When your child has a lisp, it might be adorable for the first few years of his or her life. It's childlike and innocent. However, when your child gets older and goes to school, then he or she might have a difficult time. Teachers and other kids might have a hard time understanding your child, the other kids might tease your child, and your child could start to stop participating in school as a result of his or her embarrassment.
Many schools have speech pathologists that they can send children to when they need help with speaking properly. This speech pathologist will give your child exercises to try in order to help him or her strengthen the muscles and learn the movements that are needed to create the various sounds. However, your child will need support outside of the speech pathologist. Here are some ways that you can help your child overcome his or her lisp.
1. Practice With Your Child
The first thing that you need to do is ask your child to explain to you, in detail, what his or her exercises are that he or she needs to practice. Let him or her be the expert in the exercises and you be the learner. Ask your child to watch your mouth to make sure that you are doing the exercises right and ask him or her to show you how to do it. Practice the exercises together whenever you can, whether you are in the car or making dinner. Try to make a game out of it. Your participation will make your child more likely to be willing to practice.
2. Read Out Loud
Read to your child every night. Once you find a story that he or she enjoys, ask him or her to read a chapter or two to you each night. Reading out loud will help your child practice without making it seem like a chore and will give him or her additional experience saying harder phrases in sentences, rather than just short exercises.
3. Keep Corrections to a Minimum
Finally, you want to make sure that you keep your corrections to a minimum. Do not correct your child for every sound he or she makes incorrectly because that will just make him or her defensive. Instead, keep your corrections to a minimum. Your home needs to be a safe space where your child can practice without feeling like he or she is constantly wrong.
Talk to your ear, nose, and throat doctor, like those at Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head, if your child's lisp does not go away through normal means. This might be indicative of a larger problem that requires surgery to correct.