Tag Archives: s sound

S Cluster Therapy Ideas

Here are some great ideas for working on s clusters! They were submitted by Angel Reaux, a graduate student at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Thank you, Angel!

  • Use I Spy books or puzzles or put pictures of s cluster objects on the wall and play “I Spy” games.
  • Use a puppet spider and have the child say “Ms. Spider” instead of “Mother May I” when asking to do something. For example, “Ms. Spider, may I take 2 steps forward?”.
  • Use pictures of a stop sign, go sign, school, and a school bus attached to popsicle sticks and play a game. Stand far away from the child and have the child tell you when to go and stop. If the child says “top” instead of “stop”, keep going. Keep moving forward until you reach the school (child).

I have more ideas and printable materials available in my S Clusters Basic Set and S Clusters Expansion Set at: http://www.speechtherapyideas.com/products/

Becky Wanca

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Interdental Lisping

What is it?

Interdental lisping is when the tongue protrudes between the front teeth when producing /s/ or /z/, resulting in a “th” sound.  The /s/ becomes a voiceless “th”, as in “think”, and the /z/ becomes a voiced “th”, as in “those”.  Interdental lisping, also be known as “frontal lisping”, is a normal developmental phase that some children go through.  Because of this, if a person continues this pattern of speech past the age when most have outgrown it (around 4 ½ years old), his speech may be perceived as juvenile. 

What about other interdental sounds?

Other sounds may be produced with a protruding tongue as well.  Most commonly, lingual protrusion during the “sh”, “zh” (as in “equation”), “ch” and “j” sounds may accompany the interdental lisping of /s/ and /z/. 

In addition, lingual alveolar sounds (i.e., /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/) that should be produced with the tongue on the alveolar ridge may be produced with the tongue protruding between the front teeth.


What can I do to work on interdentalized /s/ and /z/? 

1.   Establish auditory discrimination

2.   Provide focused auditory input.

3.   Get correct production of /s/ in isolation.

4.   Move through the hierarchy of production levels (syllables, words, phrases/sentences, reading activities, and conversational speech) with the sound in each position.  Note:  For lisping, I prefer to start with /s/ in the initial position.


Want to know more?

Detailed instructions for working on interdentalized /s/ and /z/, printable materials, and activity ideas are coming soon in the June email.  Make sure you get yours!  Enter and activate your email address here before the end of the month and receive: 

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Sam the Snake- A friendly little therapy helper

Who is Sam?

“Ssssam” is my new best friend for working on the “s” sound with children.  He is simply a sock puppet that I made with my sons and recently took to work.  And he was a hit!


What do you do with Sam?

I use Sam is different ways depending on the child I am working with.

• For the child who is stopping “s” as “t”, I use him to get production of the “s” sound in isolation.
• For the child who is “lisping”, I use him to demonstrate keeping the tongue “put away” by tucking Sam’s tongue underneath him.  The child helps “teach” Sam and can “catch” Sam with his tongue out, which works on awareness.

The beauty of Sam is that the children put him on and demonstrate the therapy goal.  And they have fun doing it!


How do I make one?

This is the easy and fun part, and can even become a therapy activity.

Sock (ladies’ socks are a good size)
Eyes (googly eyes or paint)
Red felt (very little is needed)
Glue (fabric glue is best)
Decorations, optional

1. Cut the red felt into a forked tongue shape, leaving a long base for gluing to the sock.
2. Glue the eyes (or paint them) on the “top” of the sock near the toe end.
3. Glue the tongue underneath the toe end of the sock.
4. Decorate with paint, thin ribbons, or other decorations, keeping in mind that the sock will stretch when put on the hand.

There you have it!  A fun, inexpensive therapy tool!


For a printable download of step-by-step directions with pictures, click on the link below.


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“S”- The Super Sound

I actually get excited about working on the “s” sound with children!  It’s really a “super sound” that when corrected can dramatically improve a child’s speech.  So, if you have clients that are stopping, deleting, lisping, or otherwise distorting /s/, get excited about the difference you can make!

Why is /s/ such a super sound?

It is powerful!  The “s” sound can completely change the meaning of a word or message.  For example…

• if a child is “stopping” the “s” sound (usually substituting /t/ for /s/), the word “sold” becomes “told”.  The sentence, “He sold it to her” would become “He told it to her,” which is completely different.
• if a child is leaving off the “s” at the ends of words, many important grammatical markers are lost, such as plural “s”, possessive “s”, as well as the “s” that indicates present tense verbs (e.g., The boy walks.).  You can help his expressive language skills while working on articulation.

It occurs often!  The “s” sound is one of the most frequently used sounds, which means correcting it can dramatically increase the intelligibility of a child’s speech.

What can I do to work on the “s” sound?

• Determine the problem.  Although the basic steps are the same, your course of action will vary depending on if the client is stopping, deleting, lisping, or otherwise distorting /s/.

• Consider the client’s age.  This may be obvious, but your course of therapy and activities will not be the same for a five year old as it is for a high school senior.

 Follow the basic steps.  Figure out which step your client is currently having trouble with and start there.  When he is successful, move to the next step. 

1. Obtain airflow.
2. Establish auditory discrimination.
3. Get correct production of /s/ in isolation.
4. Move through the hierarchy of production levels (syllables, words, phrases/sentences, reading activities, and conversational speech) with the sound in each position.  Note:  I prefer to start with /s/ in the final position, move to the initial position, and then tackle medial /s/.

As many of you know, it takes time and practice for a child to move through these levels.  Make it fun, stick with it, and track your progress. 

You’ll be amazed at the difference one sound can make!

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