Prioritizing the Vocabulary at Home

When working with your child on increasing your child’s ability to functionally communicate at home, it is important to focus on words that are going to be most effective across a variety of environments and activities. 

While nouns (e.g., cookie, star) and politeness terms (e.g., please, thank you) are important, the most effective and research-based words to focus on for early talkers are pronouns, verbs, and prepositions, otherwise known as “core vocabulary.” Studies have shown that these words make up 89% of a typically developing preschoolers vocabulary. 

Let’s think about why these words are so effective.  Imagine you are playing cars with your child and your child says “car.” You are likely to interpret that to mean that your child wants a car. So you hand your child the car and he says “car” again. This can be interpreted in multiple ways. Does your child want “more” cars? Does your child want the car to “go?” Is your child “done” with the car? Maybe he wants to put the car “on”? 

By prioritizing core vocabulary, such as more, done, go, stop, in, out, mine, up, down, your child is able to communicate more across a variety of activities and environments. 

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