My friend Diane told me that you have been exploring alternate tongue positions for sibilants and recommended that I ask you the following question: Assuming there are no airway issues, how important is it to correct the resting posture of the tongue in order to enable correct production of sibilants?
I am working with a seven year-old boy with a perpetually low resting posture of his tongue. He keeps his lips closed at rest, but his tongue is quite lax while he speaks, and it affects his /s/ (frontal lisp), /r/ (vowelized), and /l/ (imprecise). We have done the straw program and he is capable of producing a good /s/, but I just have a concern that with his tongue lying around at the bottom of his mouth, he will not conquer the /s/ in his spontaneous speech. In discussing this with Di, she posited that you might have an opinion on my question.
I’d appreciate your thoughts when you get a chance.
I am so pleased Diane suggested you email me as she is correct, I have been very interested in tongue tip position for the standard production of /s/ and /z/.
It is important to teach the tip to elevate and depress in order to move fluidly within the oral cavity. Using the straw hierarchy will result in retraction but will not improve tip mobility. You may want to look at the tongue tip tools which teach lateralization of the tip and tongue tip elevation/depression.
Once a child has those skills he will be able to show you which position is right for him. Do you have a copy of my book Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding? In it I list the sequence of activities to ensure the oral skills are adequate to produce the /s/ and /z/ in addition to the other sounds you say this child is having trouble producing.
I hope this answers your question and have a nice day,