The 3 year old I babysit, Matthew, still doesn't speak clearly. He seems to find that pointing and one syllable demands work for him with most people.
For the last eight or nine months, we have been working on that. When he (several times daily) plunks his sippy cup down next to me and says "Enny" (empty), I agree with him. "Yes, it is empty." I go on with whatever I was already doing. For awhile, he would then pick up the cup, bang it down beside me again, and repeat "enny".
I have been teaching him to ASK for what he wants. We seem like a preacher and a groom... repeat after me ... "May I..." "Aye Yi" "Have some..." "asum" "More juice, please?".... "Or doose pease".
This morning, I am wiped out tired from not sleeping last night. (I think I am sick... maybe just tired.) Matt brought me his cup and started with the "enny". I told him, "Say it properly." He smiles his big grin and says "it popperwee'".
I was trying not to crack up.
I said, "Matthew, what do I want to hear?" He turned and pointed to the only sound in the room... the TV. Daniel was doing a workout video.
I had to re-phrase myself again. "How do you ask for a drink?".
He grinned and said, "Ay I av some more doose pease!"
Whoo hoo! This is the first time he has actually repeated the entire sentence without prompting!