Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Northern Speech Services

Northern Speech Services Color My Conversation
I love doing interesting reviews: the kind that are just very different and something that wasn't even on my radar.  This is one of those reviews. It is Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services. Many of the products from this company are designed for professional speech-language pathologists. However, this product is one that parents can do at home with very little training!
Everything I needed for this program was included in this box:
Northern Speech Services Color My Conversation
Here were the things that were included in the box. (I should note that you will need a hand pump to blow up the ball which we actually did not have after our old one broke. You will see in the video that we used another ball we had in our house until I bought a pump!):
Northern Speech Services Color My Conversation

I actually did this program with all four of my children who range from 3.5 to almost 9 years old. We were able to do this as a family, and each child had fun with it in different ways. Here is a video I took of one of our moments practicing our Color My Conversation lesson with my very littlest girl, The program is actually designed to start with kindergarten, but you can see that three-year-old Hannah was able to participate quite easily:


In the opening training videos, the author of this program, Rosslyn Delmonico, MA, RSLP, CCC-SLP (who has over 35 years of experience), explains why she thinks this is an important program: "I feel that by establishing strong communication skills early on in life it leaves kids with self confidence and empowers them to engage in life." It is her hope that they can assist children in their "social language development."

And that is exactly what this program is intended to do.

As I just mentioned above, I started utilizing this program by watching about ten minutes of online introductory training videos. These were very easy to watch and did not feel like a burden to me whatsoever. And prior to each lesson I did with my kiddos, I watched a very short training video to prepare for that lesson.

We then did one to two lessons per week during the review period. We are not done with the program, but definitely plan to see this through to the end.

In my family's case, we have a lot of children with very "slight" speech issues. My oldest son is in speech for stuttering and pronunciation issues, and my daughter Abigail was in speech for some pronunciation issues as well. My son Sidge is not in speech but has often struggled with talking too fast and mumbling. And then my little Hannah? Well, she has talked since she emerged from the womb, but she is still learning about language and conversation. She was technically too young for the recommended age of the program, but she did a great job participating and absolutely loved doing what the big kids did.

In addition, while Hannah is obviously not an introvert, Isaac and Abigail definitely are. And we are still waiting to see what happens with Sidge! To be fair, I have always considered myself more of an extrovert, and making conversations has never been an issue for me. But what if it is for your children?

I actually never thought about that!

If you have a child that even slightly struggles meeting people or making friends or talking to others, this is really something to consider for your homeschool environment. In addition, I really think a lot of co-ops could do well with a program like this as well.

Northern Speech Services Color My Conversation

Here are the main levels of the program:

  • Basic (ages 5-12)
    • "Yellow conversation" which is hellos and good byes
    • "Short conversation" which is small talk between friends and acquaintances 
    • "Long conversation"
  • Intermediate (ages 5-12)
    • Works to refine what you have learned at the beginner level
  • Advanced (ages 8-12)
    • Continued refinement
  • Expert level (various ages)
    • Real-world practice to transfer what you have learned
While seeing the entire box may make you a little overwhelmed, this program was broken down quite easily. After watching the training videos, there was a CD which included a manual. This told me everything I needed to know. There is also a music CD which my kids enjoyed. I think the songs were very appropriate for my aged children, but I think older kids would find them a bit too juvenile. 

Our bulletin board just beginning

This program is a dynamic, multi-sensory social skills program developed by a Speech-Language Pathologist to teach the skills of face-to-face conversations. However, I honestly never thought about practicing with my children the art of conversation. We really focus in our home on making eye contact, shaking hands, speaking confidently, etc., but I never dreamed that there was a program designed to help me with these skills.

But there is! And Color My Conversation from Northern Speech Services is it!

As always, please feel free to reach out to me via email at wkitsteiner@gmail.com if you have any questions or want to know more!

Color My Conversation {Northern Speech Services Reviews}
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