All parents want their children to be able to blow out their birthday candles. While most children pick up this skill naturally, others need a little more help. Below is the process that I have used over the years. I hope it works for you as it does for me!
1. The first step is to establish the concept of blowing air out of your mouth. Put your hand to your mouth and say, "I can feel air on my hand!" Have the child feel his/her own breath as well. This provides a tactile cue.
2. Put a tissue in front of your mouth and exhale to make it move. This provides a really good visual cue. Say to the child, "Did you see that? Air came out of my mouth!" Put a tissue in front of the child's mouth and let him/her exhale to make it move. Use a mirror for visual feedback.
3. Once the child understands the concept of blowing (which may take a few sessions), it's time to work on lip extension. Place a proPreefer, Preefer Tip, or Bite-n-Chew Tip in between the center of the lips. Have the individual close his lips around the tip. Squeeze and hold for 3-5 seconds. For added sensory input, awareness, and focus, turn the Z-Vibe on to vibrate. You can also hold one of the tips slightly away from the lips and instruct the child to touch it for a kiss. Or, instruct the child to say "oo" as in "boo." Use a mirror so he can watch his lips move. Then have him extend his lips in the "oo" position without voicing (just the movement, no sound).
5. Next, place a tissue up to your mouth and said the "h" sound really hard. Don't say the letter with voice, just the sound that the letter makes.
6. Now it's time to put these skills together. Have the child extend and round the lips. Then have him produce the "h" sound. Extending/rounding the lips on the "h" sound will narrow the air stream and turn it into a blow. With practice over time, this will become an easy task.
Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP