem fairly easy to understand and teach but I am struggling with eliminating airflow from the sides and directing it through the front. Do you have any good techniques that have wo

Answer

Incorrect tongue position and poor jaw stability are often the causes of the lateral lisp, however, other factors may play into the problem including, upper respiratory problems, dentition and sensory integration issues. Keep this in mind as you are choosing techniques to remediate the lateral lisp.

Using a bite block can help to stabilize the jaw by having the client bite softly down on the straw with side molars on the right or left side (Note: I use the smallest straw possible for the bite block--coffee or drink stirrers). Some clients exhibit too much tension initially, however with verbal and visual cues, you can assist in decreasing the tension. The bite block stabilizes the jaw immediately for some effective practice. If this does not improve /s/, /z/, 'ch', 'sh', 'j' strident sound productions, you will need to use the bite block in a central position by having the straw stick straight out of the client's mouth between the front teeth. Make sure the straw is within the oral cavity at least

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