PETALING JAYA: Kaarthikeya Desigan is not even two years old, but the toddler already has two Malaysia Book of Records titles under his belt.
At just 20 months old, he was awarded the “Youngest to Speak Expressive Vocabulary” and “Most Number (sic) of Expressive Vocabulary In Five Minutes By A Toddler” records on Sept 11.
His mother, SEGi University mechanical engineering lecturer Dr Kanageswary Sockalingam, 32, said she and her husband are happy and proud that their son is verbally gifted.
“As first-time parents, it was challenging to understand our baby’s needs as babies are unable to speak their minds.
“So, we spent ample time speaking with him.
“We also described every activity we were doing since he was three months old.
“We avoided using ‘baby language’ and spoke in real terms instead. The key is to just talk to your child in a way they can understand,” she said in an email interview.
She said she and her husband Desigan Manveeran would speak slowly – word by word – to their son to allow him to observe their lip movements. This, she added, encouraged their son to imitate his parents.
“We taught him words by showing him real objects and naming them out loud.
“Slowly, he began to understand instructions and could express his needs in words.
“So, we focused on improving his vocabulary by showing him flashcards, singing nursery rhymes and reading books with him,” she said, adding that Kaarthikeya has more than 200 books.
Kanageswary said the key for her is to incorporate fun in her teaching and ensure that lessons with her son are delivered in an interesting manner.
At one year and eight months old, she said Kaarthikeya could already speak in complete sentences.
At 18 months, he could speak more than 300 words and that was when she and Desigan approached the Malaysia Book of Records for an evaluation.
They submitted a compilation of videos of the toddler speaking 300 words on Aug 19.
The following month, he was awarded the certificates from the Malaysia Book of Records.