From Isolated Phoneme to Conversation

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My client with a lateral lisp can produce /s/ in words but does not carry over to conversation. Are there strategies you would recommend?

You are expecting him to skip from words to conversation. It rarely happens that quickly. Help him build through the traditional sequence- words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and conversation. You are helping him gradually take control of his expressive speech. Be patient! This can take up to a year.

Make sure your practice material is void of sibilants other than the target. For example, when working on /s/, make sure there are no other sibilants other than the /s/ words you are targeting.


  • Target Phoneme: /s/
  • Word: Saw
  • Phrase: I saw.
  • Sentence: I saw a bike.
  • More Complex Sentence: I saw a bike on Satudray.
  • Even More Complex Sentence: I saw a bike with a new seat on Saturday.
  • Easy Paragraph: I saw a new bike on Saturday. It had a new seat. Sam rode it on the sidewalk. I want to put a new seat on my bike.
  • Difficult Paragraph: I spent Saturday at the museum. I rode my bike there. It has a new seat. I saw seven stegosaurus skeletons. I love dinosaurs! They also had a tyrannosaurus rex, a brontosaurus, and six scary skeletons of pterodactyls.

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