Interdental Lisp: Speech tips from Early Start

Interdental Lisp

Have you noticed your child’s tongue poking out between their teeth during /s/ and /z/ sounds or have you been told your child has a lisp? Your child might say “thumb” for the word “some”.

See below some tips and tricks from our therapists on how you can help your child make clear sounding /s/ and /z/ sounds with their tongue in the right spot – behind their teeth! 

  • Tip 1 – Firstly, for an interdental lisp we LABEL THEIR NEW SOUND  – you can call it a ‘snake sound’! 
  • Tip 2 – TALK about and SHOW your child where your tongue should be for a correct /s/ and /z/ sound – behind your teeth 
      • Hide your tongue (keep the snake in it’s cage!)
      • Keep your teeth together
      • Don’t let your tongue escape 
  • Tip 3 – POSITIVE PRAISE – remember your child has been saying this sound for many years with their tongue escaping out between their teeth! 
      • Make sure you praise all attempts your child makes to do a good ‘snake sound’ – some feedback could be ‘great trying’ ‘you tried hard to keep your tongue behind your teeth then, well done’ ‘almost there, let’s try again’.   
      • If they are able to achieve the /s/ and /z/ sound with their tongue behind their teeth try some feedback such as ‘great snake sound, you kept your tongue behind your teeth that time, well done!’ ‘Good job, I didn’t see your tongue escape between your teeth’. 
      • When you are practicing with your child, you can watch yourselves in the mirror – model the correct ‘snake sound’ and provide feedback. 
      • You can record your child practicing on your phone and watch it back together. 

Contact your Speech Pathologist if you are concerned about your child’s speech and language skills. 

By Ella Bennett