Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review ~ Color My Conversation

Northern Speech Services

We were offered Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services for review. We had just received a diagnosis for our son of pragmatic language delays and this was an answer to our prayers. My son (14) has struggled with understanding all of the nuances of language ever since he was a toddler. He labors with people using the exact meaning of vocabulary words. To him, big vs. huge are entirely different words and should never be interchanged. He also wrestles with understanding non-verbal cues as well as with reading the proper emotion associated with the tone in which a person speaks. For instance, he thinks someone is shouting when they are only speaking slightly louder than usual. All of these language issues are very distracting to my son, and he often struggles to get through a conversation successfully.

Northern Speech Services Color My Conversation

What Is Color My Conversation ~ 

This  program was created for speech therapists but is easily adapted for use at home with a parent. It is a multi-sensory program that encourages lots of hands-on learning. It contains 12 lessons and takes 14 to 16 weeks to complete. However, it could take less time if your child already has some skills and needs to start a bit further into the program. It is geared for ages 5 to 12, but it could be used for older if the student is especially delayed. The program comes with games, a conversation ball, pdf files and an excellent manual. Everything you need is in the box. You also have access to online training videos. There are three levels included which are described below.
  • The Beginner Level is intended for ages 5 and up. This level helps with greetings, goodbyes and small talk. 
  • The Intermediate Level is intended for 8 and up but could be used for younger after completing the beginner level. This level works on asking and answering questions, changing subjects and understanding non-verbal cues. 
  • The Advanced Level helps the child take all of the lessons out of the classroom and into the world. 
Each lesson takes 30 to 45 minutes. We started in the intermediate level, because my son was already comfortable with greetings and farewells. We found one of the most useful tools in this program to be the color-coded stepping stones. They can be written on time and time again with dry erase markers. The kids quickly learn that each color stone has a purpose. 
  • Yellow is greeting/farewell.
  • Green is for starting a conversation.
  • Blue is for different topics.
  • Red is for wrapping up a conversation.
What We thought ~ 

My son was not super receptive to this program. The colors, ball and childlike aspect put him off. He is a teenager and wants to be seen as being both mature and neurotypical. He is also struggling with being labeled with having any delays. So we had to use this program very slowly and get his sister involved. While I thought this program has potential for older students, it is likely more applicable to those with more intellectual delays than my son. I did, however, see lots of potential but with some tweaking. I liked that it could be used to deal with some more difficult conversation or to prepare (role play) conversations that one might encounter out in the real world. The training videos were great. As a mother of multiple special needs children, I often find that professionals believe that I can handle anything and forget that I do not have formal training. I appreciate the support that the videos provide. This program gets a thumbs-up from our family. I appreciate anything that will help my son feel more comfortable in the world. Although this was presented in a too child-like way for my teen, it would be an excellent fit for other families with delayed adolescents or younger children.

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Color My Conversation {Northern Speech Services Reviews}
Blessings, Dawn

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