amijoni asks:

Should I be concerned about my 5 year old son's lisp and enunciation difficulties with certain letters?

I have a 5 year old son who has a fantastic vocabulary, speaks in full sentences, etc., but there are several letters which he does not say 'correctly' yet. His 'r' is made like in his throat, he has a lisp, and his 'l' sounds like 'w'. I'm sure when he is in kindergarten they will work with this, but now I'm realizing that I should have jumped on top of this earlier, or?? I do not like to draw attention to it, but I'm just thinking now that once he's in school there may even be some who ask him why he talks like this (hopefully not tease him ... he's pretty shy, but real comfortable with himself once he's warmed up to a new situation.) Should I be concerned?

In Topics: Speech and language issues
> 60 days ago

KidAngel writes:
Hi Amijoni,
NO, you should not be concerned at this age. You will see once he enters kindergarten that there are many other children that also have a little trouble with their letters and sounds. This is more common then you may think. Most children grow out of it with hearing the letters and sounds over and over again and practicing. If he continues the same speech patterns with no improvement and he reaches the 3rd grade the school should recommend a speech therapist to work with him. I myself had a lisp and finally in the 10th grade the school did get me a speech therapist and it basically was a matter of keeping my tongue down while I pronounced my "s". It took practice, once in a while I slip (if I'm tired) but it was never a huge issue. Relax! Your fun has just begun.

Barbara Antinoro
Educational Counselor
Kid Angel Foundation
> 60 days ago

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Dr.Teresa , Child Professional writes:
I am a speech-language pathologist and child development specialist and believe you may need your son evaluated and am concerned with the response from the educational counselor.

Her suggested that you not worry may be well intentioned, but she is speaking beyond her expertise (based on her response) and gave you bad advice.

Her response would be appropriate it your son was two, maybe three, but certainly not five years old.

Waiting until the third grade is very unwise.

Sounds are mastered at different developmental stages and there are very specific developmental patterns that sounds go through until a child attains mastery.

I am not terribly concerned about 'r'. His 'l' should be fairly good and I would like to see a nice 'w' in a five-year old.

You also need to consider how intelligible (understandable) his overall speech is. There may be other issues at play that require intervention.

The more concerning sound to me is the ‘s’. A lisp is never a part of normal development and generally needs intervention to correct. The counselor who was able to correct her lisp in the tenth grade is very lucky. I have a number of adults in my practice who, despite great efforts, cannot easily correct their lisp.

An ingrained motor patter is VERY hard to change.

I hope that you will seek the consult of a properly trained professional to this regard. That means an ASHA certified or state licensed speech-language pathologist.

Teresa M. Signorelli, PhD, CCC-SLP

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ilovechefwi... , Teacher, Caregiver writes:
As a special education teacher, I also agree with the speech pathologist.  I would contact your local school and see what services might currently be offered.  I know that as kindergartners in our school a teacher can recommend speech testing depending on the child.  If you have concerns talk with your teacher.  Good luck!  It looks like you are on the right track in noticing this!
> 60 days ago

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