Q: How long should it take to establish midline airstream when a client has a lateral lisp?
This depends upon what you are talking about. Are you trying to figure out how long it should take you to obtain the client’s first midline sibilant, or to finish the entire program?
To be very honest, an SLP with no specific training on how to treat a lateral lisp may NEVER figure out how to get a correct set of midline sibilant sounds out of his/her client. The client may remain in therapy for years with no change.
On the other hand, an SLP with good training, or one who also has figured this out on his/her own, can get a good S, TS, Sh, or Ch out of a client in about five minutes. This depends on the therapist’s skill.
The finishing of the program can take a long time, however. Once a client has produced the first sound correctly, it can take more than a full calendar year to fix the entire system all the way through to complete carryover.
However!! I have seen kids fix up all six lateral sibilants in one week! The rate of change all depends upon the following:
- Does the SLP know what s/he is doing?
- Does the client have the cognitive skills to understand what is going on?
- Does the client have the auditory discriminations skills to do the work?
- Does the client have the oral-motor skills to achieve the positions?
- Does the SLP know how to train the positions if the client can’t do them?
- Does the client have the motivation to change?
If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”, then therapy should go very fast.
If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, (especially #1 and #5), then this can take a very long time, and some clients will never fix their lateral lisp.