Task Analysis (How To):
- Assess /s/ and /z/ Words: First, let’s find out if the child can say any /s/ or /z/ words without lisping. Some children will naturally have a facilitating context where they can already say the word. For this, just have the child say a big long list of /s/ and /z/ words.
- Sound in Isolation: Help the child produce the /s/ or /z/ sound in isolation without lisping. You can use any facilitating contexts that you found in the last step or use some elicitation techniques.
- Sound in Syllables: Pair the newly discovered /s/ or /z/ sound with vowels to make nonsense syllables
- Sound in Words: Moving on up! Time to try that sound in some single words
- Sound in Sentences: Practice the sound in words in sentences. Make sure you’re practicing the sound in a variety of word positions.
- Work on the Other Sound: Now that the child has mastered one of those sounds in sentences, go back and work on the other one from the start. If the child was able to do /s/ to begin with, go back and work on /z/ now in isolation and move through the steps again.
- Sounds in Conversation: Once the child can say both sounds in sentences, time to start working on it in conversation. Start with structured conversation and then move up to unstructured conversation.
Here’s a quick list of /s/ and /z/ words (and some others for lateral lisps) so you can run the child through a bunch of words. Maybe one will be easy enough that you’ll have a good non-lisped /s/ or /z/ to start from!
Try to find a word or context that the child can use the /s/ or /z/ sound in correctly and build from there. However, if the child does not already have a natural /s/ or /z/, try some elicitation techniques:
Full hour-long webinar recording from Laura Powell where she shows her tips for correcting the frontal /s/
Now I don’t know of any research that specifies when you must do this step, but this is the timing that has worked for me in the past. I’ve helped the child get to the sentence level with one sound before going back to the other. You can always do them simultaneously or just see how your client is doing. If you seem to get stuck at a step earlier than this, go back and try the other sound a little sooner. Individualize this to what your client needs.
Let’s try some of these simple structured conversation prompts to practice the sound in a more complex environment:
Now comes the hard part, getting them to do it the rest of the time in every-day conversation!
What do you do if these things don’t work the way they’re supposed to? Well, nothing’s ever easy, is it? Try these great troubleshooting tips that some of our other members have found helpful. Click the problem to drop down the link to the solution.
If a child is producing /t/, /d/ or /n/ with an incorrect tongue position, it may be affecting his/her ability to produce the /s/, /z/, and other sounds correctly. Learn how to establish proper position for /t/, /d/, and /n/ so you can have a strong foundation upon which to target more difficult sounds: