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How to Elicit the “B” and “P” Sounds in Your Child’s Speech

Every speech sound has a place of production, manner of production and can either be voiced or voiceless sounds. Place of production is the girl talkingaccurate placement of articulators. Manner of production is the restriction of airflow in the oral cavity. A voiced sound has our voice box on versus a voiceless sound when our voice box is off. The phonemes /p/ and /b/ are similar in the place of production and the manner of production. The difference is the /b/ phoneme is voiced and the /p/ phoneme is voiceless. Place your hand over your throat and say “puh” followed by “buh”. You should not notice any difference in lip position and you should have a small burst of air with during both sounds. The only difference you should feel is when during the pronunciation of “buh”. In this case,you should feel vibrations.

Ways to elicit /p/ and /b/

Place of Production:

  1. Draw attention to pressing the lips together.
  2. Use a touch cue by lightly touching the child’s upper lip with the back side of your pointer finger. You should notice the upper lip curl down a bit. You can also use a little hint of flavor as a touch cue by placing frosting or peanut butter on the upper and lower lip and ask the child to bring the lips together to touch the spot you put the flavor on.
  3. Ask the child to make kissing noises.

Manner of Production:

  1. Place a feather, half of a tissue (so the pieces are thin) or the back of the child’s hand in front of the child’s mouth while you produce a series of “puh” and “buh”sounds to demonstrate the explosive release of air. Encourage the child to move the feather or tissue in the same way.
  2. To demonstrate the difference in voiced versus voiceless,draw attention to the “buzzing” voice box during “buh” by placing the child’s hand on your throat.

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech production, please consult a licensed speech-language pathologist to complete a full evaluation of skills.