Ten Challenges Facing People who lisp



Written by: Caylen Walker / Lisp / April, 2018

Do you have a lisp? Or, does someone you know lisp? Either way, this blog post provides helpful insight into ten challenges facing people who lisp. 

Whether an individual has accepted their lisp as a part of their unique identity, is working to become more accepting, or wishes to change it, this information is applicable. 

It's also important that all members of society consider the challenges facing someone who lisps, so everyone can be as informed as possible, making the world a more accepting and inclusive place.


These challenges may not be relevant to everyone, however it can be some helpful food-for-thought. 

Here is a list of our ten challenges facing people who lisp.

Societal Lack of Understanding

It is uncommon for an individual who does not have a lisp, to truly understand lisping - unless they are a speech therapist. Many people have misconceived notions of what a lisp is.

To briefly answer the question: what is a lisp: a lisp is a speech impediment described by the misarticulation of sibilant sounds. There are many different types of lisps, which are characterized by where the tongue is placed in the mouth when producing these ‘hissy’ sounds. Our blog called, Lisp Therapy for Adults outlines these different types. 

Temporary Lisps

Many dental conditions or devices can cause temporary lisps. Overbites and underbites are examples of conditions that can cause lisped speech, as can braces and retainers.

Some people may think that lisps can only be caused by these temporary situations which is not the case; many people live with lisps their whole lives - often happily!


We, as humans, have a tendency to compare. It is in our nature to view ourselves in reference to others. This is problematic in many aspects of our lives, from unrealistic beauty standards, to the way we feel about our careers, to the way we sound and speak. Some people who lisp will compare themselves to people who do not lisp. 

Envy is an often a difficult emotion control. But, if individuals work to modify envious thoughts by instead identifying role models who speak and communicate in a way we admire, then this can be a motivational tool to help us achieve our goals!

Media Portrayal

Media has often used lisps in a humorous, misconceived way, especially in dated contexts. Historically, this is type of representation can be upsetting.

Today however, we have an ever-increasing presence of proud, successful, and respected individuals with lisps in the media. The list includes Jay Leno, Drew Barrymore, Michael Phelps, and Sean Connery to name a few - take that Daffy Duck!

Reduced Confidence

Tasks such as giving presentations or public speaking can be intimidating for anyone, and even more so for people with speech impediments. Being self-conscious about the way one sounds carries into almost every communicative situation in life has the capacity to stress levels.

By working with speech therapists or developing personal coping strategies, stress can be reduced to manageable levels, with increased comfortability in situations that require communication and interaction.

Perceived Lack of Solution

A lisp is most definitely able to be corrected if an individual wishes to lose it. Speech therapists are trained to help people achieve their speech goals and can provide therapy plans that will minimize lisps for their clients by working with them to improve proper tongue placement and movement during speech.

"It's too late to fix it"

You may be familiar with the phrase, "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks" and we know this is a myth, and this is no exception!

Consider correcting a lisp as similar to learning a new language; it may be easier as a child, but it’s still possible at any point in your life!

Fear of Spray

In some situations, tongue placement during speech may actually result in the occasional spray of saliva while producing the affected sounds. This is a completely normal and unintentional phenomenon that is simply caused by the anatomical position of your speech articulators during production. 

It’s nothing to be alarmed by - people without lisps do this too!

Fear of Sounding Unprofessional

Stigmatizations surrounding how we sound are incredible unfortunate regarding how people are perceived in the workplace. At the end of the day, our accents, articulation, and tonality are not indicators of our intelligence or professional competence. 

Of course, if you feel your lisp is posing a barrier to self-confidence or professional development, we can help.

Achieving Acceptance

Many people choose not to seek speech therapy to get rid of their lisp, and that’s okay! Lisping itself doesn’t impose any health or lifestyle dangers to the individual, thus therapy is a matter of personal preferences and goals. Whether you choose to pursue speech therapy or not, it’s essential to understand that our individual differences make us unique and contribute to who we are as people.

The presence of a speech impediment of any kind can pose challenges to an individual. The role of speech therapists is to ensure clients are as happy as possible with the way they sound and enable them to achieve the communicative abilities they desire.

By addressing the hurdles discussed here, speech therapists help people to lose, manage or accept their lisps and the way they sound, ultimately improving their quality of life. 

For more information, please don't hesitate to email our Director of Service, Lindsay Daniels: lindsay@torontospeechtherapy.com or give us a call at the clinic: 647-795-5277.