My son did not begin speaking until after he was two years old. Since he was a preemie, I had worried about his development and was relieved when he finally began to speak. It wasn't long before my relief turned to wonder.
It wasn't long before my son starting pointing out letters and saying their names: A, B, C, D. He was always intrigued by letters and numbers and starting grabbing my finger and leading me to letters and pointing to them. He wanted me to tell him what the letters were called. I was fascinated.
Being a curious person, I started doing experiments to see what this little guy could do. I discovered that he could recognize "McDonald's" and "Burger King" and "Cheerios." Recognizing environmental print like this is an early stage of reading, although it's not really reading. It's more like recognizing a symbol than reading or even recognizing words.
One day, we were driving to a friend's house a couple hours away from home. As we were waiting for a red light near our destination, we heard a little voice from the back seat, "Bank." Bank? Where did that come from? I looked across the street and there was a bank. We didn't have a branch of that bank at home, so that couldn't have been recognition of environmental print.
Then I started writing down short words and asking him what they
were. I wrote down M-O-M and showed it to him. He said, "mom." I
was stunned. I had no idea how that child knew that! He was a big fan
of Sesame Street, so maybe he saw that word on the show.
Still, I was pretty amazed that he would be able to recognize it,
assuming that's where he learned the word.
My son was just two years and three months old and had been talking for less than three months! Now he was recognizing words. I should add that I didn't read much to my son before that point. It wasn't for lack of trying. He simply wouldn't sit still. He was completely uninterested in being read to. Clearly, I had a different kind of child on my hands.
When did you first realize that your child seemed a bit different from other children the same age? Click on the "Comments" link and tell us your story!