This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: I have a client who has what you call an “Omni Lisp” meaning that there is no central groove at all and the air comes out the entire front of the mouth from L to R. It sounds lateral because some of the sound is. I have tried your “Long T Method” with this client but it doesn’t seem to be as effective.
Have you listened to his T through the straw? I will bet it sounds flat and not very crisp. If so, this would tell be that he has poor tongue-tip control, and he can’t make it work cleanly enough either for T or Ts.
I have written a lot of tip stimulation techniques for my next book called The Marshalla Guide. Here are a few sections from that book that may help him with schematic illustrations below––
Dental Floss and Dental Pick for /S/ and Zz/ Groove
Dental floss or a dental pick can be used to teach a client how to create the minute central groove needed at the tip for production of /s/ and /z/––
- Knotted dental floss: Vaughn and Clark (1979) described this method. They said to tie a bundle of knots at the end of a piece of dental floss 15-inches long. Place the floss between the upper central incisors and pull it so that the knots sit on the lingual surfaces of the upper central incisors right at the juncture between the teeth and alveolar ridge. Teach the client to reach the tongue-tip up to the knot and tickle it with his tongue-tip. Then teach him to blow a tiny bit of air against the knot as he does so and a sound nearly like /s/ should result.
- Interdental picks: The above technique can be done with a dental pick today. Place the pick between the upper central incisors so that its tip pokes between them. The tip of the pick will stick out behind the upper central incisors and sit between the tongue-tip and the alveolar ridge. Teach the client to reach the tongue-tip up to the pick and tickle it with his tongue-tip. Then teach him to blow a tiny bit of air against the tip of the dental pick and a sound nearly like /s/ will result.
Vaughn, G. R., & Clark, R. M. (1979). Speech Facilitation: Extraoral and Intraoral Stimulation Technique for Improvement of Articulation Skills. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.