Gar’s Language Development At 24 Months

Gar has turned two this month and his progress in language has improved by leaps and bounds. He is now able to express himself better. He still uses hand gestures, but he is speaking more now.
gar birthday

He is able to repeat single-syllable words and some two-syllable words. Sometimes he is able to use two words. Previously, at the 23-month mark, he was not able to do that. He is also able to identify the letters and also recognise numbers. He is able to identify colours and say them aloud. Blue, in particular, also refers to Thomas the train, in reference to its colour.

He is also able to use simple prepositions, such as ‘out’, ‘up’, ‘down’. He likes to go out to the playground. In the morning, he will say ‘out’, run to the shoe cabinet, and also tap the wall. I have not quite deciphered what that means exactly, but I know he wants to go out. In fact, he likes to go out very often, a few times a day.

His favourite adjectives are ‘hot’, ‘cold’ and ‘wet’. If his shirt gets wet when he brushes his teeth, he will say ‘wet wet’ and demands to get his shirt changed. It also happens quite frequently when his diaper leaks at night, which is strange because before this month, there were few accidents. If he is in the car, and the sun is shining on him, he will say ‘hot’. If I have just got up from my seat, he will run to it, touch it and say ‘hot’, run to another seat, touch it, and say ‘cold’. It is good that he has a basic concept of opposites. I just taught him the concept of wet vs dry, so he got it too.

Simple phrases and sentences he can say include ‘black bird’, ‘Mummy, please’ and ‘Bye bye, bus’. However, he is still mainly at single words. His most favourite word is ‘No’.

Two syllable words he can say include ‘iPad’, ‘noodles’, and his Chinese name. He doesn’t call himself Gar yet. He is able to say El’s name. He is able to call all his relatives, and also ‘Uncle’ and ‘Auntie’, but they sound like ‘Ah-cle’ and ‘Ah-ty’.

gar tiger

He prefers to speak in English, but he is able to understand Mandarin. He is also able to repeat Chinese words and phrases after me. His usual bedtime music is a CD of Chinese nursery rhymes.

His language development is average, but I am not too concerned yet. However, I do feel that I do not read enough books to him. He is with my mother and my helper most of the time, and they do not speak English well, yet that is the main language they use.

He does not open his mouth during weekly lessons, but one time, when we were doing a makeup lesson, the teacher got him to repeat after her word by word, and he managed to do so. That means he is responding more to other people, and it depends on how the teacher engages him. It is the same teacher, but due to the longer hours during his makeup lesson, they had more time to engage him.

Carrot Vs Stick – Sticker Reward For Piano Playing

With lots of screaming and tears, I was close to stopping El’s piano lessons after one year. There were some spikes in interest, but most of the time, his interest was low, especially if you compare to his extremely strong interest in art.

I knew that he did not like playing the piano because he was experiencing failure. Learning everything else such as dinosaurs, animals, countries, capitals and flags was extremely easy to him. Whenever he could not play the next note correctly, he would get extremely frustrated and throw tantrums.

With the frequent meltdowns, people around me felt I was pushing him too hard. It was easy to let him give up, but I thought that he needed to know that it was alright to make mistakes, and that with practice, he should be able to overcome challenges and become more resilient. By not letting him learn how to fail, I would be doing him a disservice, as Dr Gail Post mentioned in her blogpost about failure as a life lesson. Dr Martha Beth Lewis also talks about reactions to failure by gifted children on piano playing.

Suddenly, an idea came to me. Instead of forcing him to play the piano, I should make him like piano. Instead of using the stick approach, I should dangle the carrot instead. I told him that as long as he earned fifty stickers, he would be able to go to River Safari, where he could see gharials, beavers and pandas. It was a place he wanted to visit again, but I had been too busy to bring him to.

Almost immediately, his attitude changed. He was willing to practise just one time, to get a sticker. Initially, I started with a sticker for each time he practise a song. Slowly, I was able to stretch it to a sticker for one song. He could choose leaves or marine creatures, or even lions and cheetahs. He started filling up his book. For each day of practice, he was able to get between three to five stickers.

sticker reward for piano practiceWith practice, he was able to play better during his piano lesson, and it became more enjoyable. When we had reached around 35 stickers, his playing became much better. His teacher actually recorded him playing the piano without any errors, and sent a video to me. I was definitely extremely happy about that.

el plays piano

Despite this initial success, I knew that playing the piano was just another activity to him, and it was not something fun yet. According to Therese Haberman’s article about gifted children and play activities, she mentioned that getting children to practise the piano or other instruments would qualify as skill development instead of play. El was playing the piano because I made him do so.

On one occasion, I started dancing to the music he was playing, when we discovered one instrument on the keyboard produced multiple notes when played. He laughed, and I played for him to dance. This was what piano should be about – fun, expressive and free.

He had been drawing a lot recently, and then suddenly, he started composing his own songs, just when we were reaching fifty stickers. He drew different beats and wrote his own lyrics. There were some spelling errors but I decided that it should not overshadow his newfound interest.

micheals tset music

He included drawings too to decorate the page. He also played on the piano for me. These were just simple tunes, but the fact was he did all these on his own accord. He even asked for the keyboard to be switched on, when I usually had to ask him whether he wanted more stickers to go to the River Safari before he would walk to the piano.

get yor hets

I asked whether he needed a music manuscript book. He declined. When he played the songs to me, he realised that he needed the staff so that he would know what notes they were. Like what Haberman said, when a child writes a poem spontaneously or composes music on his own, that can be seen as play and relaxation. I am so glad he has found another artistic outlet.


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