People ask us all the time how Kenson's language is coming. So D and I sat down the other night and tried count all the words we have heard Kenson use correctly without prompting. We got past 50, including some phrases. He sort of counts to 3. (To make hair brushing not a cry fest, I started counting the brush strokes and taking turns letting him do 5 or so and then me doing 5 or so. From that, he has figured out that it goes 1, 2, 3. He doesn't really get what you're doing, that you're counting but he likes to say the numbers.) He knows some color words and that they go with colors but he doesn't use them correctly yet. He often says things are yellow. He sometimes says they are blue.
He is also figuring some of the correct context in which to use certain words. He came to us being easily frustrated and generally responded to those situation with tears or throwing whatever was making him mad. He now often says "help." And if he doesn't, a quick reminder of "Use your words" usually stops the negative behavior. To change that behavior, whenever the tears or angry stuff came, I made him stop. Then I told him what to say. I often would mimic whatever he was doing and put the word "no" in front of it. "No aaaaah oooooh!" I'm sure he wondered what I was doing at times but it just seemed silly to say "No crying" to him. Then I would say, "Use your words. Say help."
He has also figured out the jist of the words "Sorry" and "Thank you." Sorry just came naturally out of us making him say sorry when he hurt someone either intentionally or accidentally. Thank you took quite a while for him to grasp. I didn't make him say or sign "thank you" every time he received things, just occasionally. But he just didn't get it and often refused to say or sign anything. D though often made him say "Thank you Mama" at mealtime when I brought out his food. Then just this week he started saying "thank you" when someone would give him something. It's been a favorite word over the past few days.
It's interesting to watch his language develop. Some of it is things we've have taught him directly, like the colors. We've done activities with that and practiced saying them. And some are things that he's just picked up all on his own. We try to tell him every meal the names of the things on his plate. And I try to ask him lots of questions and then answer it with complete sentences. (ie "Kenson, what are we doing? Playing. Kenson is playing with his cars.") We also try to force him to use words. We allow gesturing or sign but we make him tell us what he wants. If he doesn't know the words to use, we tell him what to say and try to get him to say it back to us. Sometimes, he'll say it. Sometimes, not.