Verbal communication is one of those pesky things that we all have trouble learning at some point or another.
The Monster, as referenced frequently, handles his limited verbal communication by sticking to scripted phrases that he’s learned. These, by and large, go to the format of “Can I have <X>, please?” He’s figured out enough of English to realize that X can be just about anything.
Part of the problem, though, is the word ‘more’. He hasn’t quite grasped that the phrase “Can I have more, please?” out of the blue doesn’t tell us what he wants more of. We’re slowly working on trying to get that idea through his head with some prompting, since “More what?” doesn’t get any traction either, and we’ve been advised by various SLPs not to use the word ‘more’ around him until he’s gotten a better grasp on the construction.
On the other hand, though, he doesn’t understand that X really can’t be an infinitive verb. He likes to play with magnets, and the magnets in question are in the kitchen. So, you’ll frequently hear, “Can I have to play in the kitchen, please?”… which obviously doesn’t make sense to anyone but us. My latest thrust is to try to work on this here, to get him to see that ‘have’ is not a requirement for the phrase. “Can I play in the kitchen, please?” “Can I go to the playroom, please?”, etc.
The wife is concerned more with the -ing verbs. I’m not quite sure that I’m as worried about this as much, since they’re usually meant as descriptive and answers to the type of question like, “What are you doing right now?” From what I’ve seen, I feel like he has a decent idea of what can fit as an answer – it’s often, to me, more an issue of not having sufficient words to explain what he’s thinking at a given moment, to fit to what he’s doing… and that’s something that can be worked on.
Obviously, in the fullness of time, we have to get both problems squared away. It’s all a matter of priorities…