Northern Speech Services (NSS) began in 1972. It is a company that seeks to meet the diverse needs of many speech related difficulties. They provide online training and publish materials that Speech-Language Pathologists and caregivers can use to provide therapy for patients of all ages. Be sure to stop by their website to learn more about their history and purpose. With that being said let me tell you about the product we were so blessed to receive.
Color My Conversation (CMC) is a dynamic and engaging multi-sensory social language program that was developed by Speech-Language Pathologist Rosslyn Delmonico. She has over 36 years of experience working with those with language impairments. In 2006 Color My Conversation was born to help take language impaired children from a basic greeting to the most complicated conversation she believed that they were capable of having. CMC will not only benefit those with special needs. Mainstream children and many others can benefit as well. Through the use of movement, color, songs, and hands-on-learning, CMC helps to foster a development of social awareness that will help kids be able to start and maintain a conversation. It is geared toward kids in K-7th grade. The levels start from Beginner, on to Intermediate, then Advanced, and last the Expert level. The advanced and expert levels work great for various ages.
When the Color My Conversation Kit came to our house it was in a big brown box. My son was looking at it like someone had sent us a present. I opened it up to check out the contents inside. It looked almost like a we were about to play a fun new board game. Inside you’ll find:
-Stepping Stones (these are good and sturdy plastic and have a rubber backing)
-Dry Erasable Wall Display Cards
-Dry Erase Pens
-Yellow Ball (this will need to be blown up with a small pump)
-Instruction Manual and Music (both on CD’s)
After viewing all the contents I popped in the instruction manual CD to read and familiarize myself with the CMC program. This is a must before even trying to attempt to get started. The manual and lessons are all in downloadable PDF format. There are also online training videos that are a must watch to get an idea of how to go about the lessons. The information on where to find those is provided in the kit as well. I did not attempt to print out the whole manual. I try to save on ink as much as I can. I just printed out whatever I felt was necessary to use the program. Next I chose to do the Student Questionnaire with my son and marked where he needed the most help on the provided Assessment Rubric.
I proceeded on to listening to the song CD before letting my son hear it. I knew he would not want to sing the songs because they are ones that appeal best to the younger kids. Once I let him hear the songs I could tell by the look on his face that he thought it was for little kids. It was a relief to read in the manual that the older kids did not have to sing the songs. The words of the song would instead be spoken by them. There are twelve songs to go along with the 12 lessons. CMC operates through a color coding system. This is explained to help you understand the Conversation Path and its function.
I have to admit that after reading the manual and watching the training videos I still did not know where to begin with my 17 year old son. He can already have a conversation with others but at times it is hard to understand what he is talking about. He also struggles to relate with peers his own age. It is easier for him to talk to kids younger than him or to people older than him like adults. Being language delayed he has had speech therapy since he was four years old. I reached out to someone from NSS customer service. She forwarded my question of concern to Rosslyn Delmonico. That same day Rosslyn emailed me back and asked if she could call me. We talked for over an hour. She listened to my concerns and helped me understand why she recommends everyone start at lesson 1 with the Yellow Conversation no matter the age or ability. She gave me suggestions of what to say to an older child who may think this is just something for little kids. I could tell how passionate she is about CMC. She did not hurry me off the phone, and there were follow up emails to see how things were going. She really wants to help you understand how it all works and will go out her way to make sure you do.
Each week my son and I had two 30 minute sessions. We started with the Yellow stones in the Conversation Path. This is your greetings of Hello and Goodbye. This lesson was a breeze because he did not find it hard to come up with ways to greet and say goodbye so we were able to move on to the Green and Red stones in the Conversation Path. This is your conversation starter and stopper. It's also where a short conversation takes place. Looking at the Assessment Rubric again I could tell there was still something he needed to work on. His Eye-to-eye contact needed work. At times he would look at the floor or close his eyes when he was holding the ball and trying to think of what to say. Next is the Blue stones. This is where your long conversations take place. We worked on this one for a few weeks and are staying on this one for another week. He needed lots of work on this one because it's where the biggest struggle is for him when talking to others. I was so impressed how CMC has impacted him. One day he was able to demonstrate to his dad how using the yellow ball and walking the conversation path worked. Our son has also noticed when he has had a yellow, green, or blue conversation with us, the neighbors, or when he’s somewhere like at the doctors office. I love how everything is laid out in this program to where you don’t need any speech training to implement it.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review. Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also had a chance to review CMC from NSS. Click on the banner below to read their thoughts.
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