So I took Evan the doctor recently for a check up. The doctor of course asked questions and did the autism screening questionaire with me. One question made me think a bit. He asked how many words does Evan say. I thought a minute and said I wasn't sure, but seems like a lot. He then asked is it about 20. I thought again and said its more then 20 for sure.. maybe double that. He said that's great. So when I talked to a few other mom's with babies about the same age or ones that remember their babies at this age it seems like Evan says more then them. How many words should a 22 month old say anyway? As I looked up online I found that 20 is the average. So I decided to list all the words I hear Evan saying consistently. Mostly just to see where he is at and to have a record for his future. Now this list is in total random order, either by how I remember or if he says it while I'm writing this and reminds me. Also I have had to ask my husband and mom if they remember any others. Just because I forget what all he is saying and since honestly it is a lot I do forget.
So here goes:
2. Bye Bye
5. Nana (it is noticeably different from Mama)
7. Goggy (doggy)
15. outside (so surprising how clear this is, used to be outs.. but one day he said it so clear and hasn't stopped)
22. & 23. sit down
35-37 Ready, set, go
43. bball (basketball)
44. WeeOh (that's what he calls minons)
46. boon (balloon)
49. thank you
58. Uh Oh (sometimes its Uh Oh Sketti Ohs)
59. bird (sometimes birdie)
61. Big Brd
62. Spon Boh qua pant (translation Sponge Bob Square Pants)
63. Ayan (Jayden)
64. Naama (grandma)
65. ounce (bounce)
66. Why (mostly for Super Why)
67. Erd Girl (word girl)
68. at (cat)
69. atch (catch)
71. Wha Dat (what that)
72. Woo Hoo
78. George (Curious George)
80. lion (usually followed by a roar)
81. horse & horsie
82. bruber (brother)
84, guf ball (golf)
86. nanna (banana)
89. train (followed by a choo choo usually)
92. wuv ou (love you)
94. butt (yes, he says butt and will hit me on the butt... yay)
96. pane (airplane)
97. Weeeee (usually when it comes to slides or see saws)
99. Arfur (Arthur)
105. Ump (jump)
106. bubble upies (bubble guppies)
I do not believe at all that my child is a genius. Well, I am his mom so I do think very highly of him and his abilities, but I'm not calling Harvard or Yale anytime soon. I do believe that there are some essential factors that have contributed to Evan's advanced language for his age.
First of all we talk to him like a person and not like a baby. Yes we call him baby, he is affectionately called Baby Evan often. But we have tried to stop that. Jayden will just call him baby sometimes, but my nieces insist his name is Baby Evan. Regardless, we talk to him like a person and do not use baby talk with him. That is not to say we don't use some "babyish" words like Mimi with him. But most conversations are similar to the ones I have with my 6 year old.
Next we expect him to talk. When he wants something we don't jump and get it for him because he points to it. We give him the words and have him repeat it. If he wants some crackers we tell him crackers and wait for him to say it before he gets them. He and every other toddler is very capable of using their words to express their wants and needs. Now he is not going to give a long sentence or anything, but he can say crackers, milk, eat, etc.
Third when he doesn't know the words we tell him the words and ask him to repeat it. Most the words he knows he was asked to say at some point and he liked to say them. Jayden loves to ask Evan to say words. He will randomly say, "Evan say ___". Evan loves to please Jayden so he will say whatever he wants. There are many words he has repeated this way that are not on the list, because I only added words he has used on his own unprovoked. We will point at objects and say the word while giving him time to repeat it. Evan thinks this is a fun game. We do it all the time and just about anywhere. Sometimes it becomes the game we use to keep him occupied when he is bored.
Evan is also around adults a lot. Of course he has John and I around him all the time. During the day while I am at work he is with Nana the baby sitter. While he is there it is just him and her. She also talks to him like a person and not a baby. And her adult son lives there and when he is not working he will be there too. Evan is exposed to more adults then children. He watches all of us and likes to mimic us.
And I will admit my toddler watches television. I don't think it is horrible and honestly don't limit it too much. I limit what is being watched, but not how much. At his Nana's house he is either watching Signing Time DVDs or PBS Kids shows. As you can tell from the words he says he knows some of the shows. He LOVES Elmo and sesame street. He also likes Super Why and Word Girl, both introduce lots of language and vocabulary. He even loves watching these shows on my kindle. I love the PbsKids app so he can watch any show he wants. That is not to say he doesn't watch some not so great shows like Sponge Bob Square Pants. Jayden likes this show and Evan will ask for it too. But that is about the worst show he watches and really its not bad. Just doesn't have much real educational content, just mindless stuff. But I guess you need a little of that sometimes.
So I guess what I am saying is my 22 month old has a pretty extensive vocabulary and I contribute it to a few things including talking to him like a person not a baby, being around adults, expecting him to talk, naming objects for him and having him repeat, and educational television shows. Although I do think my child is exceptional... in all actuality he is a typical toddler with more exposure to language and vocabulary. It really is the amount of language and vocabulary they are exposed to that determines where they will be. And even if your toddler is not saying the words keep talking to him/her and before long she/he will be talking like crazy. When they get the hang of it they usually take off if given the exposure.