Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew Review: Northern Speech Services

I was so excited to see this product, Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services, become available for review because children with a diagnosis of high-functioning Autism often struggle with social skills.

Color My Conversation is a multi-sensory social skills program developed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. Its primary purpose is to teach children the essential skills necessary for face-to-face conversations. Color My Conversation is a unique tool that allows children to learn the basic skills of conversation in a fun way. The basic skills include: Conversation Starters (Greetings), Conversation Stoppers (Goodbyes), Turn Taking, Eye Contact, Questions, Comments, and Non-verbal Skills (Facial Expressions, Body Language, Tone of Voice). All of these skills are necessary for a productive conversation. If someone doesn't maintain eye contact while communicating, one might think the other person rude or untrustworthy. If someone does not understand body language, they may misinterpret what another person is saying. For children with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum, these are skills that must be taught. Eye contact often needs to be reinforced during conversations. Emotions need to be discussed and exemplified. One tool that Color My Conversation suggests is to utilize a mirror to have children imitate certain emotions so they can see what that emotion looks like on their own faces.

The Color My Conversation Kit Includes:

12 Conversation Path Stepping Stones
100 Topic Prompt Picture/Emotion Cards
50 Game Tokens
2 Dry Erase Pens
1 Cloth Ribbon
1 Game Board
1 Rubber Ball
1 Classroom Poster
1 Instructional Manual on CD-ROM
1 CD of 12 Songs
Reproducible Worksheets and Activities

The ball works well as a tool to help students with turn taking. The ball is tossed back and forth in a pitch and catch manner as the students take turns exchanging conversation. The various colored Stepping Stones enable the students to "walk" through a conversation. The green Stepping Stone signifies your Conversation Starter (Greeting) while the red Stepping Stone indicates your Conversation Stopper (Goodbye). To make the conversation more complex, additional Stepping Stones are added. The program starts at the basic level and continues to build upon the skills the student has learned. Each lesson reinforces the previous lesson. The lessons teach the students to ask questions so that they can become lifelong learners. They also help teach students how to develop relationships and foster a sense of community. Color My Conversation makes it easy for educators by providing online training videos. These videos show how to implement each component of the program by providing clear examples. Finally, Color My Conversation discusses how technology effects how we communicate.

Color My Conversation is a unique, fun, engaging program to help students learn skills essential for conversing in a non-threatening way. Students build upon their skills with each lesson and reinforce the skills they've already learned. This is a great tool, especially for students who need help working on their social skills. My son does well with eye contact, conversation starters and stoppers. He has made great strides with facial expressions and body language. However, he struggles with turn taking and listening to topics that don't interest him. He would rather tell you everything he knows without taking a breath or allowing you to respond. He is not very good at asking questions about what interests you. The ball is a great tool to signify turn taking. I honestly think that listening to topics that interest others and not him will require practice, practice, and more practice and Color My Conversation is a great tool for that practice.

Color My Conversation was created by Dr. Rosslyn Delmonico, a Speech Language Pathologist with thirty-five years of experience in both private practice and the public school system. She created Color My Conversation to help children with language impairments take conversations from the beginning stages and build upon them until they have accomplished complex conversations.

You can learn more about Northern Speech Services at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube and Color My Speech at Facebook

You can also read additional reviews of Color My Conversation at the Homeschool Review Crew site to see what other homeschool families have to say about their experience with this product.

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