Speech Therapy for Adults With Lisp

Speech Therapy for Adults With Lisp | District Speech Therapy Services Speech Language Pathologist Therapist Clinic Washington DC

If you have a lisp, you might spend time wondering if it’s too late to correct it.

This is a common feeling for adults with lisps.

The good news is that you can receive speech therapy for your lisp at any age.

There are many reasons why adults seek a speech therapist to help with their lisp.

You may feel that correcting your lisp will increase your confidence and improve your communication.

Whatever your reason for wanting to improve your lisp, speech therapy is a great option for adults with lisps.

What Is A Lisp?

When you have a lisp, this means that you have trouble producing the sounds ‘s’, ‘sh’, and ‘z’.

This means you may have more difficulty pronouncing words with the ‘s’, ‘sh’, or ‘z’ sounds.

A lisp typically stems from problems with articulation of speech.

Articulation is one component of speech that can affect how you sound, and how well others understand you.

RELATED: What Makes Your Speech Sound The Way It Does?

This is caused by incorrect placement of your tongue.

Your tongue is a very important part of producing speech.

This incorrect placement may be due to learned habits, but it may also be caused by another underlying disorder.

First, let’s take a closer look at the different types of lisps.

Types Of Lisps

There are four different types of lisps you may have.

How you address your speech concerns will depend on which type of lisp you have.

Let’s take a more in depth look at each kind of lisp.

Interdental Lisp

Interdental lisps are also called frontal lisps.

They are the most common type.

Someone with a frontal lisp pushes their tongue forward too far in their mouth.

This causes it to sit between your front teeth when you speak ‘s’ or ‘z’ sounds.

This tongue placement is why sounds are distorted.

Often, these ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds will come out as a ‘th’ sound instead.

Dental Lisp

If you have a dental lisp, your tongue rests on your two front teeth when you speak.

This is slightly different than an interdental lisp because your tongue doesn’t go between your teeth.

This means that the air is blocked at the furthest point forward in the mouth, which muffles the sound.

Lateral Lisp

One of the telltale signs of a lateral lisp is when it sounds like you have excess saliva in your mouth.

That sound happens because of how air escapes your mouth when you speak.

Air escapes over the sides of your tongue instead of through the front of your mouth.

Usually, this is because the sides of your tongue are raised more than they should be.

Otherwise, someone with a lateral lisp often has correct tongue placement.

Palatal Lisp

Having a palatal lisp means that air is blocked by your tongue at the hard or soft palate.

These are two areas on the roof of your mouth.

If you run your tongue along the roof of your mouth, you’ll first feel a hard area.

This is your hard palate.

If you move your tongue backward, towards your throat, it will change to a softer area.

This is your soft palate.

Palatal lisps are the least common type of lisp.

What Causes Adults to Lisp?

Adults lisp due to the incorrect motor pattern of their tongue positioning.

When you have a lisp, the position of your tongue distorts the airflow required to make sounds like ‘s’, ‘sh’, and ‘z’.

As with other adult communication challenges, there are several different factors that cause lisps in adults.

You may have learned incorrect ways of producing the ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds as a kid and never learned how to fix these incorrect habits.

Your tongue is a muscle, and just like a muscle it needs to be trained to work to the best of its ability.

But there are other possible factors, too.

We’ll explore some of these factors more in depth.

Tongue Ties

A tongue tie is a common reason why adults may have a lisp.

A tongue tie is where your tongue is attached to the bottom of your mouth by a tight band of tissue.

This prevents your tongue from moving the way it should, making it more difficult for you to pronounce certain sounds.

Tongue ties are typically present at birth and sometimes require surgery to correct.

Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is a type of orofacial myofunctional disorder that happens when your tongue protrudes farther forward than it should.

This will obstruct the airflow required to produce certain sounds.

The protrusion of your tongue may then impact your speech, eating, and swallowing.

RELATED: Getting A Better Understanding Of Tongue Thrust

Misaligned Jaw or Teeth

Another common reason for a lisp is having problems with the alignment of your jaw.

Your mouth’s range of motion depends on having a correctly aligned jaw.

If you have a misaligned jaw, you may experience problems saying sibilant words.

Sibilant words are words that require directing a stream of air toward your teeth using your tongue.

RELATED: How Do Your Teeth Affect Speech

This is why a misaligned jaw often results in a lisp.

Similarly, incorrectly aligned teeth can contribute to a lisp.

If you have an overbite, open bite, or space between your teeth that has never been corrected, this can make it more difficult for you to produce certain sounds.

How Do You Know If You Have A Lisp?

If you have a lisp, you should be able to both hear and feel it.

Try saying a word with a ‘s’ or ‘sh’ sound like the word “shoes.”

If you have a lisp, you may feel your tongue between your teeth as you make this sound.

Often, when people with a lisp try to say a word with ‘s’ or ‘sh’, it will come out sounding more like a ‘th’ sound.

For example, the word “shoes” might sound more like “thooth.”

Most adults with lisps are aware of their speech patterns.

Many adults don’t mind having a lisp and don’t feel like they need to fix it.

However, there are ways that having a lisp may be impacting your personal and professional life.

Adults who lisp may feel stigma surrounding how they speak.

If you are motivated to correct your lisp, speech therapy is a good option.

How Can Adult Speech Therapy for Lisp Help?

The goal of speech therapy for adults with lisps is to retrain the tongue to correctly position itself.

This helps you begin producing clear ‘s’, ‘sh’, and ‘z’ sounds.

If you feel that your lisp is impacting your quality of life, confidence, or career, starting speech therapy is a great first step to seeing speech improvements.

Seeking out speech therapy services for adults is a great first step towards improving your lisp.

A speech therapist will start with a speech evaluation to determine which type of lisp you have.

Once your type of lisp is determined, a speech therapist will give you strategies, techniques, and exercises to help retrain your facial muscles and learn how to better position your tongue.

They’ll even give you ways to practice outside of your speech therapy sessions.

Speech therapy for adults with lisps typically includes:

  • Speech therapist identifying the type of lisp you have
  • Listening to instructions on improving your tongue placement
  • Learning to control your facial muscles to produce a more accurate sound
  • Using sentences and conversation to practice target words
  • Practicing breath control
  • Practice with moving your tongue and lips in specific ways

Unlike children, adults are better able to understand how sounds are produced.

This is a benefit in speech therapy because you will be able to more easily understand how to retrain your facial muscles.

A speech therapist will assign you exercises to repeat over and over in several different contexts.

Exercises range from practicing specific words to repeating tongue twisters or performing various facial exercises.

The types of exercises your speech therapist assigns you will depend on the type of lisp you have and your individual progress.

Your speech therapist will repeatedly reassess your progress and adjust exercises continually to challenge you as your speech improves.

Throughout your speech therapy journey, you will become more aware of your speech and producing accurate sounds will begin to come more naturally.

RELATED: Speech Therapy Treatments For Children With Lisp

How Long Does Adult Speech Therapy for Lisping Take?

Everyone learns and improves at a different pace, so the length of your speech therapy journey will depend on several factors.

How long it takes will partially depend on how often you meet with a speech therapist and how much you prioritize practicing your speech at home.

When you put your best effort and focus into your sessions, you will see the most effective and productive improvements.

The more you practice at home, the quicker you will see results.

Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today

Whether you’re experiencing stigma or trouble personally or professionally, having a lisp can feel alienating.

If you have a lisp that you would like to correct, the quickest and most effective way to see improvements is through speech therapy.

At District Speech and Language Therapy, our team of therapists are experienced and trained in helping people improve their lisp.

Book your appointment with District Speech today.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, Suite 400 E,
Washington, DC 20005

- https://g.page/districtspeech

District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.