This is one of my favorite therapy tools. Think of this as sign language for sounds instead of words. These signals were originally created for preschoolers, but I use them for children of all ages. And I ALWAYS see results. Why? Because it’s visual! Children learn by using more than one of their five senses. In this case, children use hearing, sight, and touch to learn a sound.
Here’s what you do: First, pick a sound that your child is struggling with. For preschoolers, pick one of the following sounds: p, b, t, d, w, h, m, n. Next, pick a few words containing the sound that your child hears often. For example, if you chose /m/ as your sound, you could use the words mom, more, and yum. Then, each time you say one of those words, have your child look at your mouth, emphasize the sound, and make the hand signal. That’s it. It’s that easy. You’ll be surprised at how soon your child will begin imitating the signal and sound. Don’t worry if they don’t say the full word at first. They’ll get the hang of it soon. After your child has mastered one sound, you can move onto another.
Here’s a document of the hand signals for the most common speech sounds: