|Here's Mr Tongue (and static hair!)|
I raised it with the nursery school at the end of last year but they said it often corrects itself and they wouldn't do anything about it at that point but would monitor it. When she returned to school in January, they immediately informed me that they had spoken to their SENCO to arrange for some exercises for her to do to help correct it.
She now is enjoying Mr Tongue exercises which she has huge fun with. This is a gentle way her nursery teachers help her with her lisp without pointing it out to much to her. She is fully aware though that she struggles with some words and we all giggle about it at times. She's not hung up about it at all.
The Mr Tongue exercises are nice in that they introduce her to her tongue (sticking it out and in), his house (her mouth) and his windows (her teeth) and where he should be when she's saying certain sounds. She gets to have one-to-one time quietly with one of the nursery teachers and colour in the picture for each weeks exercises. She said to me that she is the only girl who has a Mr Tongue book and she is very proud of this fact.
It is always a tricky thing when you notice your child has a lisp. You don't want to point it out to them too much but, at the same time, you do want to help them correct their pronunciation. After all, we don't want her to turn into Ceaser from Life of Brian do we.
The type of things S struggles with are:
TR - this becomes P ('trick' sounds like 'prick')
TH - this becomes F ('think' sounds like 'fink')
S - this, ironically, can become TH ('sister' sounds like 'thister')
It seems that she pushes her tongue in front of her teeth a lot of the time when she speaks, creating this mispronunciation. A strange but true trick for the S is to get her to do the biggest smile and while smiling, say the S word. That way she does indeed say 'sister'. So, it's all about learning how to control that tongue and keeping it where it should be.
I have read some utterly ridiculous statements that having a dummy or sucking their thumb can cause a lisp. Rubbish is my conclusion. My eldest daughter sucked her thumb up until she was about 8 years old and she doesn't lisp.
Obviously some lisps are caused by malformations in the mouth or 'tongue tie' but this isn't the case for us. Whatever type of lisp it is, it's a functional speech disorder that (a) many children will naturally grow out of or (b) will need a little assistance along the way with some level of speech therapy. Apparently, it's never too late to correct a lisp too so that's encouraging. If Sir Winston Churchill can have a lisp and make all the speeches he did, there's not too much to worry about now is there.
I will keep you posted as to how S gets along. I have already spoken to her new school to inform them of her lisp so they will continue working with her when she starts in September.