Observe the child during daily routines.
Adults naturally ask, “What do you want?” at lunch or when the child is frustrated and crying.
The child responds with one or more words, if she has the needed vocabulary. If the child doesn’t have the vocabulary, she points or takes the parent to whatever it is she needs.
Explain to early childhood educators and parents that “What” questions are some of the first questions children answer. Asking the child “What’s that?” and “What do you want?” enables the adult to understand the child’s expressive vocabulary. If the child is still pointing, the adult can model and provide time for the child to imitate the word needed. Parents often simply accept the point or supply the word, instead of waiting for the child to produce or imitate the word.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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