Tuesday 11 April 2017

Color My Conversation 2nd Edition {Northern Speech Services}

One of my greatest challenges and biggest blessing over the last few years has been raising and educating a child who is articulate and has been gifted with Aspergers Syndrome.  Having a student who is equipped with an excellent vocabulary but at the same time pedantic in his expression and understanding within conversations has certainly had it's very challenging moments.

Northern Speech Services has developed a wonderful tool called Color My Conversation to help parents teach all children the art of conversation.

What we received
Color My Conversation comes in a sturdy 14" x 16" box which makes storing and keeping the kit easy and neat. The kit box contains:
  • 12 "Conversation Path" Stepping Floor Graphics
  • 100 Topic Prompt Picture/Emotion Cards
  • 50 Game Tokens
  • 50 Dry Erasable Wall Display Cards
  • 2 Dry Erase Pens
  • Cloth Ribbon (approx. 9.5ft)
  • Game Board (foldable) with 4 new Activities on the back
  • CMC Ball
  • Classroom Poster
  • Instructional Manual on CD
  • 12 CMC Songs on CD
  • Additional Reproducible Worksheets & Activities
I am very impressed with the quality of the materials within this kit.  All the boards, display cards, prompt cards etc are made from good quality card stock and are coated in plastic to protect and extend their longevity.

Nathaniel loves the feel of the ball which we use during the conversation to demonstrate passing /taking turns in conversations.  This ball is often played with throughout the day at home.

Color My Conversation uses a multi-sensory teaching approach to solidify the concepts of the subtleties of conversational structure with students. It's main purpose is to take your student from a basic greeting all the way to a complex conversation that they are capable of having.

Color My Conversation in Action
How we used it
After looking through the box of wonderful resources I took some time to watch the training videos.  I was encouraged to remember that I am the leader and the children are following me. I particularly felt empowered by the introduction to:
  • Be Intentional - observe and take note of individual and group dynamics. Every personality is unique and every learning style matters.
  • Be of interest - expressive and animated
  • Be a curious learner - Your enthusiasm about learning is contagious
  • Be Flexible - expect the unexpected. Conversations are predictably unpredictable
  • Be Alert - Watch out for teachable moments throughout your day.
The Manual
All the activities and lessons are easily laid out within the PDF manual contained on the CD within the box.  The manual has been designed in a linear fashion so that the current concept being taught is building upon the last one learned. The manual contains everything you need to say and do for every single session.

The instruction manual is divided up into
  • Beginner Level - Age 5 to 12 years (5 weeks to complete)
  • Intermediate Level - Age 5 to 12 years(6-8 weeks to complete)
  • Advanced Level - Age 8 to 12 years(3-5 weeks to complete)
  • Expert Level - Variable Ages
You can view a sample of the CMC Beginner Level in PDF format here: Section One Beginner Level SAMPLE

In each level you will find
  • Parent Letter
  • An Overview
  • Lesson - introduction, basic training, practice, wrap up
  • Teaching Tools 
  • Hands on suggestions
The program is easily adapted to the specific needs of your child. Throughout the manual there are note boxes containing specific instructions on how to set specific and measurable goals for the students including and specific information for special needs students.

I particularly like how I am reminded to look at my child and take note of his specific design. I was reminded to consider his personality, learning style and what motivates him.  I appreciated the list of specific questions aimed at helping me accurately asses and encourage Nathaniel.

Each lesson finishes off with a wrap up in which
  • the student is encouraged. 
  • Short review of the lesson via two or three questions to prompt them.
  • Specific Homework Challenge for the week.
The recommended time frame for each lesson is half and hour twice a week or a single forty five minute lesson once a week. We are being flexible as some weeks we have time to do two smaller lessons and other weeks we have time for a longer single lesson.

I like to be flexible in my approach and as such will switch between table work and floor work depending on where Nathaniel is at on the day of our lessons.  I have appreciated having the tools which have enabled me to recognise that and enabled me to teach him the skills he needs at the point he is at.

Depending on the lesson and the training module I have at times used the training tutorial module video to start the lesson with Nathaniel.  Roasslyn speaks and presents in a clear and concise way which is easy to understand and take on board.  At times I have felt her presentation for the lesson is a perfect way to introduce the lesson to Nathaniel. As such I have found the instructional video's indispensable and really have appreciated the time she has taken to put them together. 

For the Parent
Color My Conversation (CMC) is a dynamic, multi-sensory social skills program developed by Rosslyn Delmonico, MA, RSLP, CCC-SLP, who a Speech-Language Pathologist with over 35 years of experience.

It has been developed to teach the skills of face-to-face conversations and is easily adapted for varying skill levels to help your children navigate the conversation flow, including the greeting, changing topics, WH__ questions, and how to close a conversation.

CMC has been designed to be used over 14-16 weeks. The lessons can be adaptable for any period of time - up to an entire year - as curriculum.

Color My Conversation provide comprehensive training via online video's to equip you the teacher/parent in implementing the program.

Upon purchasing your product you will be sent an email with links to video's on how to implement and comprehensively use Color My Conversation. Currently CMC provide training video's covering the following:

Training Videos:
  • Introduction & Section 1: Teaching Methods
  • Section 2: Getting Started
  • Section 3: Assessment Tools & Data Keeping
  • Section 4: Lesson Modules
Individual Lesson Training Videos:
Beginner Level
  • Lesson 1: The Yellow Conversation
  • Lesson 2: The Short Conversation
  • Lesson 3: The Long Conversation
  • Beginner Level Wrap-Up
Intermediate Level Introduction: Take It To The Table
  • Lesson 4: Who What When Where Why
  • Lesson 5: Yes! No! Maybe so!
  • Lesson 6: Making Comments Count
  • Lesson 7: Topic Changer Pro
  • Lesson 8: Speaking Loud & Clear!
  • Lesson 9: Beading
  • Intermediate Level Wrap-Up
Advanced Level
  • Advanced Level
Expert Level
  • Expert Level
I am a visual/auditory learner and found each of these particularly helpful.

You can view a sample of the in-depth training video on YouTube..

What age is CMC for?
Color My Conversation is suitable for students in K to 7th grade.

Which Special Needs is CMC suitable for?
  • Any children who struggle with conversation skills
  • High-functioning autism
  • Asperger syndrome
  • LLD
  • Language delayed
  • ADHD
  • Children with mild intellectual disabilities
  • Children within general education.
Where can CMC be purchased?
Color My Conversation is available for purchase from Northern Speech Services.

Connect with CMC on Social Media

Facebook Color My Conversation @colormyconversation
Pinterest Northern Speech Services, Inc.
YouTubeNortherSpeech on YouTube
Instagram @northernspeechserices

Over All I thought ...
I have learned a lot about the nuances of conversations. The purpose of Color My Conversation is:
Color My Conversation was developed to assist children in their social language development. By establishing strong communication skills it leaves kids with self confidence and empowers them to engage in life. - Rosslyn Delmonico
It's good to see Nathaniel beginning to use the skills he is learning to engage more fully in life and understand the finer points of conversations as they happen.  I like the way the program purposes to explain fully how conversations work in a step by step method.

Until now I had never thought about what goes into learning how to carry a conversation.  Why is it that some people do it so easily and others struggle?  I feel that Color My Conversation is a fabulous resource for every single home. It is a program that not only special needs children need.  This is a program that all children should have access to.

With this program your children will not be left to themselves to figure out how to converse with others through trial and error.  They will understand different types of conversations and exactly what is expected in each one.  Children will no longer be left wondering what to say or how to respond after participating in Color My Conversation.


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