Behavior is the way your child will communicate, more often than not. 

As a parent of a toddler, I see this daily as his vocal-verbal language is not currently developed, therefore he grunts, moans, and throws himself on the floor in an attempt to communicate with me. As the adult, I do not communicate in that same way, as I have words and nonverbal communication to assist in my understanding. 

Every day is an opportunity to teach your child something new.

When he is grunting or reaching for an item, I model the word ‘cup’. Many times I will also repeat the first sound of the word a few times, then the whole word again, like this… ‘c c c cup’. In my experience the beginning sounds of words most often appear before the whole word does.  I want to model the whole expected word, that will come eventually, and also a more expected way that he might request that cup right now. As a 15 month old, if I can get him to at least make eye contact with the cup, lean, grunt, and eventually say ‘c’, that is progress.

Every day is a new adventure, in which we continue to try new words based on motivation.

Building language based on your child’s motivation will make your efforts that much more successful.  When they are motivated to gain access to something, they are much more likely to attempt to do what you are asking.  This is how I teach him about his world. I label things throughout his day and narrate what we are doing. Then he is able to better receptively understand, which should aid in his speaking/expressive communication down the road.  Language is a long road that requires lots of patience and practice.

Modeling the word, by stressing the beginning sound, then restating the whole word is just one strategy that I have found very helpful in both my professional and personal life.