Hand Gestures for Sounds
Pairing a physical action with a sound makes it easier to say the sound. Having your child practice doing the action each time you say the sound, will make it easier for him to say the sound correctly in harder words. For some children the very action of doing something physical when trying to say the sound makes it easier. The following are the actions that I often suggest. The exact action itself isn’t that important. Do anything that your child can easily copy and that makes sense to him.
- /p/ & /b/. Place the tip of your index finger on your cheek and tap lightly as you say the /p/ sound. Use 2 fingers to tap lightly for the /b/ sound.
- /m/. Hold the tips of your index and middle fingers on your bottom lip.
- /w/. While your lips are rounded, trace a small circle with your index finger close to the lips.
- /sh/. Put your index finger vertically in front of your rounded lips.
Lip – Teeth Sounds
- /f/ & /v/. Place the tip of your index finger at the mid-point just below your bottom lip, press and hold for /f/; use index and middle fingers for /v/.
Tongue Tip Sounds
- /t/ & /d/. Place the tip of your index finger on the center section of your upper lip and tap lightly for the /t/ sound. Use 2 fingers for the /d/ sound.
- /n/. Place the tips of your index and middle fingers on your nose.
- /l/. Hold the tips of your index and middle fingers just above your upper lip.
- /s/ and /z/. For /s/ make your index finger slither through the air like a snake. Use index and middle fingers for /z/.
- /ch/ & /j/. Put your index finger and thumb at the corners of your mouth and press in slightly as if to purse your lips for /ch/. Use index and middle fingers along with the thumb to make /j/.
- /th/. Point to the tip of your tongue with your index finger as it protrudes between your teeth as you say the voiceless “th” sound; use index and middle fingers for the voiced “th” sound.
Back of Throat Sounds
- /k/ as in “kick” and “cat” and /g/ Place your index finger horizontally across the back of the throat and move/tap your index finger upward as if trying to raise the back part of your tongue to form the voiceless /k/ sound. For /g/ use index and middle fingers.
- /h/ Place open palm a few inches in front of your mouth. Move your hand away as the air “pushes” it.
- /r/ Cross your index and middle fingers and roll them under your chin as if the sound is rolling off your tongue.
- /y/. Stick out your little finger and thumb on one hand. Move your hand up in front of your face as you say the sound.
Groups of Sounds
If you are working on a sound problem that focuses on more than one sound at a time such as S blends, Stopping, Initial Consonants or Final Consonants then you would do a hand gesture that represents the whole group of sounds.
Trace your finger in an S shape for S blends. Swish two fingers back and forth to make a Noisy sound for stopping. Tap your finger to represent both the start and the end of the word for Final and Initial consonants.
Often for groups of sounds you will be using a card with pictures that represent the sounds. You can do these actions on the card. If you don’t have the card with you then do the action that goes with the card on the table or in the air.
I hope these ideas help. Let me know if you have any questions. You can reach through my Contact Page or email me at SLP@Speech-Therapyathome.com.