Fun with Straws to Eliminate a Lateral Lisp

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Does your child lateralize any of the following sounds? /s/, /z/, /ch/, /sh/, /j/?

The main issue with a lateralized lisp is the sides of the tongue may not be high or tense enough in the mouth. Therefore, airflow during speech production comes out the sides of the oral cavity, rather than midline.

Cut off approximately 2 inches of a drinking straw. Have your child place the straw vertically so that the top of the straw is placed midline, touching his/her bottom lip. Have the child produce his/her targeted sound (i.e. /s/) until he/she can centralize all of the airflow through the straw. After a few trials, take the straw away and see if your child can self-monitor centralized airflow. When a lateralized production is made, always remind your child to use his/her “invisible straw” to help centralize airflow for the correct sound production.

More tips to make this technique stick!

-Produce a /t-t-t-t/ prior to the /s/ sound through the straw (i.e. t-t-t-ssssss). This will allow for proper tongue placement to control airflow.

-Need some visual feedback? Visual feedback will help your child to recognize and monitor when he/she is producing the sound with the correct or incorrect airflow. While your child is attempting to shape the airflow into the straw, place an ipad or mirror (anything that fogs up) underneath the straw. If the air is centralized, you should see the mirror/ipad glass fog up! Wow! Look at that! You made the airflow go down the middle and through the straw!

Alexis Granger M.A. CF-SLP TSSLD

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