I was excited to try out the Color My Conversation program by Northern Speech Services. This is a conversation training program designed for kids with special needs who have difficulty with typical social situations, but it also has a lot to offer kids who are “typically developing.” I used this with my 5 and 7-year olds who don’t have any diagnosed special needs but could use help with specific aspects of conversations. They are willing to speak to most anyone and can carry on a conversation but they do have trouble with turn taking, not interrupting, staying on topic, changing topics appropriately, and thinking about the other party in the conversation. These were the things I was hoping this program would help us with.
Almost everything you need is included in the box you receive. All of the materials are very high quality and durable. There are a few additional things you will need to have available though:
A ball pump: the ball is deflated and needs a pump to be inflated. Our ball pump is broken so I wasn’t prepared to inflate the ball. I used a beanbag instead. This worked fine but I would have loved to use the included ball.
A computer with a CD/DVD drive: The manual for the program is on a CD ROM. My personal computer doesn’t have a CD drive but our school computer does. Since more and more computers aren’t being made with CD or DVD drives anymore, I thought I should mention you will need one to access the manual for the program.
A Printer/Ink/Paper and 3-Ring-Binder: You are going to want to print the manual. I tried using it straight from the computer and not printing it and that didn’t work at all. It is much easier to have it printed and organized into a binder.
A CD player or alternative: There is a CD included with wonderful songs to enforce the concepts in the program. You will want to use this especially if you are working with young children. You could also put the songs into a player such as an iPod if you have that technology.
A note about preparation:
This program comes with several resources to help you prepare and implement these lessons. These excellent tools will take a bit of time to view, digest, and put into a plan to get the most out of the program. There is a manual with directions for each lesson as well as information on adjusting lessons to meet your needs and goals and supplemental resources and activities. There is also a series of training videos online that you will get access to. You will need to take about 10 minutes before beginning the program to view the introductory material, then there is another 2-3 minute video for each lesson. You can watch each video while preparing for that lesson or take an hour to an hour and a half to watch them all at once.
- Plan to give yourself about 2 weeks to study the material and prepare lessons before implementing the program.
- Read through the entire manual. Then review the lesson you are about to implement.
- PLAN your lesson and memorize the script if possible. Have your binder available in case you need a reminder but avoid having to use it too much. You need to be engaged with your kids.
Color My Conversation includes several levels:
Beginner (suggested ages 5-12) Introduces the three main conversation structures.
Intermediate (suggested ages 5-12) Introduces additional conversation elements.
Advanced (suggested ages 8-12) Children learn to initiate and end conversation as well as other advanced conversation topics.
Expert (various ages) Practice conversations and the skills learned in real-world situations.
The materials and instructions for each level are included. You can use this in a variety of ways; just use the level that matches your kids’ ages and/or needs, go through all levels of the program adjusting as necessary for age and ability, go through the lessons that match their ages now and wait to do the other lessons later….or whatever other way works for you.
Color My Conversation is highly flexible and provides many suggestions for adjusting lessons and activities to match ages, address specific needs, or account for particular levels of abilities. This makes it a great resource for pretty much any family. Another neat feature of the program is the fact that it is multi-sensory. It includes songs, motion, sign language, games, crafts, visuals, and more. It will hit on every learning style.
I focused on the beginner level with my 7 and 5-year-olds because that was the level for their age range. We did 2 sessions per lesson with lots of review and reinforcement. We are going to skip to the beading lesson (lesson 9) and have them create a bead bracelet representing the parts of conversation that they have learned. I plan to take them through the Intermediate lessons this summer, adjusting the lessons to match their ages. I think they will enjoy the various table activities included in those lessons.
I haven’t noticed a huge change in my children’s conversations so far but they can tell me the parts of conversations they have learned and take turns appropriately when we are practicing the conversation path, so I think they are getting it. They started out able to have OK conversations so I think we will see the full benefits later in the program. I am looking forward to getting there!
I recommend this program for anyone who would like to improve their child’s conversation skills and etiquette. Let me know in the comments if you have used it or plan to try it out! Make sure to follow Color My Conversation on Facebook and follow Northern Speech Services on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and Instagram.
This is a Review Crew review, click the link below to see more Color My Conversation reviews!