Life with a Lisp



Written by: Michael Johnson / Lisp / March 2018

In our daily lives, we cannot avoid face-to-face communication. Inevitably, the world will hear the quality and clarity of our speech.

The trouble is, a difference in our speech, such as lisping, can lead the listener to make assumptions about our intelligence, our competence, and indeed, our ability to perform what is expected.

Lisping does not necessarily make a person less understandable. Rather, it can be a distraction that leads the listener to focus less on the content of the message and more on the assumptions the listener makes about the speaker.

In an interview, this can be the flaw that costs the applicant the position they desire and might, in fact, be the best qualified for even with a lisp.

In a study from 2013, Kate Saunders and Christian M. End asked a group of college aged students to rate the hire ability of actors pretending to have a lateral lisp. The study revealed a pattern of bias against the lisp actors for jobs that required greater communication skills.

On the other hand, the pretend job applicants who lisped were seen as equally qualified as non-lisping applicants when the job was a much less speech dependent position involving data collection.


In another, smaller and more remote study from 1977, frontal lisp speakers were rated by non-lisping judges in the areas of speaking ability, intelligence, education, masculinity and friendship. Compared to the non-lisping control subjects, lisping speakers were consistently rated lower across all five categories.

While there are many reasons to question this study, not the least of which is that culturally, much has changed in the past forty years, this raises the real possibility that people who lisp are forced to cope with bigotry.

It's very unfortunate that people who lisp are forced to cope with these judgements, however the good news is that lisping is habit that the professionals at Well Said are eminently qualified to address.

If you have any questions about lisp therapy, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial consultation. During this half-hour visit, we will meet with you to discuss your concerns, goals and explore some treatment options.