Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Asking Questions

average-4-year-old.jpg (640×425)

The first time I read the above statement, I felt grief and worry wash over me.  That was closer to the number of words my four year old had in his vocabulary, than the number of questions he asked.  In fact, he didn't ask any questions, even though we tried to teach him the sign language for what, where, why and how are you.  I mourned knowing not only what Kiddo was thinking about, but what he wondered about, what he wanted to know but had no way of communicating to me.  And I worried that even though he did only have 400-500 words, shouldn't some of those be questions?  I mean, I work with toddlers in the church nursery who are asking "What's dat?" a bazillion times, and I'm sure they have less than 400 words in their vocabularies.

I remember asking speech therapists about it, and they would tell me just keep modeling asking questions, especially "What's that?" and "Where's ___?" because those are generally the first questions a toddler learns to ask.  One even told me to not even attempt teaching "Why?" until after he had learned to ask at least four other questions, as that's what happened in typical development.  But no matter how much I modeled, how many times we would go through flash cards I made which included phrases like "What's that?" he never asked any questions.

Flash forward to today, Kiddo now asks three specific questions.  He probably only asks one or two questions a day.  Nowhere near the 437 number, but I'll take it.  We're making progress and that's what matters to me.

His very first question was "Why?"  The first time he asked it, was when he asked me if he could "pay Lego game?" (play Lego Movie video game).  I told him no.  Clear as a bell he said "Why?"  I answered without a thought, just told him because he always played the Lego game with Daddy, and maybe when Daddy got home from work he might play the Lego game with him.  It wasn't until after Kiddo went off to play something else that I realized he had asked a question.  And I immediately informed Hubster of it, I was so proud.  This has become his most frequent question, that I hear at least daily, especially when he's been told to do something or told to wait for something.

Kiddo has asked twice "What dis?"  Once regarding my curling iron, another time about a beaded doll from Africa at my parents' house.  He does tend to repeat words we use with a question mark on the end as if to ask "What's that?" and we'll explain it to him.  For example, we use the words 'shopping cart', but he overheard someone commenting about the kiddos sitting in the buggy, and Kiddo turned to me and said "Buggy?"

And he asks on occasion, "Where are you?"  Usually this is in relation to an item, moreso than a person.  For example, I'll ask him "Where is your cup?" and he'll go around the house, his hands around his mouth as he calls out "Cuuuuuup, wha ah you?"  But sometimes, I hear him calling for me.  "Mommy, wha ah you?"

I find all of these questions interesting, because I never worked with him on these questions specifically.  I know he's heard them, but they weren't the ones we modeled over and over, the ones we had written on flash cards for him to practice saying along with the words he was working on.  He still doesn't ask those questions.  It reminds me that he is developing at his pace and in his own way and it's ok.   I now have a better idea of the things he wonders about, and I'm so proud that he figured out how to ask the questions that matter to him on his own.

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