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8yo with a lisp: should I look to a SALT or a voice/ drama coach?

(7 Posts)
5ChildrenandIt Thu 08-Jan-15 10:52:16

He was a very late talker - but 2 years ago was discharged from NHS speech therapy as 'fixed'. He talks fluently now - and can produce all the sounds - but he can be quite difficult to understand, because he has a mild lisp, as well as the family tendency to fast talking. He is also quite shy - and overall I have decided to ringfence some budget to get him some professional support.

In honesty - I'm not sure how much difference speech therapy made. The vast majority of the workload was practising at home daily - and it was very dull drilling the sounds. We obviously persevered - but even aged 5/6 he was becoming resistant to doing drills. I thought about a speech coach as someone who might be able to provide more holistic support - develop his clarity of speech, his confidence in projecting his voice, and encourage him to learn poetry/drama. However - I don't know if I'm being naive about expecting someone to give DS 'therapy on the sly' when that is not what they're trained in.

Any experiences appreciated!

MrsTawdry Thu 08-Jan-15 11:46:57

A mild lisp should not make him difficult to understand. Are you sure there aren't other issues which maybe you've become used to? I had a mild lisp as a child and it wasn't until I went to drama school aged 20 that it got fixed. I was given various exercises to do...it comes out when I'm tired still but I am and always have been understandable.

Recitation can be a very good...and creative way to improve children's speech. I had a friend with a problematic "r" and his Mother sent him off to do recitation and a year later he was winning all he entered!

5ChildrenandIt Thu 08-Jan-15 12:07:48

School say he's fine - but I've seen myself when his friends have to ask him to repeat.

5ChildrenandIt Thu 08-Jan-15 12:14:31

I re-referred him for SLT 18 months ago - and it was not taken further after the initial assessment - but I don't know if budget constraints mean that the threshold for NHS intervention is higher - and a private SALT.

'Race' comes out as 'Wais' and 's' sounds in the middle of words get articulated as 'th' (though 's' at the start and end of words is arriculated correctly). Might be other stuff going on too - but that's what I was describing as a lisp.

Merrow Thu 08-Jan-15 12:22:36

I was similar as a child, although a slightly different issue than a lisp, and had countless hours of speech therapy (which I hated). I probably was in speech therapy from the age of 3-8, when my mum decided that if it hadn't worked by then it wasn't going to. The one thing that worked well for me was a complete accident - I started singing lessons when I was at secondary school and for the first time it felt like I actually knew how to make the right shapes for the sounds I was trying to achieve. The singing teacher was really good - actually wanted to a teacher rather than someone doing lessons while trying to have a singing career - and she mentioned that she actually had a lot of students that had been sent to her and had improved when speech therapy had done nothing. I can't say it was a magic fix, but I certainly struggled a lot less after that and had a greater awareness of when I wasn't pronouncing things quite right. Actually working towards something I was enjoying rather than just mindlessly repeating things or having the humiliation of failing, once again, to properly recite a tongue twister was also a nice change!

MrsTawdry Thu 08-Jan-15 12:22:36

Ah...so a lisp and an R pronounced wrongly are two different things. A lisp is "th" instead of S and the W problem is called rhotacism I think.

If you can afford private, I would go for that.

5ChildrenandIt Thu 08-Jan-15 13:16:57

Sounds like there is lots of support for the voice/drama coaching route?

He sings a little bit with his piano lessons - but I think his shyness holds him back - but he does enjoy reading - so I was kind of imagining him learning to recite poetry etc. - and through that learning to correct his speech, and generally modulate his voice.

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