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B sound is one of the first sounds that babies learn. Here you will find some advice on how to teach your child the b sound, and when is the right time to seek a speech therapist's help!
The /b/ sound is a bilabial sound, which means the lips are pressed together while producing the sound. It is also a voiced sound, which means that the vocal cords are vibrating when the breath is released from the lips. This is different than the unvoiced /p/ sound, for example, which gets its sound simply from the release of air.
This is one of the first sounds that children begin to make. It may start out with babbling, such as “ba-ba-ba” and then progress to “ball” by age 2. Since this is such a foundational sound for your child’s emerging speech skills, it is important to know if your child is on track.
If your little one still struggles with the /b/ sound by age 4, it is imperative to seek the help of a licensed speech-language pathologist to help correct the delay and prevent future language struggles.
To produce the /b/ sound, use the following cues with your child.
Help your child push his lips together with his fingers if he’s having trouble getting them closed.
When teaching sounds, it’s important to start at the syllable level before expecting children to produce entire words or sentences with the correct sound. You have to walk before you can run, right? Try to see if the child can imitate your model of the speech sound, if not, they will need some extra help to get going and figure out correct placement and sound production.
Tactile or touch cues can be used to teach bilabial speech sounds, but giving the child some physical feedback/input around their mouth. While the exact touch cue might vary depending on which resource you use, some generally agreed upon bilabial cues include placing one or more fingers against the same closed lips but do not move it away quickly when you make the sound. The “b” sound does not have the same air escape as the “p.” Remind the child to put “lips together.” You could also just place your finger and tap.
Speech Blubs App have multiple activities that you can use to target specific speech sounds. The games are fun and highly engagable so your child won’t even realize that they are working on speech sounds!
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To practice making the B consonant here is the list of sections and words in them that you can practice with your child:
Books are a great way to model and practice speech sounds in context. There are a variety of books that highlight the /b/, /p/ and /m/ sounds. While reading, make sure to pause and model the target sound (a little bit of overemphasis here goes a long way) for the child.
If the rhyme of the book if familiar or there is a repeated line, pause, model the correct placement and encourage the child to attempt the key word with their good /b/, /p/ or /m/ sound (e.g., the ___ (mmmmommy) on the bus goes shh shh shh). This also works for sing-alongs where the child can easily predict and anticipate the upcoming sound.
One of my favorite books to read with my kids is, Baa Moo, I love you. This book shows different animals and the sounds that they make. It’s repetitive, short and easy for young minds to absorb.
The second book I’d recommend is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This is great for any letters of the alphabet so you can use it over and over again. It goes over the letters and gives words that rhyme for each one. This provides many opportunities for kids to practice the sounds.
When talking to your child’s pediatrician, if you have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, make sure you voice those feelings and thoughts. You know your child the best and can provide valuable insight towards his/her development. They will give you recommendations for a speech-language pathologist who will provide a full-evaluation to determine if speech therapy is needed.
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