Is lisping normal for toddlers?

Q: My daughter is 2 years old and has a bit of a lisp. Does she need a speech therapist?

A: Articulation concerns are common among parents. Acquisition of language sounds is expected along a continuum based on age, placement of tongue, generation of sound location and coordination.

There’s also quite a range of anticipated “normal” ages for kids to acquire those sounds. Since hearing sounds clearly is needed in order to speak sounds clearly, any speech concern should prompt a hearing evaluation.

Lisps are often developmental and are usually outgrown by age 5 but may persist until age 8. Lisps typically occur around the S, Z, and TH sounds with air escaping around the tongue.

If kids are still having trouble with this by kindergarten, it’s a good idea to be assessed by a speech therapist as it may be more difficult to correct later. Additionally, by age 8, other children may have noted your child’s lisp and be inclined to point out the difference in articulation.

So, think of that lisp at age 2 as just plain normal and adorable!

For now, here's a timeline for typical speech sound development. Though it's a bit dated (1972), it can give you an idea of which sounds might come first (and last)!